Brother of fallen IDF soldier invents Purim dance in his memory

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — The Bnei Akiva Jewish youth movement published online a Purim video of its members performing a dance choreographed by the brother of a fallen Israeli soldier.

Hemi Goldin, whose brother, Hadar, was killed by Hamas in 2014 and whose body has not been returned for burial, invented the dance routine in memory of his brother’s joviality, World Bnei Akiva said in a statement about the video, which was uploaded to YouTube on Thursday.

Hadar Goldin was an instructor for Bnei Akiva.

The video, entitled “Happy Purim — Dancing Around the World,” features boys and girls from Jerusalem, Milan, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro and Hong Kong dancing to the sounds of the hit pop song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

Some of the dancers performed the routine in front of well-known monuments, including the Sydney Opera House, the Milan Cathedral and the Ipanema Beach in Rio. Drawing the attention of passersby, the dancers also wore costumes for Purim.

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The video ends with a statement calling for the release of Hadar Goldin’s body.

The decision to tie the campaign to the holiday devoted to levity may seem unusual, Hemi Goldin said in a statement, but it “perfectly fits” his late brother’s character, which was one of “simcha [happiness], joy, and connection to the eternal values of Zionism.”

“Not a day goes by when we don’t hope that Hadar will receive the minimum that any IDF hero deserves—the right to a Jewish burial,” the statement said.

Last month, the family’s appeals for Goldin’s body prompted the television critic for the left-leaning Haaretz daily, Rogal Alper, to write to criticize their efforts.

In addition to “not distinguishing between the dead and the living,” Alper wrote of the family: “They suffer from megalomania that characterizes a lot of the discourse of the so-called family of grief in Israel, where their bereaved status affords relatives, in their opinion, authority and privilege to determine national agendas and priorities.”

Goldin’s father Simcha asked Amos Schocken, Haaretz’s publisher, on Twitter whether he supports Alper’s characterization of the campaign to have the body returned as megalomania. Schocken replied “Certainly,” before deleting his reply and explaining he did not understand the question when he replied to it.