A new synagogue for the Ethiopian Jewish community was inaugurated on Tuesday in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem, in memory of IDF soldier First Sgt. Moshe Malko (20), who fell in combat fighting Hamas terrorists in Gaza last summer during Operation Protective Edge.
Moshe's sister Ester Malko told Arutz Sheva about the decision to inaugurate the synagogue precisely on "Good Deeds Day," a global initiative encouraging volunteerism.
"It's really unifying and makes one happy to see giving, to see things passed from one to the other," she said. "It really connects me to what my brother said in the last phone call: 'one for all and all for one.'"
The grieving sister added "I hope with G-d's help that the scriptural verse 'make for Me a sanctuary and I will dwell among them' will be fulfilled here in the synagogue."
When asked how the family is coping with the loss of Moshe, she explained "we live with the pain and the difficulty and find happiness even in the small things that the Holy One Blessed be He leads to us to each day."
"It isn't easy," Ester acknowledged. "But what the Holy One Blessed be He commands us is to choose life, and that's what my family and myself decide every day, to choose life and make it happier."
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat took part in the inauguration ceremony, and told the Ethiopian Jewish community that has returned to Israel after nearly two millennium of exile that he hopes they "feel here as in your true home 2,000 years ago."
"Moshe is one of 11 sons who were buried in Jerusalem" during the last war, Barkat added. "We all were there at the cemetery and it was very hard to accept the bitter fate."
The mayor noted that "Moshe brought a lot of honor to Jerusalem and to the family. I am certain that all those who enter the synagogue will want to learn more and ask about Moshe, and learn that he was an exemplary figure that we are all proud of, and see as one of our sons."
Rabbi Shahar Aylin, the rabbi of the new synagogue, acknowledged that the joy was bittersweet.
"It is a great merit to remember Moshe Malko and to commemorate him in Jerusalem, in the first synagogue of the (Ethiopian) community in the Katamon neighborhood," said Rabbi Aylin. "It is very moving, and I haven't the slightest doubt that with G-d's help we will commemorate him for the coming generations."