Synagogue named after fallen soldier; Chabad Shul sanctuary in Potomac

Rabbi Mendel Bluming looks over the sanctuary at Chabad Shul of Potomac on Friday. It will be dedicated to Lt. Daniel Mandel, an Israeli Defense Force member killed in the West Bank.

ROCKVILLE -- Karen and Jeffrey Lee Cohen were in Israel the day before Israeli Defense Force Lt. Daniel Mandel was killed in action at the age of 24.

They attended burial services held the same day in April 2003 and were struck by the praises sung by his comrades and friends.

Mrs. Cohen said he was not only called "an incredible lieutenant who treated his soldiers like he was their father. He taught them a love of the land and he deepened their appreciation of what this land means."

The couple had bought the naming rights for the new sanctuary at Chabad Shul of Potomac and when they had to choose a name, they agreed that Daniel Mandel would be "the most meaningful."

Speaking before the official dedication ceremony Sunday, Mrs. Cohen explained that Chabad "means lamplighters of the world. They are out spreading Judaism in the most remote parts of the world. That was his mission."

When the couple went to see his parents David and Cheryl Mandel at their home near Jerusalem about the planned naming, Mrs. Cohen said "they were overwhelmed. They were crying, but they said 'we have to grow from this experience.'"

By naming the sanctuary after their son, Mrs. Cohen said "his name will live on."

Rabbi Mendel Bluming said "when there is one fallen soldier we all suffer. There is no community that lives on an island. We are all just one Jewish people."

Because Chabad Shul is "very inclusive," the Rabbi said "we didn't want a big building. The sanctuary that will seat 200 is actually an addition to a house the congregation has been using that still stands behind it.

The Orthodox Rabbi said "there is a feeling that this is one home, one synagogue and unity."

The ceremony is open to the public. It will not be restricted to Lt. Mandel, who was killed near the West Bank city of Nablus. It will also focus attention on the "more than 18,000 military and civilian Israelis who have given their lives in the worldwide war against terrorism," according to Bruce R. Mendelsohn, Communications Director for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Mr. Mendelsohn said "Lt. Mandel joined more than 50 members of the security forces and 163 civilians who, according to the Israel Government Press Office were killed in terrorist attacks perpetrated in 2003 against Israeli targets."

The dedication ceremony will include a message from Lt. Mandel's mother Cheryl, who has also established a Web site in her son's memory (www.daniel-mandel.co.il).

The program at the sanctuary at 11621 Seven Locks Road in Potomac will begin at 10 a.m., rain or shine.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominem criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.