Rav Avichai Rontzki at Rambam
Rav Avichai Rontzki at Rambam
Rav Avichai Rontzki at Rambam

Rambam Mesivta has always been in the forefront of providing its students with the knowledge and information necessary to combat the ever-growing trend of anti-Israel sentiment and propaganda in the media and the world at large.

The driving force behind this program has been Rambam’s principal, Rabbi Yotav Eliach, an expert in religious Zionism and Israel advocacy. Coupled with his course in Zionism, Rambam’s Annual Mitnadvim Program of students volunteering on Israeli army bases during winter break, and assemblies with members of the Knesset, knowing and feeling what concerns Jews in Israel is a concern for Rambam students alike.

It is for this reason that when tragedy struck in Har Nof last year, Rambam students spearheaded a fundraising drive that raised significant money for the families of the victims of terror.

This past Friday, students had the opportunity to hear from Rav Avichai Rontzki, the former chief rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces. Speaking in Hebrew, Rav Rontzki mentioned that he was not religious when he entered the army. “I vividly recall the march our group took from the Suez Canal to what is identified as Har Sinai. We climbed to the top of the mountain and there we were Jews, thousands of years later standing on the same mountain as the man who made Jewish history and forged us into a nation. All of us were overcome by a strong feeling that we literally were one people united with one heart and one mission–to protect and defend our people, our heritage, and our land. This inspired me to become religious,” said Rav Rontzki.

Rav Rontzki spoke about the challenges and issues he had to confront during his tenure as chief rabbi more recently as a volunteer during last summer’s war against Hamas. He said that on many occasions battalion commanders who are not religious would read verses from the Torah that would instruct and inspire troops before they went out to battle.

The message was clear to the talmidim of Rambam: Israel is “am echad b’lev echad.”


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