A Chabad-Lubavitch yeshiva in Israel dedicated a new Torah scroll and study hall last week in remembrance of the three young yeshiva students who died last year on their way to bringing Chanukah cheer to one of the country's military bases.

In a ceremony attended by the commander of the Eilat-area base that Yonatan Biton, Moshe Golan and Levi Hendel were headed to when they killed in a car accident, officials with the Tomchei Tmimim yeshiva in Kiryat Gat and the parents of the deceased unveiled the newly built "Hall of the Three." Two of the students attended the school. The unveiling followed a celebratory welcoming of the new Torah scroll, which friends of the killed students commissioned 30 days after their burial.

Successfully turning sorrow into a joyful celebration of the three's dedication to spreading Torah and joy, the event was described by Rabbi Yosef Hecht, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Eilat, as "very, very happy." Hecht, a cousin of Hendel, said he remembered the morning of the accident, when he woke the boy up and took him to synagogue for the morning prayers. Hecht's son, Moshe, was in the car with the three when the tragedy occurred, suffering a broken leg.

"It was so painful," explained Hecht of the disaster, "both because it happened in Eilat, and because one of the students was family."

Speaking at the event, Israeli Army Lt. Col. Moshe Mor, commander of the base that the three students were headed to a year ago, said that he views the boys just like him. They were soldiers who were willing to risk their lives for the good of the nation of Israel. Even though he did not meet them, he said, he felt they were like family.

Hundreds of yeshiva students from across the country, many of whom had sponsored letters in the new Torah scroll, also came to participate.

Donors in the United States helped make the writing of the scroll possible.

Rabbi Moshe Havlin, dean of Tomchei Tmimim in Kiryat Gat and the city's chief rabbi, said that he felt that something had to be done in the students' honor.

"Everyone could see the happiness in the eyes of the families, and the happiness in their hearts," said Havlin. "I cannot describe it, there hasn't been happiness like this for a long time. The families really felt that their sons' souls were celebrating with everyone."