Jul 13, 2013
Reuven Helman, 86, OBM

Reuven Helman, a Lubavitcher, weightlifting champion and war hero who raised a chassidic family, passed away.

By COLlive reporter

Reuven Helman, a Chabad chossid who was an Israeli war hero and a former Maccabiah Olympian, passed away on Thursday, 4 Av 5773.

He was 86.

Born in 1927 in the city of Tel Aviv, then in Palestine, Helman became interested in athletics and body-building as a youngster and became a distinguished athlete in Track and Field and the Decathlon.

He was the best grenade flinger the Israelis had during the 1948 war of Independence, the Jewish Exponent wrote. He was good for 75 meters per throw and was dubbed the "human cannon."

He received a war medal from the U.S. Ministry of Defense for his service in World War II. He also fought in the Six Day War in 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

A weightlifting champion, Helman came in second in 1957 in the International Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv, and had also competed in 1953.

Helman became an adherent of the Chabad Lubavitch movement after visiting the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Brooklyn, NY. He soon moved to the Kfar Chabad village with his wife Leah and their children.

He worked as a policeman for many years in Tel Aviv and later as a sports instructor at schools and at Chabad's veteran overnight Camp Gan Israel for boys in Swan Lake, NY (today in Parksville) in 1963.

"The bearded muscular athlete attributes his strength to kosher eating, clean living and exercise," reported the Jewish Times in 1963. In Chabad circles, some children would call him "Shimshon Hagibor."

Eli Federman, one of his grandchildren recalled how the Rebbe once handed him a Sefer Torah, on the Holiday of Simchas Torah, telling him to "dance with the Torah like a true champion." Federman interpreted the message was that you need to combine physical health with the spirit.

In recent years he lived in Tzfas, as his chassidic family grew to live around Israel and the United States, many of them serving as Shluchim and community activists.

He is survived by his children R' Yitzchok Helman, R' Dovid Helman, both of Crown Heights, R' Shneur Zalman Helman - Kiryat Shmuel, Israel; Mrs. Chana Shachar, Mrs. Ariella Tamari, both of Tzfat, Israel; Mrs. Devorah Shmotkin (wife of R' Mendel) - Glendale, WI; Mrs. Chedva Federman - Milwaukee, WI; Ms. Chava Feiga Shagalov - Tzfas, Israel; Ms. Henya Helman - Emanuel, Israel; and grandchildren.

His daughter, Mrs. Nava Penina Oirechman, a Shlucha in Israel's Krayot area, passed away in 5768.

Baruch dayan haemes.

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Opinions and Comments
Bd'e - his neshama should have many aliyahs
(7/14/2013 12:13:11 AM)
May the his legacy live in his ways!
(7/14/2013 12:18:58 AM)
boruch dayan hoemes
(7/14/2013 4:31:47 PM)
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