The Rotenberg Institute for Jewish Psychology is named in memory of Boaz Yisrael Rotenberg, the youngest son of Professor Mordechai and Naomi Rotenberg. Boaz fell in the line of active duty in the Israel Defense Forces. He volunteered to serve in an elite paratroop unit, and in 1988, at the age of 18, Boaz was the first victim of the first intifada to be killed in action while his unit was stationed in Jericho.
Boaz was born in California, where his father was completing his post-doctoral studies at Berkley. The family returned to Israel when Boaz was 9 months old. He was known as an individualist who did not follow the crowd. He immersed himself in everything he undertook, and always remained true to his own principles. Boaz deeply impressed his family, friends, subordinates and army commanders with his inquisitive nature, his insatiable curiosity, his constant questioning, and his strong bond with his family. His commander described Boaz as having absolute discipline derived from his inherent humility and his infinite tolerance for his fellow soldiers.
Accordingto the Tzimtzum theory of contraction espoused by Professor Rotenberg, Boaz condensed his thoughts and feelings into the short 18 years of his life. His family chose to perpetuate his memory by establishing the Center for Jewish Psychology, where the teachings of Professor Rotenberg are studied. The 18 years that Boaz was with us are also commemorated in a garden with 18 trees in the head office of Jerusalem’s Bnei Akiva youth movement, where Boaz served as an enthusiastic and inspiring counsellor.