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Murdered Israeli Soldier Had Ties to Tucson

Rose Lubin, from Instagram

Tucsonan Lindsey Baker wasn’t sure of the exact term for her family relationship with Rose Lubin, a 20-year-old Israel Defense Forces soldier who was killed by a knife-wielding terrorist in Jerusalem on Nov. 6, one month into Israel’s war against Hamas. Lubin was the granddaughter of Baker’s father’s first cousin, which makes them second cousins, once removed. But what matters to Baker is that she was mishpacha, family.

Lubin, who grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, was a lone soldier, one without immediate family in Israel — although she did have extended family in the country. She often visited her host family at Kibbutz Sa’ad on the southern border, where she helped fend off Hamas attackers on Oct. 7. Baker recalls speaking to Lubin’s step-grandmother toward the end of October and being relieved that Rosie, as the family called her, was returning to work as a Border Police officer in Jerusalem’s Old City, where ostensibly she’d be safer.

“Generations have dreamed of coming to Jerusalem, we have the honor of protecting it,” Lubin said in a speech she gave at a Friends of the IDF fundraiser in May 2022.

Thousands of people turned out to honor Lubin at her funeral on Nov. 9 in Jerusalem. In Tucson, Baker watched the live stream of the funeral at 1 a.m., texting with members of the Lubin-Pozez family who were watching remotely, including her cousins Ben Pozez and Gerri Pozez.

“She died doing what she was passionately committed to. I pray her legacy continues to inspire all of us,” says Baker.

During the funeral Lubin’s mother, Robin, read part of her bat mitzvah speech in which Lubin “talked about wanting to create a mind-blowing life story,” says Baker. “And I thought, in 20 years, you really did.”

Baker, who lived in Atlanta before returning to Tucson in 2020, had seen Lubin at large family events over the years. She also recalled joining the Lubin family for a Shabbat lunch at their home and has fond memories of Lubin playing games and putting on a performance with her younger siblings.

“She was a dynamic firecracker,” Baker says, noting that Lubin was the first girl in her high school to compete on the boys’ wrestling team and was a varsity cheerleader.

The Lubin-Pozez family has more than 100 relatives in Israel and many from the Pozez side, who were not technically related to Lubin, attended Rose’s funeral and the shiva.

“It was amazing. It meant so much,” Baker says, and reaffirmed that “our family is probably the greatest treasure I have.”

“It’s a devastating loss for the family, but the outpouring of support in Israel has been immense and beautiful,” Ben Pozez says.

“There’s something very meaningful in such a tragic death in terms of recognizing what her loss means to the Jewish people,” he adds. “The fact that she will eternally be on Mt. Herzl with the people of Israel, and being cared for, is beautiful. It’s terrible and tragic and beautiful.”

Lubin’s murder is a reminder, Pozez says, that it is not always safe to be a Jew.

It is equally devastating, he says, that “this atrocity against our cousin was ultimately carried out by a child.”

The terrorist, a 16-year-old from East Jerusalem, was shot and killed by another Border Police officer.

“I have a 12-year-old right now. Our kids only know what they’re being taught,” Pozez says.

Pozez’s father, Mitch Pozez, has been helping Jewish Philanthropies of Southern Arizona raise money to support humanitarian needs in Israel. He says he’s been telling people that losing a relative has brought the war closer to home.

“I’ve been trying to get the community to understand that ‘Never Again’ is right now,” he says.

The elder Pozez also watched Lubin’s funeral on the internet with his wife, Robin.

“Every Israeli has been to multiple funerals” in the weeks following the Oct. 7 attacks, he says. “That’s a sad statement.”

Lubin is survived by her mother, Robin; father, David; brothers Alec, Joseph; and Isaac; sister, Lily; and stepmother, Stephanie, as well as grandparents, step-grandparents, and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Baker says her cousin Yedida Lubin suggested memorial contributions may be made to charities that aid lone soldiers, such as Friends of the IDF, Garin Tzabar – Lone Soldiers, Michael Levin Lone Soldier Center, and The Base.