By Larry Gordon –


It was a night to remember just a bit less than a year ago. After a long day traveling around the country we met up with our good friend Yossi Baumol for the not so short ride at to the city of Sderot in southern Israel.

It was a warm but windy December night, I think it was the fourth night of Chanukah. Yossi said that if we had intended to visit Sderot and if we wanted to experience something spectacular then although we were exhausted it was imperative that we join him for the trip from Jerusalem to the now famous for taking a beating city in Israel. And he was right.

We had been in Sderot several time prior during dangerous and perhaps less dangerous times. As you know the city of Sderot bore the brunt of the misguided Israeli withdrawal in the interest of peace from Gaza—specifically Gush Katif—in 2005. There are so many interesting and exciting things going on in Sderot these days it is difficult to figure how where to begin.

So let’s start with the Yeshiva of Sderot which was founded bt West Hempstead native, Rabbi Dovid Fendel and which today is the largest Hesder Yeshiva in Israel with over 70 students. Dovid Fendel’s father, Rabbi Meyer Fendel who resides in Jerusalem was the founder of the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County (HANC) and the founding rabbi of the Young Israel of West Hempstead.

Let me also add that on Monday night, November 18, the annual dinner benefitting the Yeshiva in Sderot will be taking place at the Marriott Matquis Hotel in Times Square which gives us all a very special opportunity to support this unique institution and indeed the people of Sderot.

Let me tell you why that Chanukah evening in Sderot last year was so memorable. First of all there was a very large crowd gathered. And we were all instructed to slowly ascend by stairs up five floors of the main Yeshiva building to the roof for the lighting of the Chanukah Menorah.

But this is not just any Menorah. First of all it is a giant size piece of sculpture like art work. The Menorah—each of the eight wick holders are actually torches fashioned out of the remnants of Kassam rockets that at some point over these last eight years landed in the city. It is a moving and classical example of Israeli ingenuity, that I staking instruments and objects of war and violence and turning them into articles of peace, of hope and in this case light. More in next week’s 5TJT.


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