Israel File: United in Israel, United With Israel


Israel File: United in Israel, United With Israel

Chabad representative helps a soldier lay tefillin

by B. Olidort - LUBAVITCH HEADQUARTERS, NY

July 17, 2006

Israel is a country at war, but the determination among all of its normally quibbling factions to end its vulnerability to terror makes it a country now dominated by a prevailing unity.

It's a war that is making demands of everyone'"children, families, and business people. In northern Israel the rockets raining down in the heart of residential areas are constant, but despite the disruption to normal life and the casualties Israelis have taken, support for this fight against terror is strong.

Chabad-Lubavitch, with its hundreds of Shluchim and centers Israel-wide, has been especially active in demonstrating its support for Israel's defense forces and for the affected population. The multi-faceted aid emanating from Chabad is intended to bolster Israelis in terms spiritual, material and emotional.

Colel Chabad, one of the oldest social service organizations in Israel, has been providing thousands of meals to residents in affected areas, both through its soup kitchens and home deliveries. Its soup kitchen, Eshel Binyamin in Safed, has expanded its services, serving 1,000 warm meals daily to senior citizens, now in bomb shelters. This in addition to its normal services to the needy and elderly.

With its outstanding record for providing all means of support to survivors of terror and their families, Chabad of Israel's Terror Victims Program has stepped up its activities. Rabbi Menachem Kutner, director of the program, has been maintaining close contact with families of fallen soldiers. It is also fielding new traumas, becoming an indispensable pillar of strength to families crushed under the strain of the crisis. After a mother and her five children were wounded by a Katyusah that hit their Safed home, Chabad's TVP has been at the hospital, bringing comfort and healing to the traumatized children and their parents.

When the Haifa train station was hit by a rocket, transit authorities contacted Rabbi Menachem Mendel Wilhelm, the Chabad representative to Egged, Israel's leading public transport operator, and asked him to join an emergency meeting where he led in the recital of the Psalms. At the bomb site in Haifa, Rabbi Wilhelm helped the grieving with funeral arrangements for those killed, and reached out to survivors.

In keeping with a longstanding precedent set by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of blessed memory, Chabad-Lubavitch representatives around the world are calling for intensified spiritual activity to sustain Israel and its defense forces. The images of Chabad Shluchim at army bases and IDF posts, wrapping tefillin with soldiers and sharing vital encouragement are familiar. In the U.S. from coast to coast, in Australia, Europe, South Africa and beyond, Jewish communities and individuals are joining Chabad initiatives to get themselves and their children registered for a letter in the Torah scroll, to focus on disseminating the mitzvah of mezuzah, tefillin, Shabbat candles and charity.

'At such crucial times the Rebbe exhorted the people to increase their Torah study, recite special prayers or Psalms, and contribute to charitable purposes,' says Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, Chairman of the Lubavitch educational and social services division.

'The world Jewish community has an opportunity to express solidarity with Israel's soldiers who are fighting in defense of the Jewish people. Diaspora Jews want to participate in this cause and everyone is empowered to do so through Torah study, prayer and the mitzvah of tzedaka.'

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