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Rabbi Noam Takes on UJA Israel Trip in Midst of Conflict

On Oct. 30, Rabbi Noam Silverman decided to embark on a journey to Israel to offer whatever support he could to those harmed directly by the conflict. The initiative was organized by the United Jewish Appeal (UJA) and brought together twenty-nine rabbis and educators from various denominations in the New York area. 

“It was amazing to be with a group of people who were so dedicated, so inspirational, and so helpful to people in a very difficult moment,” Rabbi Silverman said.

On the trip, Rabbi Silverman met many Israelis from all backgrounds including Ron, who is the director of a community center in the North of Israel. Ron’s community in the North had been evacuated, and he was out of a job. Rather than starting a new life in a new town, Ron felt obligated to help however he could. He thus moved to the Dead Sea to help organize activities for families that had been evacuated from the Southern kibbutzim near Gaza. According to Rabbi Silverman, Ron’s story “wasn’t the most courageous, brave, or painful. But he was someone who–out of the goodness of his heart–decided to do what he could.”

Rabbi Silverman immediately noticed an obvious change in Israel: “Just seeing Israelis dealing with this kind of national sadness and trauma was very sobering.” 

However, he also noticed that Israelis did not cower in fear. Instead, they “put aside their differences and just said we’re gonna try to help in any way we can.”

Rabbi Silverman said that if there is one message to take away from this conflict, it is: “If our brothers and sisters in Israel can go about their life with a sense of optimism, hopefulness, and eagerness to help, then we also have to model that here.”

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