A group of rabbis who lead Orthodox Union – affiliated synagogues around the United States are participating in a Rabbinic Leadership Solidarity Mission to Israel that will run through Thursday, August 28. The mission is being led by Rabbi Steven Weil, OU’s senior managing director, Rabbi Avi Berman, executive director of the Seymour J. Abrams OU Israel Center in Jerusalem, and Rabbi Adir Posy, assistant director of OU West Coast and associate rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, CA. The OU Department of Community Engagement, which includes Synagogue Services, organized the rabbinic delegation.
The group spent most of Tuesday in the south of Israel where a barrage of Hamas missiles just before a declared cease fire forced them to seek shelter numerous times. Still, they completed an itinerary that included a meeting with Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safed and member of the Chief Rabbinate Council; a shiva call to the Tragerman family in S’de Avraham following the murder of 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman by a Hamas mortar shell fired from Gaza, and a visit to an Iron Dome site.
Rabbi Weil declared: “Through the efforts of our staff in Israel the Orthodox Union is supporting those who have been wounded, traumatized and impacted by Hamas. By visiting wounded soldiers and making shiva visits we will let the people of Israel know that the Jewish community in America is there for them, and that they are first and foremost in our prayers, thoughts and actions. Above all, we will express the support of the OU and American Jewry for our soldiers who risk their lives for the Jewish people.”
On Wednesday the group will distribute sweets and gifts to the soldiers of the Egoz IDF unit and to young people in the Sderot branch of Makom Balev, a program styled after NCSY, the OU’s international youth movement. They will also meet Rabbi Ariel Bareliof the Mishpat L’Am Legal Institute of Sderot’s hesder yeshiva and Alon Davide, mayor of Sderot. After dinner in Jerusalem, they will meet Miriam Peretz, mother of two IDF soldiers who fell in combat.
On Thursday the group will be meeting Ofir and Bat-Galim Sha’er, the parents of Gil-Ad Sha’er, z”l, in Talmon. They will visit the Golani brigade and meet with Rabbi Rafi Peretz, chief rabbi of the IDF, and Colonel Bentzi Gruber, vice commander (reserves) of Division 252, an armored division of 20,000 soldiers. Afterward the delegation will travel to Beersheva for a visit to Soroka Hospital.
The OU rabbinic leadership delegation includes:
- Rabbi Adir Posy, assistant director of the OU’s West Coast office and associate rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation in Beverly Hills, CA
- Rabbi Kalman Topp, senior rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation, Beverly Hills, CA
- Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, senior rabbi at the Boca Raton Synagogue and chairman of the Orthodox Union Legacy Group
- Rabbi Shaul Robinson, Lincoln Square Synagogue, New York, NY
- Rabbi Daniel Lerner, Pikesville Jewish Congregation, Baltimore, MD
- Rabbi Shaul Rappeport, Lido Beach Synagogue, Lido Beach, NY
- Rabbi Ariel Rackovsky, Irving Place Minyan, Woodmere, NY
- Rabbi Shalom Baum, Congregation Keter Torah, Teaneck, NJ
- Rabbi Josh Strulowitz, West Side Institutional Synagogue, New York, NY
- Rabbi Jeff Wohlgelernter, Congregation Adat Yeshurun, La Jolla, CA
For ongoing reports on the mission from participant Rabbi Efrem Goldberg please follow the OU on Facebook and Twitter. To donate to the OU Israel Emergency Fund, go to https://www.ou.org/israel-