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Rank & File: 70-year-old Man Celebrates Birthday With Israel

Steven Klein
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Yisrael Halperin
Yisrael HalperinCredit:
Steven Klein

BIRTHDAY WISH: The State of Israel has always had a special place in Yisrael Helprin’s heart. They were born on the same day, May 14, 1948. This week, Helprin fulfilled a lifelong dream by becoming an Israeli citizen before he – and Israel – turned 70. “I could not think of a more special day to make aliyah than Israel’s 70th Independence Day,” said Helprin, who grew up in New York in a Zionist household. “The State of Israel and I have had a strong connection since the day I was born,” said Helprin, whose parents were going to name him after his two deceased grandfathers but changed their minds given the timing of his birth. “But this year will be the culmination of a lifetime journey.” He and his wife Bella Helprin moved from Monsey, New Jersey, to Ramat Beit Shemesh to join their daughter and her family.

LONE SOLDIERS MARK MEMORIAL DAY: The Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin held its third annual Memorial Day ceremony from Jerusalem’s Ammunition Hill on Tuesday night, commemorating lone soldiers who died in the service of the State of Israel. The center houses, feeds and helps support the 7,000 lone soldiers serving here without immediate family. On Tuesday, Harriet Levin and Evie Steinberg, the mothers of fallen lone soldiers Michael Levin and Max Steinberg, shared their sons’ stories, while Tuvia Book commemorated his friend and fellow lone soldier, Alex Singer. “Michael always had my support in what he did,” said Harriet Levin. “When I speak, the kids ask me, ‘If you knew Michael would fall in battle, would you have let him go back?’ Even though my heart breaks every day and I miss him terribly, the answer is no.” Josh Brook, a former lone soldier from South Africa and parent liaison, also spoke.

MUSIC IN THE AIR: Spring is in the air, which means that the annual Jacob’s Ladder Festival is right around the corner. The long weekend from May 10 to May 12 will feature a variety of styles from bands based in Israel and visitors from Ukraine, Italy and North America. Local bands include Triad, featuring Becca Kristovsky, Michael Lavetter, Clive Noble and Yonatan Bar-Rashi performing swing; the acoustic rock duo Larry and Mindy Fogel; Rolling Stones tribute band Jack Flash, with Itay Itzhaki, Larry Hirschman, Dan Levitin, David Schwartz and Neal Frankle; folk trio Clementine with Emmy Raviv, Isaac Kates Rose and Julian Najdorf; Celtic Fusion with Shay Tochner, Gabriella Lewis and May Johanna; and The Arava Riders, made up of Bill Slott, Alon Tal, Avi Belman, Amit Tzafrir, Naama Cooper, Rafael Levi and Tsali Silverman, who will be playing bluegrass. For more info, call (04) 685-0403.

Rank and File was compiledby Steven Klein.

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