This is the Yahrtzeit of Lena Bosinova who died during the Disengagement, the expulsion of Jews from their home. Her life and death has gone generally unreported in the media, much as it has quickly rushed to bury the victims of Olmert's policies beneath mounds of frivolous newsprint. She died a victim of the policies of a government and the apathy of a public. She died also because the right has too many men willing to give interviews and too few willing to lead by example. Too many ready to counsel moderation and to fight each other for a seat at the table. She had passion and a knowledge of what was to come and could not think of what she could do to stop it.
The following is a brief translated excerpt from a remembrance of her life.
She was born in a city of shining acacias ina Russia only still recovering from war. Jews were returning there, where once their relatives had lives. Lena remembered the daughter of her mother's neighbor who had returned from Moscow to search for the traces of her family. That woman had still been young and pretty, but her hair had turned entirely white. It was said that she had gone white in one night when she had been told that her mother and sisters had perished. She did not yet know how they had died. How they had been shoved into miner's furnaces by laughing Romanians and burned alive.
When Lena grew older and learned the truth she was unable to sleep at all for a week. Reading a book Lena imagined the Romanian soldiers with their peasant faces approaching the stoves. In her mind she saw an entire army of them come to drive away, to burn and destroy. Mama fed her a mixture of Valerian root but the horror would not go away.
Mama received a decent job. Now they lived three together: mama, grandmother and Lena. Grandmother would light two candles on the Sabbath and do no work. When Lena was small she did not understand why Grandmother would do no work. Grandmother began to tell her things. "Two candles," she told her, "for two qualities. To remember and to keep." "To remember what grandmother?" "To remember that we are Jews." "Is it possible we could forget this?" Grandmother would sigh and tell her, "Oy Lenochka, so many would give so much to forget."
Lena decided together with the grandmother not to work on Saturday. She did not go to school. Mama returning himself from work found her in bed. "What happened, are you ill?" "We are Jews" - proudly answered Lena from under the pillow. "Jews rest on Saturday." "Is Grandfather not enough?" - Shrilly and helplessly yelled Mama. "You also want to end up in Siberia?"
Never had they told Lena that her grandfather had disappeared in Siberia for his religion, she knew only that he had died. Now Lena wanted to take vengeance for her grandfather upon the cursed regime: on Stalin and Lenin, and on all the Communists. After some years Lena entered a underground group where she, first of all, learned caution and then they gave her to distribute the samizdat.
Lena fought for freedom of speech, believing that if the people learned the truth, they would be able to speak of nothing else. At work in the hospital she was treated condescendingly but not harshly, "idealist" was the nickname that attached itself to her. She never failed to replace someone on a night shift or put in overtime or perform anything that was asked of her. But she expected the same from others and that was her mistake.
In Israel, confronting the Disengagement, Lena set for herself a goal, to go to the end, to starve, to arrange protests and demonstrations, to risk her life but to bring the truth to the people. That the people do not want to hear the truth, Lena did not permit herself to consider. The champion arrived to the holy earth.
Here on the holy earth, Lena understood even more sharply how far the people were from the truth. The media hid from them the truth about the land, about G-d and about their purpose. Their eyes must be opened, Lena decided. With her experience in the underground in Russia, she believed that she could accomplish it. Very soon she began to appear at rallies or to stand with a sign in the solitude of the highway. Lena was detained several times and once sent for psychiatric examination but she did not break. She was driven to the open the eyes of her fellow Jews. She did not understand why her neighbors in the hilltop settlement were not doing this.
She loved the settlement. When her mother fell ill, Lena cared for her as she cared for various old men there as well. Many advised her to pass her courses and work in her nursing specialty, but Lena begrudged the time this would take. She loved the old people. They reminded her of her grandmother.
But the storms raged ever more furiously in the nation -- storms of treason and threat. Lena could feel them on her skin. She wanted to run and scream, the country is in danger. She wanted to fuel such a light that Jews would remember they are Jews.
Lena understood that expulsion would not be avoided after hearing about the parade of homosexuals in Yerushalayim. G-d will not forgive this, Lena thought and began to be prepared for the worst. She continued praying but there was no longer any hope in her prayers. Virtually nothing that she wrote was published and her proposals for combating the media were not taken seriously. Her mind was occupied with ways to return her nation to the truth but found no answers. And then she decided on the last resort.
For several days she still appeared at demonstrations hoping against hope that the people would come to their senses, that the pogrom will not happen, that it will be postponed, annulled. But she understood in her mind that it would not be so.
On the second day of the expulsions she saw the Yassamniks. She looked at their faces, the wooden faces of Roman soldiers. They chuckled over Jewish misfortune. "And into the oven they'll stick her in," rang in her head. At once she went to the service station and bought a bottle of gasoline.
"Let it happen, let it happen, but all will know and the Jewish people will wake up," already having struck the match, already having felt the piercing pain, "Jews will understand that this cannot be so." She was thrown to the earth. The sky which had so recently shone blue suddenly burned with lilac fire.
More material and photos of Yelena Bosinova can be found here.