National Rabbinic Solidarity Mission Leaves for Israel Next Week
Contact: Jodi Bodner • JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221 • firstname.lastname@example.org
January 8, 2009 — More than 20 rabbis from across the U.S. are going to Israel on Monday, January 12, 2009, to give support and strength to their brethren in southern Israel.
The group of mostly Modern Orthodox rabbis will visit Ashkelon and Be’er Sheva in Israel’s Negev region, meet with wounded solders recovering in hospitals, speak to Israeli politicians, visit evacuees from Gaza who are rebuilding their lives in new communities in the Negev after the 2005 withdrawal, check out Israel's largest indoor secure recreation center being built for the people of Sderot and surrounding communities, study Torah with their colleagues in Sderot’s Yeshivat Hesder, and sleep in the yeshiva’s missile-proof dorm.
“Our aim,” said Rabbi Asher Lopatin of Chicago’s Anshei Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation, “is to comfort those who have put their lives on the line for the Jewish people and to show that American rabbis and Diaspora Jewry, though far from the difficulties of war, stand in solidarity with the Jewish nation and its defense forces, appreciate their sacrifices on all our behalf, and pray for peace together with them.”
Owing to limited time, the group will only be on the ground in Israel for two days. Upon their return they will report what they have seen and learned to their congregations.
“We are also making time,” said Lopatin, “to stop at the future site of Carmit, a new community being built in the northeast Negev by Jewish National Fund and its partners. Terrorist missiles will not stop our dream of building up Eretz Yisrael. I hope to be making aliyah to there in a few years, with a sizeable group, and I want to take a stand and show Hamas and our enemies that nothing will keep us away.”
The trip is sponsored by Jewish National Fund and co-sponsored by several synagogues and rabbis as well as Hadassah, The Chicago Israel Fund, and Rabbanei Tzohar in Israel.
Participants to date include: Rabbi Barry Gelman, Houston, United Orthodox Synagogue; Rabbi Asher Lopatin, Chicago, Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation; Rabbi Yonatan Cohn, Berkeley, CA, Beth Israel; Rabbi Zvi Engel, Skokie, IL, Or Torah Congregation; Rabbi Ephraim Epstein, Cherry Hill, NJ, Congregation Sons of Israel; Rabbi Joel Finkelstein, Memphis, TN, Anshei Sphard Beth El Emeth; Rabbi Marc Gitler, Denver, CO, EDOS; Rabbi Jason Herman, New York, NY; Rabbi Akiva Herzfeld, Portland, Maine; Rabbi Yamin Levy, New York, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah; Rabbi Jonathan Muskat, Oceanside, NY, Young Israel of Oceanside; Rabbi Zev Reichman, East Hill Synagogue, Englewood, NJ; Rabbi Don Seeman, Atlanta, GA, Emory University; Rabbi Hyim Shafner, St. Louis, Bais Abraham; Rabbi Adam Star, Atlanta, Young Israel of Toco Hills; Rabbi Brian Thau, Rabbi Uri Topolosky, New Orleans, Beth Israel New Orleans; Rabbi Daniel Yolkut, Richmond, VA, Keneseth Beth Israel; Mr. Brian Haimm, Englewood, NJ; Mr. Bud Levin, Los Angeles, CA: Dr. Don Kramer, Houston.
They will be joined in Israel by Rabbi David and Irene Mescheloff; Rabbi Yair Silverman, formerly of Berkeley, CA; and Rabbi Ruby Spolter, formerly of Oak Park, MI.
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