Policewoman killed in Jerusalem stabbing eulogized as ‘free-spirited people magnet’

Rose Lubin, an immigrant from Atlanta, moved to Israel in 2021, joined the Border Police as a lone soldier a year later

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Sgt. Rose Lubin, who was killed in a stabbing attack on November 6, 2023, speaking at an FIDF dinner in April 2023, in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. (Courtesy)
Sgt. Rose Lubin, who was killed in a stabbing attack on November 6, 2023, speaking at an FIDF dinner in April 2023, in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. (Courtesy)

Thousands gathered at Mount Herzl National Cemetery Thursday morning for the funeral of Sergeant Rose Ida Lubin, 20, who was killed in a stabbing attack outside Jerusalem’s Old City this week while on duty as a Border Police officer.

A member of Lubin’s Border Police unit eulogized her, weeping as he said he’d rushed to her as soon as possible during the attack “in order to change your fate.”

He lauded Lubin’s bravery, saying she “fought like a lioness,” preventing a “bigger terror attack with her person.”

Shortly after the funeral, police said an officer had been removed after an investigation found there was a “serious disciplinary and operational failure” in the circumstances surrounding Lubin’s death.

According to the statement by police, the unnamed officer abandoned his post and “acted in complete opposition to orders and instructions” at the time of Monday’s stabbing attack.

Media reports indicated the officer had gone to buy food while on duty shortly before the attack took place, presumably leaving Lubin exposed.

The 16-year-old assailant, a resident of East Jerusalem’s Issawiya neighborhood, was shot dead at the scene.

Family and friends attend the funeral of Sergeant Rose Ida Lubin at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem on November 9, 2023 (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Lubin, 20, who immigrated to Israel from Atlanta, Georgia, in August 2021, was drafted to the police as a so-called lone soldier in March 2022.

Known as “Rosie” by her family and friends, Lubin was eulogized by her parents, her brother Alec and hometown rabbi Binyomin Friedman, as well as her adopted families from Jerusalem and Kibbutz Sa’ad, fellow Border Police officers and other members of the force.

Friedman said that in her short life, Lubin gave herself to her people and to God. The rabbi of Ariel Congregation in Dunwoody, Atlanta, came with the Lubin family to Jerusalem for the funeral.

“Rose knew she was headed here,” to Israel, and did so at a young age, he said.

Lubin was recalled as a wonderful big sister to her younger siblings, a colorful, wise soul who was a staunch vegan, fierce wrestler, joyful cheerleader at Dunwoody High School and longtime Zionist.

“Rose is the most free-spirited person I know,” said her brother Alec, describing a young woman who always dyed her hair different colors as an “extension of who she is.”

Sergeant Rose Lubin, killed while serving as a Border Police officer in Jerusalem on November 6, 2023, in an undated photo (Courtesy)

Alec was often Rose’s sparring partner for wrestling practice, and she was a “tough as nails, short, stubby, muscular girl” who moved from wrestling to cheerleading in high school and later found her place in Israel’s Border Police.

He spoke of “noodling” for catfish together in the Kentucky River, of catching fireflies, of his sister’s love for horses.

Lubin, the eldest in her family, had two brothers, Alec and Joseph, a sister, Lily, and a 4-year-old half-brother, Isaac, and grandparents and step-grandparents in Atlanta.

“She’d want us to mourn her, but to put one foot in front of the other,” he said.

Lubin’s mother, Robin Lubin, thanked God for choosing her to be Rose’s mother, using the Hebrew term ema. She read from Rose’s bat mitzvah speech, in which her daughter declared her desire to “create a mind-blowing life story.”

“‘There will be a time that I will not be existent in this world,'” she read. “‘So what do I do? I will do something great for the world, I won’t wait for the world to do something great for me.'”

Family and friends attend the funeral of Rose Elisheva Lubin at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem on November 9, 2023 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Lubin was at Sa’ad, near the Gaza border, with her adopted family on the Shabbat of October 7, when Hamas terrorists launched their deadly assault. As they attempted to break into the kibbutz, Lubin picked up her weapon and joined the battle, said a Sa’ad member, speaking at the funeral.

“I asked her to put on her uniform so she could be identified as part of the team,” he said, adding that she fought throughout that day until she was called back to Jerusalem and her duties with the Border Police.

Tamar James, Lubin’s “adopted mother” from Kibbutz Sa’ad, said she was wearing a bright pink shirt in Lubin’s honor. “You were so colorful and full of life, like a people magnet,” said James.

“You joined our family and our kids saw you as the big sister,” she said, telling of packing up vegan meals for Rose to take back to Jerusalem.

Rose’s father, David Lubin, spoke about his daughter’s first trips to Israel, her committed Jewish family in Atlanta and her decision at a young age to move to Israel and join the army.

“She would tell kids in the playground that they could be friends now but that she was joining the IDF at 18,” said Lubin.

His daughter was an individual who “made fashion trends her own,” never wearing matching socks, and with hair that “has been every length and shape, including shaved,” he said.

While Lubin’s parents were nervous when she finally did join the IDF, they were relieved that her hair would be one shade and her “socks would finally match,” he said.

He spoke of how hard life would be without her, especially Friday nights with the family.

At the end of the funeral, wreaths of flowers from all over were laid on her grave, as three sets of shots were fired into the air.

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