MUTUAL CHIZUK: NCSYers IN ISRAEL AND NOAM SHALIT SHARE AN EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE PRAYING FOR GILAD
In an act reminiscent of “Chazak, chazak,v’nischazek,”(Be strong, be strong and let us strengthen one another), the verse said at the conclusion of each of the Five Books of the Torah, the teenage participants in the NCSY summer Kollel program in Israel, and Noam Shalit, father of Hamas captive Gilad Shalit, met and fortified each other’s resolve to do everything possible to secure the release of the young soldier.
On his way to Jerusalem, Mr. Shalit stopped off at Bet Meir, a small moshav 20 minutes outside of Jerusalem where Kollel is headquartered on the campus of Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim. There he was enthusiastically greeted by the young men, grades 9-12, who are combining studying with recreation and touring during the summer. “The NCSY Kollel boys gathered on the side of the road to give chizuk (strength) to Noam Shalit. He got out of his car and inspired all of the teens to increase their tefillot (prayers) for Gilad,” commented Rabbi Steven Burg, International Director of NCSY.
According to Rabbi Moshe Benovitz, Director of the Kollel program, the boys were emotionally overwhelmed by the experience. For example, Arie Hizkya of Boca Raton, FL, said, “We’ve heard so much about Gilad Shalit over the past few years and we’ve participated in various programs in support of his release. But standing next to Gilad’s father and hearing him speak makes the whole situation so much more real and personal. I feel like there is a connection now that wasn’t there before.”
Ben Auerbach of Lincolnwood, IL, declared, “I was inspired by his incredible strength and poise. After four years of unimaginable hardship, he stood before us with an unwavering commitment to his son.”