From: Jewish Federation of Greater New Bedford
Sent: Friday, January 17, 2014 9:56 AM
The Bulletin - A Community Update for January 7, 2014
Ariel Sharon (1928-2014): A Personal Memory
It was Hanukah of 1992 and Ariel Sharon visited The Forward for a roundtable meeting with the newspaper’s staff. Seth Lipsky, The Forward’s editor, was (and remains) a Sharon fan. The staff always looked forward to these roundtables but never more than on that day. That was the last time I saw Arik, as everybody called him (though Seth always referred to him as “General,” which I thought was funny). It was the only time we ever met in America. He was, as always, larger than life and charming with many stories to tell. He lit the menorah with us and sang Maoz Tsur. We spoke of many things, among them heroism and loss. Arik knew my Uncle Nechemiah, who died in the Six Day War. They were both unique in their leadership abilities and heroic past. There was a tear in Arik’s eye as we talked about Nechemiah, but that didn’t stop him from chastising me in front of everyone for not living in Israel. “Every Jew must live in Israel,” he liked to say. That is my memory of this man who was always surrounded by debate and controversy, but who was also a man whose contributions to and sacrifices for the state of Israel are second to none.
Seth Lipsky’s recollection of that day, a JTA Op-Ed, and a great piece by Tom Friedman with a terrific (in my opinion) comparison of Arik to Colonel Jessep in Aaron Sorkin’s A Few Good Men are all recommended reads. It would certainly take someone of Jack Nicholson’s caliber to play the part of Arik if a movie about his life were ever made.
Arik, in his heart and deeds, was a warrior for Israel and its citizens. The image of him from the Yom Kippur War, with the bandage around his head, captures both his strength and vulnerability.
Ariel Sharon Zichrono Livracha.