A Personal Tribute to Moshe Silman

by Rabbi Idit Lev (Rabbis for Human Rights, Israel)

July 14, 2012 was the anniversary of the social justice protest in Israel and we, the people from the social protest movement, organized demonstrations all over the State. I took upon myself to organize the demonstration in my own town of Haifa.

There was one person who had become homeless that my organization – and myself – was close to. He promised us more than once, that if he remained homeless, he would burn himself as a final act of protest. We tried our hardest to convince him not to hurt himself and thought had had listened.

But when I was on my way home from the demonstration in Haifa, I got the news: Moshe had burned himself in the biggest demonstration that night in Tel Aviv. Instead of going home, I drove for almost two hours to the hospital where he was taken and spent the night at his bedside.

It took the media half of an hour to find me and I have talked with many reporters about his personal story. I have tried to tell the world that Moshe was not alone and that there are too many people in his situation. Moshe died after a week and there were hundreds of people at his funeral. Throughout this time, it was important for me to sound the alarm of what we should learn, as a society, from Moshe’s protest:  if someone is poor – the state should help him – and no one should be sent to sleep in the streets, or be hungry, without medicine, and ashamed.

A month has passed, the coverage on the media is over, and it seems everything is just the same as it was. I keep on thinking what we, the activists, should do to uphold Moshe’s will – no more people sleeping on the streets.

If you have ideas, thoughts I would love to hear them. If you can think of something we can do together on these issues, please let me know (rhreco@rhr.israel.net).

Rabbi Idit’s eulogy for Moshe. Read more about Moshe’s personal story.

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