Sיhilo Rauchberger Hy"d
Sיhilo Rauchberger Hy"dIDF photo

Shilo Rauchberger Hy"d was born on Tisha B'av, the day the Temples were destroyed but also the day they are to be rebuilt, and his mother Nirit said that he really was a child of redemption, full of life.

Shilo volunteered for years at “Lev Binyamin” with challenged children and at “One Family” as a counselor for bereaved youth. He lived a full life in the way he interacted with people, in his desire to connect people to each other, in his open heart. His greatest desire was to give - to his family, his friends, his soldiers and his people - and to add only good things to the world.

Watch the film that delves into the legacy Shilo left behind: how he lived, how he died, and what he wrote and said.

Nirit, Shilo's mother: "On the first holiday of Sukkot...we sat until 3 am having a mother-son talk about life, what he wants, and how he sees himself in life after the army. He was offered a long-term position in the army and he wasn’t sure if to take it or not. We spoke about dating. It was such a meaningful conversation that cleared many issues for me and gave me a lot of strength. I remember every word. Before he returned to the army on Sunday, he woke me up and said goodbye."

"There was an artillery attack, Shilo's soldiers were right on the border and entered the dining room which is their protected space. After a few minutes, they heard gunfire shots – the terrorists fired an RPG at the door, it opened and basically everyone was exposed. Shilo in those moments took command, and together with Amichai Rubin and another soldier, guarded the door so that the terrorists couldn’t enter. One soldier said that Shilo managed the fighting in a measured and calm manner. He was fully focused on his mission. When they saw that he was lying down in a pool of blood, they did not realize that he was injured - he was fully aware. For four hours there was fighting and at the end the terrorists were eliminated and in fact about thirty soldiers were saved - his entire platoon, except for Amichai Rubin and Shilo. They were moved from the dining room to a synagogue, and someone covered him with the cover from the Aron Kodesh. Shiloh returned in the Aron Kodesh.

"After Shabbat, when no one came, I relaxed a little. As a mother of four soldiers, I disconnected myself from the news, I didn't want unnecessary worries. I really felt that I was focused on all four of my sons who were fighting, and I wrapped them in prayer and thoughts and felt I was there with them. I couldn't afford to be distracted. Then there were knocks on the door and the town’s resilience committee was standing there. My first question was: 'Which one of them...?'

"I feel Shilo with me at every moment. His spirit is at home, his joy, but it's hard. On Friday night when we bless our children, he's not there - it's hard. I live one day at a time, unable to think ahead. Sometimes I feel like my heart is literally breaking physically. But it's a wave that comes and goes, I fall apart and then get stronger. The three other boys returned to fighting, but they issued an order that bereaved brothers aren’t on the front line, so they are in relatively protected places. They say we're going through a challenging time, but the inner experience and my inner feelings, and the state of consciousness I'm in - that I'm on a mission, and not a challenge."

(Article 3 of Salt of the Earth, A7 series on soldiers who fell in the Swords of Iron War.)

Film produced in Hebrew by Etrog Studios. English subtitles by Rochel Sylvetsky, complete interview with NIrit Rauchberger here and interview on Channel 11 here, Technical editor Meir Pavlovsky.

Backgr4ound song by Leah Goldberg, sung by Arik Einstein "In the place where the songbirds grow still at night, we sat and wept when we recalled his face...wept for our brother who did not return..."