Hundreds of people packed the Cockfosters and North Southgate Synagogue to mourn one of their own — the 20-year-old soldier, Nathanel Young, who died in the first round of fighting on the Gaza border after the Hamas massacres on 7 October.
Corporal Young, who was buried in Jerusalem in a full military ceremony, had only lived in Israel for a year before successfully joining the prestigious Golani Brigade in the IDF.
His memorial service was also an opportunity for the tight-knit community to pray for Israel, in a service led by the synagogue’s current minister, Rabbi Meir Shindler, with contributions from previous rabbonim including Rabbi Daniel Epstein and Rabbi Yisroel Fine. Chazan Dov Speier and Chazan David Rome also took part.
A long-time friend of the Young family, Rabbi Hershel Kesselman, urged people to remember Nathanel when they lit their Shabbat candles. He reminded the congregation that “Here in the UK, we are all also soldiers.”
Friends, including Amy Boujenah and Yuval Remon, paid tribute to the much-loved, larger-than-life and music-loving soldier, who had been determined to make his way in Israel, joining his three older siblings when he made aliyah. “Everything I do is in memory of you,” Yuval said. “How many lives you have touched”.
At one point during the service, the Israeli embassy’s military attaché could be seen with his arm round the shoulders of Nicky Young, Nathanel’s father. Mr Young and his wife Chantal spoke touchingly about their son, whose ambition had been, his father said, “to become rich and buy his mother a big house with a swimming pool”.
Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely attended the service.
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