Israeli Soldier David Menachem Gordon in His Own Words

David Menachem Gordon / Facebook

David Menachem Gordon, the IDF soldier from Ohio who was found dead on Tuesday, left a record explaining his journey from budding American journalist to Israeli army recruit.

The 21-year-old’s personal blog, “Shields of David,” together with his writings available elsewhere online, offers a glimpse of an articulate young man who identified his worst fears and decided to fight them head-on rather than be paralyzed by them.

This was a boy who wrote publicly about “the scattered scars that sexual abuse left on his Soul” for the Huffington Post, and encouraged other survivors to come forward. “Those eight years of secrecy were horrific,” Gordon wrote. “If you are a victim of any type of abuse, wherever you are, I beg you for your own sake: Reach out! Secrets don’t get better with age so don’t keep them boiling inside any longer.”

This was a boy who unabashedly posted John Mayer songs to his personal Facebook page, along with messages like:

This was a boy who wept when, on a student trip to Poland, a group of locals outside his tour bus raised their arms in a Hitler salute.

Gordon was planning to join the U.S. Navy when Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.

Gordon was clearly excited about becoming part of the Israeli army. On his Facebook page, he posted images from a Reuters photoshoot of the IDF, for which he modeled.

In other status updates, he wrote in Hebrew “I got Givati!” (referring to the prestigious Givati Brigade) and “I’m a sharpshooter!”

Just 25 days before his death, Gordon wrote on Facebook:

Despite this, Gordon was far from naïve when it came to his choice to join the army. In fact, he was remarkably clear-eyed about it. As he noted on his blog:

Spencer Eppstein, 22, a student at Yeshiva University and a close friend of Gordon’s, remembered him fondly in a phone call with the Forward: “He was one of the most brilliant people that I knew, that I know. He was smart beyond belief — and he hadn’t gone to college yet. He had a lot of tough times in life and made it out on top. It was his goal to not only figure out what happiness was for himself, but to spread it to other people.”

Tagged as:

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Israeli Soldier David Menachem Gordon in His Own Words

Thank you!

This article has been sent!