On Tuesday evening 120 people gathered at Chabad of the Valley’s – Menachem Institute in Tarzana as it hosted Israel’s Special Forces Paratrooper Izzy Ezagui for a lecture… all we can say is wow! The audience fell in love with him within the first few minutes… his delivery… his love of Israel… his sacrifice… his devotion… his perseverance… his heroism… his wonderful sense of humor earned him a very well deserved standing ovation. You could have heard a pin drop in the room as his message penetrated the hearts of the attendees.
He shared his journey over the past five years in the IDF, as well as his reserve service during Operation Pillar of Defense. He also shared what brought him to volunteer and then return to combat after a serious injury. He told his story in a fashion that allowed people to laugh during the darkest moments which kept the mood light.
Mr. Menachem Aaron Friedman, a dear friend and congregant of Chabad of Tarzana, was there at every important juncture in the formation of modern-day Israel. He served originally under the famous General Orde Wingate, and was an active member and fighter of the Palmach and close friend and confidante to Israeli leaders such as Moshe Dayan, Ezer Weizman, Menachem Begin and his best friend, Yitzchak Shamir. He was the personal bodyguard of the first Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. David Ben-Gurion.
Mr. Friedman’s legendary experiences coupled with the heroism and struggle of Izzy Ezagui brought comments from the audience that they were, in essence, mirror images of each other.
In conclusion, this amazing evening brought forth the essential truth that, “we will have no future unless the past is viably present.”