By Yossi Baumol
The beautiful photomontage on the invitation to S’derot’s Solidarity Celebration, scheduled to take place November 19 at the Meadowlands Hilton, tells the moving story of this past summer. From the tragedy of three noble families that ignited a wave of Jewish love and solidarity throughout the world, the attacks on Israel, the solidarity missions, the great work of the IDF, the pizza, the food, the service of the S’derot hesder yeshiva to both the community and the IDF, and finally the return to the routine of Torah study spreading light and hope, symbolized by the yeshiva’s famous Kassam-rocket menorah.
Can we truly return to our daily routines?
Can we ignore the fact that every Kassam rocket is inscribed with the words “Al Quds,” signifying that while they were shooting at S’derot, they are really aiming for Yerushalayim—where the violence continues? Can we ignore the very real threat of the renewal of rocket fire in the S’derot area? Can we ignore the latest ugly expression of the present American administration’s attitude towards Israel?
Most of all, can any one of us really forget the awesome feeling of unity and resolve we all felt this past summer? Who can forget the many things that Israel’s largest hesder yeshiva, headed by Rabbi Duv Fendel, was privileged to do for the community? These are a few of the things the yeshiva did:
• Hosted a 600-member special-forces battalion, whose soldiers dormed and ate with the students.
• Served as a central depot for receiving and distributing toiletries, snacks, and supplies for soldiers throughout the area, delivered via our network of hundreds of students serving in the IDF.
• Held weddings, day camps, and senior-citizen programs on our armored campus.
• Served in the first-response teams and ran the volunteer control center.
• Shopped and ran errands for the elderly and infirm.
And who can forget . . .
• The unbelievable events experienced by the many solidarity missions of those who left the U.S. to stand with S’derot under attack?
• The sefer Torah donated by Simon Jacob and Joe Rozehzadeh of West Orange, New Jersey, together with JM in the AM host Nachum Segal, which was danced into the S’derot’s Ethiopian Synagogue while the rockets fell all around?
• The awesome Shabbat in S’derot with 50 members of the OU mission, including Woodmere residents Robby and Helen Rothenberg and Louise and Naomi Kramer, hundreds of soldiers, and hundreds of students all dancing with two soldiers who came to battle straight from their weddings?
• The carloads of pizza, underwear, and other supplies (including even some iPads) brought to the Iron Dome stations and other IDF units on the front line by so many groups, including one headed by veteran solidarity mission leader Rabbi Steven Pruzansky from Teaneck, New Jersey?
• The cards and letters from Jewish American servicemen stationed around the world who were brought to IDF soldiers by the “KosherTroops” mission led by Monsey residents Sara and Shlomo Fuerst, Rebbetzin Rivkah Senter, and her daughter Tamara Gluck?
• The Emunah mission from New Jersey whose members had to dive for cover on the roof of the hesder yeshiva?
• The solemn yet inspiring visits to our wounded IDF soldiers in Soroka Hospital with Rabbi Duv Fendel?
• The shivah call made to the Tregerman family in their protected room during the last few hours before the final cease-fire, with incessant rocket and mortar fire raining down on the area?
We don’t intend to forget those who stood with us. We insist on hallowing the unity and solidarity of this past summer. Join us for an unforgettable and inspirational evening as Jews from different walks of life stand with their fellow brothers and sisters who are “living on the edge.” Stand with us—not out of pity, but in celebration of our joint devotion and resolve to be united as one.
You won’t want to miss this—it’s a family reunion!
(For more information about the event, see the back cover of this week’s issue or visit www.sderot.org/english.)