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Dan Uzan—a Walking Mezuzah

Dan Uzan—a Walking Mezuzah

In tribute to the Jewish volunteer security guard killed outside a Copenhagen synagogue

Dan Uzan
Dan Uzan

This afternoon the Jewish community of Copenhagen, the people of Denmark, and the Jewish people as a whole buried one of its sons: Dan Uzan.

Like the mezuzah, Dan stood tall and proud at the door of Jewish institutions and welcomed people with a firm but friendly demeanor.

He always had a pleasant smile, a good word and a warm handshake. He was tall and big and loved sports. Enjoyed a good laugh and a hearty joke. His size and demeanor meant that when you saw him at the door, you were reassured. You knew that this was a person who was serious about protection.

That was where he was on the last night of his young life.

The atmosphere in the street that night was tense, and as I was heading out from the bat mitzvah he’d been protecting, I said to him, “Dan, why are you here on the street? Come inside.” His response: “We have to be proactive to make sure the police are here and check the cars, etc.” A quick handshake and I left. A short while later, he fell in the line of duty, protecting his people.

The Jewish community in Denmark and Jewish communities all around the world have many such mezuzahs. Younger or older, men and women, who stand in the heat and in the cold, in the rain and in the sleet. Just like the mezuzah, they stand at the door to the Jewish home or institution, keeping it welcoming and safe inside.

They volunteer knowing that it gives a sense of security to the community, hoping that the time and warm toes sacrificed will be enough. But with Dan, it was not to be.

It is told that the Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, of righteous memory, once spoke of the young people who operated in Europe to clandestinely spirit Jews into Mandate Palestine. The aliyah bet people. Selflessly and without consideration for themselves. Truth be told, many of them were not that religious. She called them "tzadikim without tefillin."

Tzadikim, righteous people, because of their amazing work and dedication. Without tefillin, because they may have not worn tefillin regularly. But still tzadikim!

The young men and women of the security group of Denmark and around the world are truly tzadikim, whether with or without tefillin.

Dan Uzan is a genuine hero who died protecting the Jewish community. He is an inspiration for us all, as well as a symbol of the appreciation that we should have for all those standing out in that position.

As for the rest of us, we can still do something for Dan and for our brethren all over. We can put on tefillin, light Shabbat candles and do other mitzvahs in their merit.

Rabbi Yitzchok Loewenthal is director of Chabad of Denmark.

Dan Uzan, killed by a terrorist while guarding a synagogue, was laid to rest in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Dan Uzan, killed by a terrorist while guarding a synagogue, was laid to rest in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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DJ Denver February 18, 2015

Shalom Dan. May your passing bring us another step closer to the end of this madness. Reply

Anonymous los angeles February 18, 2015

This is a very touching and sad story. In memory of this guard we should put a smile on our face and bless Hashem in every moment, for Hashem is our protector. Reply

lisa South Carolina February 18, 2015

heartbreaking baruch dayan haemet

may his murder be avenged Reply

Sy Adelson Wilkes-barre, Pa..USA February 18, 2015

Rest in Peace my brother. AntiSemitism is all over the world these days. We just try to be ourselves and carry on as usual. Reply

Norah February 18, 2015

No words could ever describe what I feel, only because I do the same type of work. I pray blessings upon his family AND upon those who knew Dan. Reply

Anonymous USA February 18, 2015

I chose to believe he is now one with Adam and one with Hashem. I hope this helps the grief his family is going through. Even though I have never met Dan Uzan, of righteous memory, nor any of his family, it brought me to tears and great sadness to read and hear in the news about him losing his life protecting G-d's people. I pray everyday for Moshiach, for world peace and for redemption and when we will super joyously be reunited with our loved ones. Reply

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