OTS Mourns Alumnus Erez Orbach, z”l

The Ohr Torah Stone family mourns the tragic loss of  Second lieutenant Erez Orbach, z”l,  a graduate of the OTS Neveh Shmuel Yeshiva High School in Efrat, who was killed in yesterday’s vehicular terror attack in Jerusalem, alongside Lt. Yael Yakutiel, Shir Hajaj and Shira Tzur. erez-orbach-696x564

Erez, an Officers Course Cadet, volunteered for military service in the IAF despite health problems. He served in the Flight Test Squadron’s Technical Department before setting out to Bahad 1 for officers training. He and fellow cadets were on an IDF educational trip when a terrorist rammed his truck into the group at the Haas Promenade in Armon Hanatziv.

Earlier this year, Erez spoke on behalf of his peers at a base ceremony honoring IDF volunteers. His words speak volumes about the young man’s character, morals and values.  

“When my first call up arrived, I never dreamed it would be such a long road to recruitment. My longtime fear that I would never be able to enlist because of my rare disease came true; the IDF decided to release me from the draft.

Despite my disease, I never saw myself as being different from anyone else or worthy of different treatment. I certainly never thought that I deserved to carry less of a load than others. I knew then, and I still know now, that I am like everyone else, almost, and I resolved not to give up. If the IDF doesn’t want to draft me – I will volunteer.

Thank God, after much filling out forms, making phone calls, running between committees and waiting for a long time, I received permission to volunteer.

About five months ago, I enlisted and today I feel that I am serving in a meaningful and high-quality position. I am doing things it never occurred to me I would do and I am involved in things that I never even imagined existed. To use a professional expression from the world I’m not immersed in: though I am a small bolt in a large machine, this is the bolt without which the machine would not be able to run.. despite the exhaustion at the end of each work day – I feel that this is my part and I must do my part. I feel useful, that I’m making a contribution and making a difference.

At the end of the day – despite the exhaustion – I know that the long journey toward volunteering for the IDF was worthwhile. And I am certain that everyone who volunteered like me feels the exact same way.

Rabbi Eitan Ansbacher, Erez’s teacher (Ra”m) at Neveh Shmuel:

“There is so much to say about Erez, he was such a wonderful, charming young man. The kind of person who lights you up when you see him; even if you weren’t in a good mood, that would change.

I want to relate to two parts of his personality: on the one hand, Erez was extremely sensitive and caring. He had incredible pathos, a genuine empathy and concern for everyone, he made himself available for all his friends and was completely engaged when talking to them, always with a smile.

The other aspect of his personality that I want to highlight is his maturity. Erez was a person whose value system was very developed… he was an extremely ethical person who took upon himself tasks and missions with modesty and humility. You would never see him in the forefront but he was always there, with a smile.

The combination of these two facets made him completely unique. He really had a special light in his face, and every meeting with him would just lift your spirits.”

Our hearts go out to Erez’s parents, Keren and Uri Orbach, to his five siblings, his grieving extended family and friends.

May his memory be a blessing. יהי זכרו ברוך ונצור בליבינו תמיד

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