Lone Soldier David Menachem Gordon, A Tribute

Lone Soldier David Menachem Gordon, A Tribute

The soldier from Ohio found dead on Tuesday was a writer, activist and optimist.

Hannah Dreyfus is a staff writer at the New York Jewish Week. She covers abuses of power in non-profit and religious settings. She heads up the Investigative Journalism Fund, an initiative to fill a gap in investigative and enterprise reporting. Reach her at hannah@jewishweek.org

“Today is a New Day, but this is not my time to go, grace has brought us another day but if tomorrow were to bring my turn; What would I leave unsaid? What would I leave undone? What would I leave behind?"

David Menachem Gordon, the IDF soldier from Ohio who was found dead in central Israel on Tuesday, wrote these words last year in a blog post. As a budding journalist, Gordon penned the blog “Shields of David,” leaving behind a legacy of words that gives the world a glimpse into his heart and mind.

At age 21, Gordon was found dead not far from his army base. On Sunday he left his base for dental treatment and after receiving his treatment he disappeared. There is an ongoing investigation regarding the cause of his death.

He will be buried with full military honors on Har Herzl Military Cemetery.

Gordon was an activist, an idealist and an optimist. He was the victim of sexual abuse, but chose to confront his past and combat his fears.

“Is it fair? No, it's not. But I know I can do something positive for humanity, especially for those who were robbed of their innocence by child abusers,” he wrote in a Huffington Post article, Secrets Don’t Get Better With Age. “I can offer hope, counsel and guidance to the still-suffering. I can be a leader with a voice,” he wrote.

In his last blog post, posted on July 15, Gordon wrote about responding to a siren and running to a bomb shelter with his fellow soldiers.

“I sprang up. My eyes shot open and darted around the room to assess the situation. I was alive that was for certain. It took an instant for me to realize were the distant blast was from. I groaned. Another rocket fired from our friends in the Strip,” he wrote.

Gordon served as a sharpshooter in the Givati Brigade, a prestigious combat unit. Though Gordon has initially contemplated joining the U.S. navy, when Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, he realized the need among his own people was much greater.

“I very much intended on joining the U.S. Navy albeit on my own time. I did my research and even began an intensive exercise regime to get ready for training… But I had my reservations. The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States,” he wrote in a blog post before joining the IDF as a lone soldier.

Aside from being a soldier and a writer, he was also a model. He was featured in a photo-shoot as part of a series by the IDF. He posted several photos from the shoot on his Facebook wall.

“This is what I mean when I say I've been busy – modeling for the IDF! Lol,” he posted on his Facebook page.

The last message he ever wrote on his Facebook page was one of gratitude.

“Unbelievably overwhelmed, not from this mission but from the support and messages of encouragement from family, friends and strangers,” he wrote, referring to Operation Protective Edge. “I am OK and I've never felt more loved. Thank you all!”

May his memory be a blessing. We will miss him.

read more: