ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 146

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Those We Have Lost

Staff Sgt. Noam Elimelech Rojtenbarg, 24: Ex-Haredi slain at rave

Killed by Hamas at the Supernova music festival on October 7

Sgt. Noam Elimelech Rojtenbarg (Facebook)
Sgt. Noam Elimelech Rojtenbarg (Facebook)

Staff Sgt. Noam Elimelech Rojtenbarg, 24, who lived in Beersheba, was killed while off-duty at the Supernova music festival on October 7.

He is survived by his parents, Aryeh and Avigayil, and his 13 siblings: Asher, Tzipora, Shimon, Menahem, Moshe, Yisrael, Yosef, Chana, Yehonatan, Naomi, Yehudi, Shlomo and Yedidia. Noam was the second oldest in the family.

Rojtenbarg grew up in a Haredi family but later broke with his upbringing, becoming secular and enlisting in the IDF. He was classified as a “lone soldier” due to his family’s lack of support for his path.

He attended the rave with four siblings from the Rivlin family, who had also left an ultra-Orthodox upbringing — two of the brothers were slain and two survived.

“Noam, this war will be the last. We don’t want to live like that. The blood you shed will be avenged a hundred-fold,” vowed Col. Nissim Yitzhaki, who led the fallen soldier’s battalion, at his funeral on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. “Difficult days lie ahead for us as we face this cowardly and cruel enemy.”

Rabbi Yitzhak Revah, who runs the religious school that Rojtenbarg attended in his youth, said at his funeral: “You are dead because you were Jewish… It’s unbearable.”

His friend Eden Danieli remembered Rojtenbarg on Facebook as “so pure-hearted.”

“I can’t believe you are already gone for two weeks,” he wrote. “I miss our calls on Friday afternoon and the laughter after holiday meals. I will never forget you.”

His father, Rabbi Aryeh Rojtenbarg, requested that Opposition Leader Yair Lapid — a staunch secularist — visit the family during the traditional mourning period in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot, because he wants to use his son’s death “to work toward unity… we are one people.”

In an interview with Ynet several months after his son’s death, Aryeh said Noam was “very smart, like my wife, way above average. We had a joke at home that Noam could take any machine and break it, just to check how it worked, and then rebuild it.”

He said Noam was very sociable, and at his funeral “there were 2,500 people, from across the spectrum, friends from yeshiva and school and also those who were totally secular. Everyone was in touch with him because of his charisma.”

Despite the difficulties for his family when he left the Haredi world, Aryeh said they continued to maintain a loving bond: “When he would come home for a visit they would jump on him, all his brothers and sisters, and talk about his world. If one of his brothers had a test in Gemara the next day, he would sit with him, a test in math, sit with them. Everyone felt buddies with him.”

Aryeh said first and foremost he wants to “give thanks to God for what he gave, there is no shortage of what to give thanks for. The pain is pain… but we gave thanks to Hashem that he gave him to us for 24 years.”

Read more Those We Have Lost stories here.

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