Alex: Building a Life; The Story of an American Who Fell Defending Israel Told in His Letters, Journals and Drawings

Alex Singer Jerusalem, Israel: Gefen Publishing House, 1996. First Edition [stated]. Trade paperback. xiii, [1], 273, [1] pages. Illustrations. Glossary. Foreword by Sir Martin Gilbert. Preface by Suzanne and Max Singer. Afterword by Suzanne Singer. Not only was Alex Singer a great human being -- and though young, he was great -- he was also a gifted writer and artist. These letters, diary entries and drawings are quite simply riveting. Whether your interest is Israel, the development of a sensitive young mind, Judaism or God, you will never forget Alex: Building A Life. Read it and laugh and cry. In other words, read it and live a remarkable life that was cut short. ” Alex left a wonderful collection of illustrated diaries, sketches and paintings, which were assembled in the exhibition “Art and Operation”, which was first exhibited in his memory at the Mishkenot Sha’ananim Gallery in Jerusalem and later in Israel and in several Jewish communities in the United States. The exhibition included paintings from various periods and landmarks in his life: places in Jerusalem, a beret journey, officers’ course, a visit to Petra and many other places he loved. At the opening of the exhibition, his commander said: “Alex did manage to be absorbed and to be part of the society that gave her his life.” Alex’s parents gathered his letters, diaries and drawings in a book bearing his name “Alex-Building a Life”. Alex Singer was born on September 15, 1962 in New York, United States. He had tremendous energy and cheerful, infectious moods. When he came up with an idea he immediately tried to realize it. Since he began drawing, at the age of four, he has recorded in writing and sketches his experiences throughout his career. In 1973, the family arrives in Israel for one year;, their stay in Israel lasts for four full years. When he comes to Cornell University in September 1980, he wants to become a gymnast. Alex spends three of his four years at Cornell. He is accepted into a special track, which allows him to build his curriculum on topics of interest to him, such as Russian studies, Jewish studies and economics, and undertakes to write his thesis in the fourth year of his studies. He spent his third year at the London School of Economics. This year, he traveled in England, Scotland, Spain, Italy and Greece, and even traveled to the Soviet Union for a short visit, where he met with refuseniks. When he returned to Cornell for his final year, the experience of the previous year became his thesis topic – Letters from the Diaspora. On the basis of this work, Alex graduated with honors. On the last day of 1984, Alex officially goes to Israel. In one of the letters to his brother in the United States, he writes: “The purpose of my aliyah is a combination of several factors: my desire to participate in the development of the State of Israel as a nation and as a light for the nations … I prefer Israel’s challenges to the easy life of America.” Six weeks after his aliyah, Alex enlisted in the IDF. He attaches great importance to serving in the paratroopers, volunteers for the army, and goes on basic training. Alex wanted to influence others and knew that as commander he will have more influence. He continues his training as a combat combatant and as a commander in a course for commanders and officers of the infantry corps, and after long efforts his wish is fulfilled and he is stationed as a platoon commander in the Givati Brigade. After several months of training, Alex leaves with his unit to the Lebanese border to secure the northern settlements. During this period, too, he continues to write in the journal he began with his enlistment. The diary includes many descriptions, accompanied by paintings and drawings. On the 17th of Elul 5747 (September 15, 1987), on his 20th birthday, Alex and his company commander, Ronen Weissman, lead a tour of the security zone. A group of terrorists making their way to attack civilian targets in Israel surprises them. The company commander was hit (and later died of his wounds) and Alex was killed instantly. Alex’s last diary is on his body. Alex is laid to rest at the Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem. After his fall he is promoted to lieutenant. Yitzhak Rabin, the defense minister at the time, wrote to the family: “Lieutenant Alexander Singer gave his life for his homeland … He was an excellent officer, always ready to help everyone, a friendly figure, his soldiers followed him for every mission. The commander of the unit adds: “To all of us, commanders and soldiers, Alex was an example and a symbol, a soldier and an exemplary, responsible, dedicated and intelligent commander with a personal initiative and excellent operational ability.” Alex volunteered for every mission and showed personal involvement in the education of every soldier in the company. Condition: Very good.

Keywords: Israel, Israeli Defense Forces, IDF, Lebanon, Zionism, Terrorism, Military Officer, Military Training, Officer Training, Givati, Jews, Cornell University, Combat Operations

ISBN: 9652291609

[Book #88069]

Price: $47.50

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