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Amidst tragedy: Unity and smiles

תושבי שדרות במלון וורט
תושבי שדרות

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])

Rabbi Shmuel Tubol, who lives in France, decided that not only should there be more brotherhood among Israelis, but that Jews of the Diaspora needed to get closer to Israelis too.. Yesterday I was privileged to participate in a special Zoom presentation in which he promoted the "School Twinning Network." For more than fifteen years, schools in France have been making connections with schools in Israel, including those in the communities surrounding Gaza. For example, a school in Paris is now adopting a school in Netivot, sending packages to their Israeli brethren. The students of the two schools will study together and pray for each other. The students from France will visit Israel and, in the manner of brothers, stay in touch with their new friends. Rabbi Tubol ended the evening with these words: "Hamas does not yet know how much it is doing to unite us."

And then I came to the VERT Hotel in Jerusalem, where 200 residents of Sderot are now staying. Some of these individuals live near Sderot's main police station and saw the most difficult things that anyone could see. At the end of my speech, several of them gathered together in an impromptu situation room led by Orna Didi, a Sderot resident. She asked each person which committee they wished to join. Within a few moments, a day care committee was set up, then a youth committee, a laundry committee, and a resilience committee for those needing emotional support. Each person stated what they were good at and what they could contribute. I asked to photograph them. They agreed but after a moment they asked me to take another photo. "It's very important that you photograph us smiling," Orna said.

May we all hear only good news.



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