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Meir Gross

My first cry was heard by the world in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, just after the Passover freedom festival of 1948, the year of Jewish freedom in Israel. A year later, I was taken to Israel by my parents - both holocaust survivors who went through Auschwitz and were liberated from Buchenwald (my late father) and Bergen-Belsen (my late mother - with my late brother (who fell during his military service), may all three rest in peace. After a short period in the Be'er-Ya'akov transit camp (in an apartment with chilling winds and constant leaks), we moved to Bat-Yam and then, when I was in second grade, to Jerusalem. In both places, my father managed old age homes, in which we lived until his late retirement.

I started to activate my grey cells in the 'Horev' school, then in the 'Netiv-Meir' Yeshiva high school and in the "Merkaz Harav' higher Yeshiva. I served in the IDF's 'Nahal' paratroopers and was sent to chair the Jerusalem branch of the 'Ezra' youth movement, of which I was a member and a guide. I was active in this movement after my military service, and was eventually appointed its general secretary. Later, I managed the 'Torah Agricultural Research Institute', the 'Merchavia' association (which operated the 'Noam' schools) and the community centres at Psagot. I was also worked with the national organisation for community centres and at the Torah Culture Department, in the 'Ot Va'ed' society for commemorating the holocaust, as director of the 'Aminadav' women's volunteers' service and currently I am in charge of publications and special studies at the Lifshitz Teachers' College. I also guide tours to Poland and other destinations, write in the Israeli paper 'Hatzofe' and host radio shown on 'Channel 7' (Arutz Sheva) since its inception.

In my public activities, I serve as the chairman of the 'Midrasha Le'Torah Ve'Derech Eretz' of Jewish studies at Lod, member of the board of the 'Ezra' movement (where I served in the managing committee for years), member of the local authority of Bet-El, where I participate in various committees and in the community centre. I was a member of the secretariat of 'Amana', 'Moledet' and more.

I have recently completed my Masters degree at Touro College and hold a teacher's certificate from Lifshitz College. I have studied in the past at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, in 'Beit Berl', at the 'Jerusalem College' and took other courses.

I took part in defending Israel and served in the Israel Defence Forces' Reserves for many years. I received the ribbons of 4 wars, in which I served as a paratrooper and a commando fighter. The peak of my life is my marriage to Rivka, born in Kfar-Ahim, and our seven children, whom we have raised in Bet-El since 1980. We have had the joy of seeing three of our children marry. Our first born daughter lives in M'aleh-Hever and has 5 children. Our twins are married and live in Mitzpeh-Ramon, one of whom is the mother of our granddaughter.

Articles published in HopeWays' 'News & Views' section

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