Another kind of leadership

צילום: מרים צחי
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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

In these days leading up to our fourth consecutive elections, with politicians and parties that come and go, someone died yesterday who reminds us that it’s possible to influence and change worlds in other ways, too. Moshe (Moshko) Moskowitz, who was 96 years old, had been an educator and activist who founded dozens of enterprises, including educational institutions, new communities, and yeshivot. He immigrated to Israel at a young age, fought in the underground, and merited to see great-great grandchildren. From everything that was written and spoken about him, I learned the following important guiding principles:

* The main thing is action. On the third day of the Six Day War, before cessation of hostilities, he had already written a detailed plan for the establishment of Gush Etzion. While everyone was still full of excitement and had not yet digested what was happening, he had already planned concrete steps to take going forward. “The Holy One, blessed be He, invites us in this generation to take

responsibility and to act together with Him,” he explained.

* Two fundamental values accompanied him throughout his life: aliyah and education. In his youth, in the days of the British mandate, he was responsible for the aliyah of 57,000 immigrants from the detention camp on Cyprus, and afterwards persuaded an entire Jewish community from New York to immigrate together to Israel. And in every new community he founded, he first set up a school or a yeshiva. “Communities grow up around educational institutions,” he explained.

* Never stop working. At the age of 90, he managed a full daily schedule of work. He was responsible for saving hundreds of Torah scrolls that remained in Europe after World War II. Only a few days ago he was making phone calls regarding the establishment of a new institution for at-risk youth. In a final interview he gave a few weeks ago, he said: “I have already made a plan I can show you of what the State of israel will look like at the age of 100. This is a grand and beautiful and spectacular plan.”

* Don’t look for credit. Through his life, Moshko did not attend ceremonies and did not want to appear in front of the camera. This he left for those seeking honor and fame. “Many of my successes resulted from not clashing with other people; I left for them the publicity and the honor,” he said. Now, after his passing, he is going to a place where everything he has done is known and acknowledged.

In his memory.

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