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Friday, April 20, 2018

The beautiful photo montage on the invitation to Sderot’s “Solidarity Celebration” on Nov. 19 at the Meadowlands Hilton tells the moving story of this past summer: from the tragedy of three noble families which 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 Sderot 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 each and every one of us truly return to his daily routine? Can we ignore the fact that every Kassam rocket is inscribed with the words “Al Quds”–signifying that while they were shooting at Sderot, 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 Sderot area? Can we ignore the latest ugly expression of the present administration’s attitude towards Israel? Most of all, can anyone of us really forget the awesome feeling of unity and resolve we all felt this past summer?

Who can forget the many things the Sderot Hesder Yeshiva was privileged to do for the community?

• Hosting a 600-strong Special Forces Battalion whose soldiers dormed and ate with our students;

• Serving as a central depot for receiving and distributing toiletries, snacks and supplies to soldiers throughout the area–delivered via our network of hundreds of students serving in the IDF;

• Holding weddings, day camps and senior citizen programs on our armored campus;

• Serving in the first response teams and running the volunteer control center;

• Shopping and running errands for the elderly and infirm.

Who can forget the unbelievable events experienced by the many solidarity missions that left the U.S. to stand with Sderot 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 Sderot’s Ethiopian Synagogue while the rockets fell all around?

• The awesome Shabbat in Sderot with 50 members of the OU mission, the 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 even 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 U.S. servicemen stationed around the world 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 Emuna mission from New Jersey whose members had to dive for cover on the roof of the Hesder Yeshiva?

• The solemn yet inspiring visits to wounded IDF soldiers in Siroka Hospital?

• The shiva 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 ddge”. Stand with us–not out of pity, but in celebration of our joint devotion and resolve to be one. You won’t want to miss this; it’s a family reunion! (For more information, visit www.sderot.org/english)

By Yossi Baumol