A 21-year-old Israel Defense Forces paratrooper, who grew up in Edison and graduated from Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva there, has been wounded in the fighting in Gaza.
Sgt. Moshe Hirt sustained injuries during Operation Protective Edge and was hospitalized in the surgical department of Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan.
He is the son of Howie and Sharon Hirt of Edison and grandson of David and Gilda Singer of Highland Park.
His mother said July 23 that her son had been released from the hospital and is at his aunt's house in Beit Shemesh recovering from his injuries.
“He has been in Gaza from the beginning,” said Sharon Hirt, speaking to NJJN as she was about to leave to board a plane to Israel. “We are very proud of him, but this is how we raised him. We were not surprised when he told us he was going to Israel to study and join the IDF. We support him 100 percent.”
She said Moshe left for Israel shortly after graduating from the Torah Academy of Bergen County more than two years ago.
“We are concerned about him and all of Israel,” said Sharon Hirt, who said she could not share specific details, but said Moshe had talked to her about the fighting in Gaza.
“He said he’s not sleeping very much but is eating well,” she said. “He said he had seen a lot of bad things, but he is strong, like all our soldiers.”
Moshe also told his mother he is “very anxious” to get back to his unit, and “his heart is with the rest of his comrades.”
Moshe Hirt told Ynet.com that he sustained a head injury when a retaining wall fell on him.
Hirt also told the newspaper he was moved by the hundreds of Israelis who had come to visit him in the hospital when they heard through social media he was a hayal boded, a lone soldier, without immediate family in Israel. Although strangers, many gave the soldier their phone numbers or invited him to Shabbat dinner.
RPRY principal Rabbi Shraga Gross has remained in touch with his former student, whom he calls “Moishela.” Gross said he had spoken with him the morning of July 23 after he had been released from the hospital.
“I just hung up from speaking with him, and he just wants to be back with his buddies,” said Gross. “He said to me, ‘Rabbi Gross, it’s really true what you used to tell me in elementary school, about the stories you told us about am Yisrael, that each one of us feels the pain of another. You told us that there is no such thing as a hayal boded. These last two days I have been visited by hundreds of men, women, and children in my hospital room to let me know that am Yisrael is one big family. Although my parents are not living here in Israel, I am surrounded by warmth and love.’”
Gross added that a number of RPRY graduates are currently serving in the IDF and the RPRY community was continuing daily prayers for them “until they return to their homes and loved ones.”