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Nirim was founded by commander of the late Navy Seals' Sergeant First Class Nir Krichman. Nir was killed in action, in 2002, during the elite unit operation against terrorists in Nablus. His commander, once himself an at-risk youth, was motivated, to create a program that elevates and empowers youth at high risk, and to name it in his memory, Nirim.
At times of crisis I would look at your photo and feel you talking to me saying “keep going, make an extra effort”
Words of Ori, a Nirim graduate, in a letter to Nir
None of the students at Nirim had the privilege to know Nir in person but his presence is felt through every step of their demanding journey back into the core of Israeli society.
Nir was killed in battle in April 2002 and since then, every year, close to National Remembrance Day, a memorial ceremony is held for him. Many people gather around his headstone, which is covered in flowers and despite the large numbers, it is an intimate, moving, significant and empowering occasion. Not only for his family and loved ones but also for the many adolescent boys and girls, from Nirim and from Hadera “Acharai” Program that were established in his name.
Ori who had a difficult childhood, was a student at Nirim Village and after his graduation served in the IDF in an elite Golani unit. He then successfully completed his studies at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
The letter that he wrote to Nir at a recent memorial service was personal and deeply moving.
Here is merely a part of what he wrote…
“…what was so special about you, Nir, was that you left your mark on this world.
Nirim is your legacy and will remain your legacy forever; you will always be a role model for all of us. I remember when I was still at Nirim, how, with every crisis or difficulty I faced, I would ask for your help, even though you weren’t around physically. I would look up to you for support; everyone knew that my regular place in the dining room was opposite your photograph; sitting there I always felt you gave me the strength to go on. At times of crisis I would look at your photograph and feel your encouragment “Go on Ori, just a little bit further”. And you were right. Despite all difficulties, and the challenging path I took; it really was a case of just a little bit further. I followed the path I know you would have wanted me to follow, and served in an elite Golani unit in the IDF. And you will not believe what a small world we live in, I recently graduated from the IDC Herzliya and one of my classmates was a friend of yours from flotilla 13.
I am sure you are proud of the path we have taken and of our continuous achievements that are all inspired by you. Nir, you are always in our hearts and know that every year you create more and more young “Nirims” that continue your legacy and your vision to become part of a high standard society. The way I see it each and every one of Nirim graduates becomes not only part of the normative society but reaches heights way beyond the norm. I’m sure that’s what you have wished for.
Nir you will stay in our hearts forever!!
We Love you and will never forget you,
And on a personal note, thank you. I am the person that I am today thanks to you.
Love, Ori class of 2007”
“At times I am so moved to see the journey they have made. When I meet Ori and other graduates I realize just how far they have come” says Hadas Krichman, Nir’s mother, in a personal conversation the day after Nir’s memorial ceremony. “More I often asked myself how can it be that such an enormous venture is born after Nir’s death. At the celebration of Nirim’s 7th birthday Hadas took part in a special encounter in the village between present day Nirim students and graduates. “It is moving for me to listen to you all, she said but you should know that Nir was no idol or legend; he was a big joker. Partying with his friends and having a good time often took far more of his attention than his school work, but despite his famous smile that you spoke of and his joy of life, he really made a major effort when he wanted to enlist into the IDF elite navy seal unit. Despite her loss and the terrible daily pain Hadas is a radiant, active, warm and open hearted person. “There are just so many things I didn’t know about Nir. He was our middle child, a joker, as I told the students. Our home was always full of his friends, loads of activity around him and the kitchen was always the center”, she says smiling. “His relationship with his father, Pneil was different. They would have long talks, they would take the old jeep and go into the countryside for long treks. Many times Nir would give up spending time with his friends to be with his father. I think that only after he was killed and I heard from his officers and friends in the navy seal or even from his teachers and schools friends speaking about him, I understood what a serious and responsible person he really was. What influence his words and actions had on his surroundings. How his strength was much more than physical and now, his legacy continues, at Nirim”