NEZER HAZANI – “He was killed because he believed, and we won’t forget it,” said Abi Rindenow at the funeral of his younger brother, Sgt. Shlomo Rindenow, a lone soldier killed by a grenade in a military accident on Sunday.
More than 1,000 people gathered Monday afternoon for the funeral in Nezer Hazani, a settlement in central Israel where Shlomo’s brother Akiva lives with his family.
Several of the nine siblings gave eulogies, with each one pointing out just how unique their youngest brother was.
Yocheved Rindenow called Shlomo “a majestic human being” and thanked him for being her little brother.
“He was wise beyond his years, what a heart, he loved us all so much and so fully,” Yocheved, who lives in Jerusalem, said.
“I’m so sorry for what happened to you,” she added.
The death of the 20-year-old New Jersey native, who served in the 410 Combat Engineering Brigade, is still under investigation. Sgt. Hussem Tapash, a patrol driver who was wielding the grenade that exploded, was also killed on the spot.
Shlomo’s brother, Baruch, who arrived in Israel from New Jersey along with his parents on Monday morning, talked of his brother’s resourcefulness and myriad talents.
“He’d get it into his head that he’d want to do things and he’d just figure out how to do it,” Baruch said, before launching into an anecdote about how Shlomo mastered the art of throwing knives soon after alighting on the idea.
“He researched it and the next thing you know he’s an expert on throwing knives,” he said. So when Shlomo said he wanted to come to Israel, learn the language, and join an IDF combat unit, “he did exactly that. And I knew he was going to be able to because every time he’d said he was going to do anything he just did it.”
Baruch continued, “The brother I knew was nothing like me, I wish I could be like him. To hear that he looked up to me, I don’t even know what that is, because I admired him so much. And I don’t think I even told him that.”
Gamliel Rindenow spoke soon after his brother’s body was lowered into the ground in his final resting place at Yesodot cemetery.
“You were my baby brother and my best friend,” Gamliel said. “You were my rock, you were my soul, you were my heart, you were my pillar. … I learned so much from you.”
Earlier on Monday, arrangements were made for buses to transport people to the funeral, heeding a call by the family for all of Israel to pay their respects to the sergeant. Busloads of lone soldiers arrived from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and other locations around the country.
Dovid Aiello, a lone soldier from Elizabeth, NJ, also serves in the Engineering Brigade. Even though he grew up a half hour drive from Rindenow’s hometown of Passaic, NJ, Aiello first met Rindenow during basic training.
“Shlomi was one of the first people to come and greet me,” an emotional Aiello told Breitbart Jerusalem. “He would always crack jokes and he always found something to be happy about. I loved that because it made everything so much better, to be around him.”
Even when we were going through tough times… he would always laugh about things, see the bright side, and I asked him why, why he always always smiled. It seemed kind of silly. It didn’t matter if he had only slept an hour the night before, or if we were getting ready to spend two weeks training in the field, he would always come with a smile. He said, “There’s enough good things in life for you to find that you should always have a reason to smile.”
“At least I will always have his smile in my memories,” Aiello concluded before breaking down in tears.
Watch the eulogies here, uploaded by Yoni Kempinski: