Sgt. Maj. (res.) Yossi Hershkovitz, 44, was killed in battle in northern Gaza on November 10.
Hershkovitz, the principal of the ORT Pelech High School for boys in Jerusalem, lived in the West Bank settlement of Gva’ot, in Gush Etzion. He is survived by his wife, Hadas, five children, Be’eri, Halel, Tal, Shira, and Neta, his parents, Yaakov and Ruhama, and his siblings.
“Yossi was a beloved administrator, a first-rate educator, a man of the people, full of love and giving, who saw in front of him the path to doing good and creating a brighter and better world,” said the CEO of the ORT network, Tzvika Peleg. “The ORT family will remember Yossi and will continue to integrate his values and faith and desire to complete and enhance his educational life’s work.”
The final letter he wrote to his parents, while inside Gaza just days before his death, circulated online after he was killed: “You raised me to give without receiving, and not out of habit, and thank God I am privileged to be part on an incredible nation of incredible people who give from all their soul to the nation.” Hershkovitz added: “How much slander was said about this nation over the past year, and how much was it all a lie. We are all here fighting shoulder to shoulder, as one people with one heart.”
The lifelong educator had worked in the past as a teacher at SAR Academy, a New York Jewish day school, and as an educator at Camp Moshava, a Modern Orthodox US summer camp.
“Yossi’s approach to teaching was rooted in compassion and caring for each student as an individual,” wrote Rabbi Binyamin Krauss, principal of SAR Academy in the Bronx, where Hershkovitz and his wife Hadas taught from 2012-2016. “He was a man of strong ideals and Torah principles, living out his beliefs both in and out of the classroom.”