Fast well and meaningfully from Eli and the UKA and enjoy the #kosher food after we all hear only good news!
Having returned from the OU Solidarity Mission to Israel, I wanted to share a few brief highlights and relay to you the work that has been funded directly by the OU Israel Emergency Fund. or email firstname.lastname@example.org thanks!
On Friday night in Sderot I experienced the most meaningful Friday night davening that I ever had. Over 500 officers and soldiers davened, slept and ate at the Yeshivat Hesder Sderot. To see guys davening for the first Friday night of their life and dressed in all types of gear was incredible. They were welcomed not only by the yeshiva but by all of Sderot with open arms.
We talked for hours with counterintelligence soldiers and officers of combat units, where morale was extremely high. Israeli soldiers were leaving hospitals without permission to get back to their comrades in Gaza. The IDF had to post guards at the hospitals to prevent this. There is an extremely united sense of purpose.
Before the ceasefire on Shabbos morning, Israel was bombing Beit Hanoun and Khan Yunis all Friday night. The sound of cannon fire, F-16s and other Israeli weapons didn’t stop all night. You couldn’t sleep; needless to say, war isn’t the way it’s portrayed in the movies. We were about a kilometer from the border so we were watching buildings that had explosives in them explode, and burst out in black smoke that filled the sky.
For 2,000 years we have only been on the receiving end of implements of war and in our lifetime we have been blessed with the means of being able to defend ourselves, and not have to be slaughtered, but able to respond with force.
I had lunch with the new mayor of Sderot and his family in their home. He is a former executive of the Hesder Yeshiva and facilitated the OU expansion in town. He is a capable leader who has found many funding partners for municipal projects. We counted six cranes from the view out of our dormitory room and he shared that 3,000 apartments and condos are under construction. There is a real sense of purpose and unity in the country.
Now a brief update on what OU Israel has been providing for those in the south of Israel.
As most of you know, the OU has been working with the adolescent populations in these communities for over a decade. We have daily and weekly programs, clubs, and operations in multiple neighborhoods of the communities you will read about below. During Operation Cast Lead, we provided counseling services for many thousands of students throughout the south—4,000 in Sderot alone.
We are working with a number of neighborhoods in Ofakim, Sderot, Dimona, Yerucham, Kiryat Malachi and Kiryat Gat, taking a significant number of kids (younger adolescents as well as high school students) out of these communities and bringing them for multiple day retreats to the Northern part of the country, which is out of Gazan rocket range.
Over the course of these retreats, the kids are not only being mentored by their advisors, but as well, we have psychologists and trauma therapists working with them, as well as quality rabbeim running sessions for them.
We are sending teams of psychological post-trauma professionals into families’ apartments for home visits, doing individual and family therapy. Additionally, we have them run group sessions in the bomb shelters throughout these cities and neighborhoods along with our staff who are providing activities, prizes, gifts, etc.
I could go on, but the people, the soldiers and the combat units we met saw that the Jewish world cares and is behind them. They were really grateful, though not as grateful as we are to them.
Please G-d, the trauma, terror, and fear will subside in the lives of these families and OU Israel’s activities can continue in times of peace.
Rabbi Steven Weil
Senior Managing Director
Donate to the OU Israel Emergency Fund or email email@example.com thanks!
- Eli PmusicGot my account back B’H see above how the flow returns Midnightrabbi inspires , but im not going to keep this anti Israel pic they posted and hope they didn’t bother any of my contacts and friends.We should share only good news!Going to pray and get ready for Moshiach in Jerusalem b’H, but in the meanwhile need some therapy after all this trauma, sirens blared this week and we gave parcels to the soldiers which we can hear the booms from our home in the holy land!
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