A solidarity trip to Israel organized by Chabad Young Professionals will see young Jewish professionals travel to Israel for a week to bring physical, spiritual, financial, and psychological support to the Israeli public who desperately need it.
When Rachel Yamin heard about the horrific events that transpired in Israel on October 7th, the news hit very close to home—literally. As a resident of Moshav Shokedah, a village situated just a few kilometers away from the Gaza border and in the heart of the area of massacre, she sat in her Upper East Side Manhattan apartment, anxious to hear about her family’s welfare. Thank G-d, they were spared, and in the aftermath of the events, they have been temporarily resettled in Neve Ilan, near Jerusalem.
As an active member of the Chabad Young Professional Community on the Upper East Side, under the leadership of Rabbi Yosef and Devorah Wilhelm, fellow community members reached out to see if she and her family were okay. And as time went on, a community-wide feeling grew stronger and louder: we need to show our support.
That support has culminated in a scheduled solidarity trip to Israel. Organized by Chabad Young Professionals International and led by the Upper East Side Chapter, this trip will see young Jewish professionals travel to Israel for the week of December 24-31 and do whatever they can to bring physical, spiritual, financial, and psychological support to the battered Israeli public who so desperately need it.
“In the beginning weeks just after that dark day, the sentiment here was ‘let’s do whatever we can to show support,” said Rabbi Wilhelm, “but as time went on, it became ever more obvious that physically going there and offering tangible support was the way to go. When family is going through a difficult time, the most important thing to do is show up. So, G-d willing, that’s what we’re going to do.”
While the dates of this trip may seem ideal for a vacation, this trip is far from that. On the itinerary is legitimate, hands-on volunteering. More specifically, each participant has been asked to personally raise $1,000 to bring with them and distribute in one of three ways: One is gifts and experiences for soldiers on active duty, another is gifts for wounded soldiers and civilians in the hospital, and a third item will be funding for programming for children in the south of Israel, or those whose fathers’ are at war, or who lost loved ones.
For the first few days of the trip, the organizers worked with the Chabad shluchim in Mazkeret Batya, Rabbi Yosef and Chemi Glitsenstein. Arrangements have been made for participants to spend the bulk of their time in the South, lending a helping hand, offering support, and most importantly, showing our brothers and sisters in Israel that we’re family: we show up during happy times, and perhaps more importantly, we’re here for you during tough times.
“These trips are critically important right now for three reasons,” explained Mr. Russ Krivor, a Community Leader at CYP Upper East Side. “First, we must show our Israeli brethren that they are not alone. Social media has been bombarding them with vitriolic ceasefire propaganda, and we must show them diaspora Jews stand with them.
Secondly, we must go and help the country in any way we can: assisting farmers with the fall harvest, delivering crucial supplies, writing Torah scrolls with soldiers, and supporting displaced families.
Third, the country’s tourism industry is reeling from a nearly unprecedented halt in visitors. Every Jew must go and support businesses in Israel at this critical time. The Rebbe always said that Israel is the safest place for a Jew.”
After spending the beginning of the week in the South, the cohort will move northward for the weekend to spend what will surely be a moving Shabbos in Neve Ilan, with Rachel’s family and other members of the Moshav currently resettled there. In constant contact with their daughter, the Yamin family conveyed the unanimous message from their Moshav residents to the U.S group: “Come! We want you to join us for whatever amount of time you can!”
“There has been a great awakening of the Jewish spirit around the world,” said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice-Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch and Chairman of CYP International. “We are seeing young Jews looking for ways to connect to their Judaism and get personally involved in helping our extended family in Eretz Yisroel. Throughout the years, the Rebbe sent Shluchim to the holy land in times of crisis. Today, this group of young Jewish leaders will bring the Rebbe’s positive messages and uplift our brothers and sisters under fire.”