Last week, Rambam Mesivta held its annual Veterans Day hakaras hatov assembly. Since the school’s inception in 1992, rosh mesivta of Rambam, Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman, has made it a point to have a Veterans Day Assembly every year and impress upon the students that America is indeed the land of the free, thanks to the brave. Principal of Rambam Mesivta, Rabbi Yotav Eliach, spoke about the unprecedented religious freedom and opportunities available in America and expressed his gratitude toward the brave men and women who protect the people at home.
Rabbi Eliach also played inspirational videos featuring the troops, here and abroad, who defend freedom everywhere. One of the highlights of the assembly was a surprise guest: Lieutenant Jacob Miller addressed the boys via Zoom. Almost 10 years ago, Rambam students adopted Lt. Miller’s combat unit which was stationed in a remote part of Afghanistan. Students, faculty, and parents from Rambam collected and mailed out over 300 pounds of “goodies” for Lt. Miller’s platoon based on a list he provided through Anysoldier.com. The goods also came with a framed prayer for the wellbeing of the troops in Hebrew and English.
Lt. Miller is from Iowa and, at the time, had never been to New York. Thanks to donations from Rambam students, parents, and faculty, Lt. Miller and his wife Stacy were flown out to New York; stayed at Rabbi Eliach’s house; and toured the Big Apple. When Lt. Miller came to Rambam to offer his thanks for the goods, the students put the thanks back onto him and gave him a standing ovation for his service. He was also presented with a plaque from the school, thanking him for his sacrifice and service.
Lt. Miller, Zooming in from his home in Iowa, now with three kids, once again thanked Rambam for sending the goods and explained just how much it meant to him and his unit to know there were people back home who were thinking of them.
The assembly concluded with Rabbi Eliach once again renewing Rambam’s pledge to support our troops by adopting another unit overseas. With the help of the Rambam Chesed Committee, under the leadership of senior Joseph Waide and Junior Zachary Sicklick, Rambam is adopting a U.S. Air Force unit stationed in Iraq. The troops are in need of trail mix, candy, granola bars, condiments, board games, and more. The students of Rambam are committed to helping these troops, thanking them, and making a Kiddush Hashem.