This week marks four years since the passing of Rabbi Moshe Levinger, a pioneer who blazed the path to settling Hevron, Judea, and Samaria.
The memorial held in Kiryat Arba-Hevron's Beit Hashalom (Peace House) also marked 40 years of Jewish women in Beit Hadassah, something which allowed Jews to settle in Hevron.
This unique event was held specifically at Peace House, the large building which was redeemed and purchased by Mr. Morris Avraham. Avraham, who purchased the property from an Arab friend of Hevron, paid the previous owner the full price. Today, Peace House serves as a new Jewish neighborhood, near Me'arat Hamachpelah (the Cave of the Patriarchs). It is reminiscent of Rabbi Levinger's vision of settling the entire city of Hevron and continuing to redeem and purchase homes all over the city.
In 1973, ten women and approximately 40 children entered the first floor of the Beit Hadassah complex, aiming to re-establish a permanent Jewish presence in the center of Hevron.
The spirit and strength of these exemplary women, who against all odds blazed the path for settlement in the heart of Hevron, gives future generations both the desire and power to continue redeeming Hevron and all of Israel. The evening was organized and produced by the "Harhivi Makom Ohaleich" (literally, widen the place of your tent), which works to redeem homes in Hevron.
Speaking at the ceremony were Rabbi Dov Lior, who discussed the pioneers, who came inspired Rabbi Levinger's strength and his inner pride borne of deep faith that the People of Israel would reclaim their land.
"We need to do everything in order to redeem the Land and settle it," he said.
Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, who heads the Nir Yeshiva in Kiryat Arba-Hevron, was a close friend of Rabbi Levinger.
"When the women entered Beit Hadassah, it was a very significant revolution," he said. "They embodied the statement that, 'All parts of the Land of Israel, new and old, all belong to the Jewish nation."
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said she hopes that "a government will be formed which believes that the People of Israel have a right to every single part of Israel" and that "the governments of Israel will no longer discuss dividing the land, and speak only of where else it can build."
Eliyahu Libman, who today heads the Kiryat Arba-Hevron local council, was one of the children who entered Beit Hadassah in 1973.
"We must take ourselves [in hand] and settle all parts of Israel," he said.
Towards the end of the evening, Rebbetzin Miriam Levinger spoke about some of the experiences and difficulties she had while living with her friends in Beit Hadassah.
"In the difficult reality of Beit Hadassah, the children never said, 'Mommy, let's go home.' They very much identified with the adults' efforts, because I tell you, if they would have cried and complained, I don't know if I would have had the strength to remain. But the fact that they were so excited about it helped us a lot," she concluded.
Those participating in the event also visited Peace House's first renovated apartment, which is now up for sale. Shlomo Levinger, who was leading the evening, quoted Israeli writer Shai Agnon's letter to Rabbi Levinger 51 years ago: "Future generations will write in a book that you returned the sons to their fathers' city, expanded eh borders of Israel, and opened an entryway for those who came after you."