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Remembering the Flame that Burned

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.


  1. A Jewish nurse...my heartaches for her on both counts.

    Oh, I pray she is at last at peace. But a haunting thought always remains when I read of something like this. Are people like Lena or any of those who perished in the Holocaust every truly at rest while atrocities continue against the Jewish people?

    And G-d, may I never say atrocities against the Jewish people are over when they are ongoing.

    Thank you for writing this Sultan, and remembering her--both now and at the time of her death. I recall that you were one of the few who wrote about Lena Bosinova back in 2005. I remembered her photo the instant I saw it.

  2. i'm really glad that you remembered the original post i wrote

  3. Anonymous24/7/07

    Lately there has been several articles describing what was/is wrong. One very thoughtful article is printed on Israel End Times where he discusses the right-wing amazement by the stupidity of the left-wing elite. The truth is that the left is not blind, but cunning. They know exactly what they are doing. It is the right-wingers that do not understand. And, it is the masses that are in a daze. What is lacking is a legitimate right-wing party that even the non-religious people can vote for. And, a top to bottom house cleaning of the technocrats. Until we have a truly Jewish government our only hope is prayer. The left-elite would rather destroy th State then turn it over to a conservative party.

    Yacckov did three things before facing Esav. He send a bribe. He divided the camp in preparation for war. And, he prayed.

    We have sent bribes. We offer prayers. But, we failed to prepare for battle. The battle is for the hearts and minds of the Jews as well as the coming war with the Arabs.

    Stop moaning about the dirt bags in the government and start getting organized for the next election. If there is no serious right-wing party the same people will be elected.

  4. To Sultan: Yes, I remember what you wrote very well. Of the few to write about Lena you stood out for writing about her life and horrendous and courageous death with compassion and sensitivity.

    Sad to say other writers, and commentors on media sites, did a lot of judging or were dissmissive of her.

    To Anonymous: maybe you can answer this, it's something I have always been curious about. If an Israeli citizen lives in the US are they still entitled to vote by absentee ballot?

    Perhaps that could help in getting more right-wing politicians into office.

  5. thank you, i think what she did was a terrible and tragic mistake but when people look into the abyss forming... and some can see further than others, they can give in to desperation and perhaps the belief that some shocking gesture will wake people up from their apathetic slumber

    a lot of people felt the need to dismiss her, i think it's more important to understand her and understand the leadership that failed her and is unwilling to recognize her in death

  6. Wow, what a story. I'm speechless.

  7. Anonymous25/7/07

    I do not believe that Israelis living outside of Israel can vote, except if they are on a governmental mission. Actually this might be somewhat fortunate since a serious number of these people are of a leftist persuasion. (For example, where do the children of Olmert and Barak live?)

    In fact I am somewhat surprised that the current government doesn't pad their numbers by offering absentee ballots.

    However, the real problem is developing a conservative party that both the religious and non-religious masses can vote for.

    The current government was not elected by the voters. They hold a technical win, but no mandate. Yet, they will win again if no one gets organized.

    Now do we want that?

  8. Anonymous25/7/07

    Hi Sultan,

    this story is tragic. Just like the one in the "Grains of Sand". But even more so because here is someone who knew about the horrors of the Holocaust. As a German, and I have read several survivor accounts already, I thought the ovens were used to burn the dead corpses. As bad as it all is it's even more shocking that people could be THAT BARBARIC. It never stops to amaze me how depraved human beings can be, specially if they are fed by hatred.

    To Anonymos.
    Yes, I just stumpled over Naratt's article. It's all about greed and money, what else. If you look at the Republicans and the Democrats, there is no more difference. At least when it really comes down to it.

  9. Anonymous26/7/07

    to Andy

    Greed and money are factors. However, I suspect that for the extreme Left there is one more factor. I think they are motivated by an adversion to Biblical religion. They don't have a problem with human written morals and ethics. But, to be limited by devinely written laws is to much. I think they want to be able to change things when they want too.

    The fastest way to undermine religion is to prove it is not perfect. By showing that some part is not true you destroy the entire structure. It's like a tall building without a solid base.

    Large numbers of Jews and Christians view the establishment of a Jewish State as predicted in the Bible. Ditto with the ingathering, as instituted in the laws defining the Jewish Right of Return. By forcing Israel into a non-sectarian Muslim dominated State, where Jews are in the minority, these anti-Israel forces will claim that the Bible is defective. At the very least it would end the ingathering.

    Granted the Rabbis will define the situation to deal with the reality. But, many Jews and Christians will have their beliefs destroyed.

    I think this is a very important goal of the left.

  10. Hi Anony--

    It probably is fortunate that there aren't absentee ballots. I just always assumed that Jews with Israeli citizenship could vote.

    Ah, trying to find a way to unite religious and non-religious Jews for the benefit of the country. That's a tough one. Especially when the left seems oblivious to what is happening in the settlements.

    I read what happens there and my mind immediately goes to the ghettos in Europe. The world was snowed. In Gush Katif when the international media was covering the "historic exodus" as one outlet called it the government at least feigned decency. The had female officers and soldiers remove the women and children.

    The gloves were off with Amona. What will the next settlement face?

    Before the expulsions in 2005 I ignorantly asked a friend where the settlers would be moved to and if they would be forced from the country. Well, she thought it a ridiculous question. Of course they wouldn't be thrown out of Israel and displaced into another country.

    But I often wonder and worry about that. What if Olmert decides that they are too subversive or dangerous and tries to revoke their citizenship?

    Another thought on the subject of this post--Lena brought the Holocaust out of the past and into the future to warn people. The people who attend Holocaust Memorials and say never again turned their backs on her and dismissed her.

    What she did was a terrible mistake but from my perspective when someone is desperate to warn and try to save the lives of her fellow Jews, especially a Holocaust survivor, we need to listen and heed that warning.

    She was desperate, but she saw something frightening.

    Also...when Terri Schiavo was starved to death many Jewish writers and commentators decried her death. It reminded them of what the the Nazis did. (And personally, I think subconscienciously her maiden name of Schindler may have been a factor.)

    Why did they empathize with Terri Schiavo and her family and not Lena, a real victim of the Holocaust?

    It seems the death mask of the Holocaust is seen in just about everyone by liberals...Terri Schiavo, Darfur even the Palestinians. Everyone it seems except Israeli Jews.

    I cannot understand that.

    Thank you once again Sultan for letting me express myself here.

  11. Anonymous27/7/07

    to keli

    I think the Left knows very well what is happening in the "Settlements" (I prefer calling them good Jews). They do it to destroy the Flame Carriers of True Zionism. They turn good into bad, hoping that people, who are comfortable, will have no interest in Zionistic goals. Of course, when the rockets fall on Tel Aviv they will suddenly wake them up from their media induced stupor. Hopefully before t is o late. However, I believe, that was the plan of the Left. Once they lost the mind of the masses their only wish was to destroy everything.

    Please read my previous comments.

    Concerning the Holocaust, I think there is evidence that the Allied leadership had a pretty good idea what Germany was doing to the Jews (and other "undesirables." I've heard that almost 4 million Gypsys were murder in concentration camps.)

    The Freedom Loving World didn't care.


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