Born a hero: A conversation with the parents of fallen IDF Sgt. Rose Lubin

Sgt. Rose Ida Lubin, a Dunwoody native and member of the Israeli Defense Forces, was killed Monday morning during a knife attack in Jerusalem. Photo: Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

Credit: Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

Credit: Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

Sgt. Rose Lubin, 20, died Nov. 6 while guarding one of the most holy sites in the world. But first, she lived.

A 2021 graduate of Dunwoody High School, Rose was a poet, playwright, illustrator, musician, singer, and dancer. She was a high school wrestler, cheerleader, and lover of horses. She graduated at the top of her training class in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), becoming a certified fitness instructor to help other soldiers meet rigorous physical requirements. Most recently, she was studying Hebrew and training to become a commander in the IDF.

As a guard at the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem’s Old City, Rose protected Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

“It was the job of a hero,” her father David Lubin said.

Rose Lubin was a prolific writer and kept years of journals (Photo Courtesy of the Lubin family)

Credit: Lubin family

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Credit: Lubin family

To serve in the IDF as a non-Israeli citizen, women under 21 and men under 24 must be Jewish or married to a Jewish person and make aliyah (become a resident of Israel). The IDF requires an 18-month commitment.

To hear divorced parents David Lubin and Robin Halpern Lubin tell the story of Rose is to marvel at Rose’s expressive and creative spirit, passion for Israel, and love of humanity. Both parents referred to Rose as “humble,” and as someone who never gossiped.

“She [had] these opposing qualities throughout her whole life,” said Robin. “She’s feminine and beautiful like a ballet dancer. But then she’s a soldier and a fighter and stands up for the weak. She’s religious but she’s diverse and open.”

“She didn’t judge people,” David said.

A life lived with meaning

Rose was a part of the Israel border police unit, Magav, which requires an extensive tryout followed by six months of training to learn infantry, weaponry, camouflage, shooting, krav maga, live fire battle drills, war history, and more.

Rose could have chosen to be stationed anywhere in Israel, David said.

“She chose to be in Jerusalem. And not only did she want to be in Jerusalem, she wanted to be in the Old City. And not even in the Old City. She wanted to guard the Muslim quarter, which in talking to police officers from around the world, is the hardest place in the world to be a police officer,” he added.

Rose fell in love with Israel when her grandfather took her on a trip at age four, and she immediately asked to return. By age eight, Rose was talking about moving to Israel. David and Robin weren’t surprised when Rose made aliyah and joined the IDF. They were supportive.

Five-year-old Rose Lubin at the Western Wall in Jerusalem (Photo Courtesy of the Lubin family)

Credit: Lubin family

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Credit: Lubin family

Both sides of the family have been in the armed forces in the U.S. and Israel.

Robin told Rose: “You could die, you could give your life. You have so much that you’ve already done, and we need you here. We need people like you in this world to balance out everything.” But Rose, who had planned to get married and have seven children, said, “Mom, if not me, it will be someone else.”

Rose’s bravery didn’t make it easier for her parents.

Oct. 7, 2023

A so-called lone soldier, Rose was staying with her host family on Kibbutz Sa’ad for Shabbat on Oct. 7 when Hamas attacked southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. Rose was part of a team of soldiers and residents who were able to repel the terrorists at the gates of Sa’ad. Everybody on the kibbutz survived.

The days after Oct. 7 were traumatic, David said.

“Robin and I had prepared ourselves mentally for what her duty was … Oct. 7, though, was a war zone where bullets were flying. For about two weeks after that, I was messed up. I was beaten down. I didn’t know how to feel. There was a level of stress that I’ve never felt before, and it was horrible,” David recalled.

Rose protected her mother from the graphic details. “On Oct. 7, I knew she was going to guard the gate [of the kibbutz]. I knew there were rockets being fired way before America knew,” Robin said. “She was calling to say, ‘Goodbye, I love you,’ and potentially that she would never talk to me again. However, I didn’t quite know that. She sort of protected me from that fear becoming a reality.”

Rose was a protector until the end.

“She was born a hero. She didn’t become one,” her mother said.


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Credit: Rough Draft Atlanta

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Credit: Rough Draft Atlanta

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