Racheli Frenkel is not your typical national leader. Usually, a leader develops gradually, gaining in stature and prominence with the passage of time. But occasionally, seemingly ordinary people are thrust by extraordinary circumstances onto the national stage, to be universally recognized for their leadership qualities, despite their previous anonymity. Racheli Frenkel is such a leader.
Moshe and Svetlana are both 26 and new immigrants from the former Soviet Union. They met each other in Beer Sheva and fell in love. Svetlana recently lost her mother to cancer and has no contact with her father. Moshe also lost all contact with both his parents after making Aliyah on his own. The couple wanted to marry, but had no resources to afford a traditional Jewish wedding.
|YBA students handing out free Israeli flags in Jerusalem|
This week, YBA high school students fanned out all across Israel to help bolster the resilience of Israel's citizens. They filled traffic intersections in all the major cities waving flags, dancing and singling while handing out 20,000 Israeli flags and bumper stickers saying, "Be strong and we will be strengthened" and "An eternal nation has no fear of the long road ahead."
Students volunteered their free time for these activities out of a sense of social responsibility. "Raising the flag of Israel in these times sends a message to our enemies that we are not bowing to terror," said one student, "we are never going to leave Eretz Yisrael, and we are not afraid."
"Lots of drivers sound their car horns in support; others roll down their windows and yell 'kol hakavod!' ('Good job!') and many thank us," said another participant. "That's the proof that 'Am Yisrael Chai'."
|Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail, z"l|
In 1975, at the urging of his mentor, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, of blessed memory, he founded the non-profit organization, Amishav – for the Dispersed of Israel.
Rabbi Avichail has lectured widely in Israel and abroad, published numerous articles and the Hebrew books HaOvdim B’Eretz Ashur and Shitei Yisrael, the latter of which has been translated into English and French.
In order to assist in aliya and conversion, he wrote and published the booklet Judaism (Hebrew) which has been translated into numerous languages.
Rabbi Avichail was a member of the Rabbinical Court which converted the Belmonte community in Portugal. He facilitated aliya of the BaDerej L’Yerushalayim group from Mexico and the Bnei Menashe group from Peru. He continues to assist the aliya of Bnei Menashe from northeast India (some 1,000 souls to date). Rabbi Avichail has travelled the world, from India, Burma, China, Thailand and Japan to Europe and South America, in order to research, encourage and guide the dispersed of Israel.
Rabbi Avichail was born in Jerusalem in 1932. His parents came from Lithuania and Ukraine. At 16 he was drafted by the Israel Defense Forces during the War of Independence; he completed his service with the rank of sergeant in the Nahal brigade at Kibbutz Yavne. Afterwards he joined Kibbutz Saad, where he lived and worked for five years, and then studied at Yeshivat Kerem BeYavneh and Merkaz HaRav Kook. He received his rabbinical ordination and completed a teaching certificate for Bible studies and Mishna. He has held the positions of community rabbi, students’ rabbi at the Hebrew University, and teacher of Bible and Judaism for all ages. He received the equivalent of a Doctorate in Jewish Professions for his rabbinical studies and publications.
Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail and his wife Rivka were jointly awarded the Yakir Yerushalayim prize [annual citizenship prize in Jerusalem] in 2012. They have six children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Their home was open at all times to the Bnei Menashe, new converts and all those who wish to study Judaism.
Thousands of citizens of Israel from the Bnei Menashe community will mourn this modest and saintly man, who paved the way for them to begin new lives as Jews in the state of Israel.
|Elchanan Glatt addressing crowd at |
YBA Ma'arav Shomron
Last week, over 3,000 people joined YBA in Elkana to dedicate a new campus for the YBA Ma'arav Shomron boy's yeshiva high school. The event was attended by the mayor of Elkana, Asaf Mintzer, and featured a love performance by singer Avraham Fried.
This week, the opening week of the 5776 school year, featured many other dedication ceremonies:
At the same time, in the presence of the Minister Uri Ariel and YBA officials, a new dormitory facility was being dedicated at the UBA Shirat Hayam Ulpana High School of the Arts for girls in Neve Tzuf.
Meanwhile, the YBA Sussya Yeshiva High School for Environmental Studies was not satisfied with dedicating a new dormitory last week, so it broke ground immediately afterward for the construction of an additional dormitory building there.
Finally, later in the week YBA Mateh Binyamin in Beit El also dedicated a new dormitory building for its many students in the residential track.
Elchanan Glatt: "Yeshivot Bnei Akiva has taken off on a period of unprecedented growth, expansion and excellence. We are proud of our educational path, and proud to be part of the continuing settlement movement throughout the entire Land of Israel."
Yossi Dagan, the mayor of the Shomron Regional Council welcomed the building boom and said: "Naturally, the communal and spiritual atmosphere in the Shomron is conducive for educating students toward Jewish values and connection to the Land of Israel. We congratulate YBA on this building boom, and wish all the schools much success in training our children toward excellence and Jewish values."
There are 74 educational institutions in the YBA network in Israel, including 15 in Yehuda and Shomron ensuring high quality education in Israel's heartland.
CLICK HERE to view an interactive map of YBA schools in Israel.
Yeshivot Bnei Akiva: Training Israel's Future.
|Major Benaya Rhein, z"l|
Benaya was born in 1979 and was the third out of eight children of his parents, Shimon and Chagit. He was raised in Karnei Shomron and graduated from the YBA Netiv Meir yeshiva high school in Jerusalem.
This past week the Rhein family closed a circle, when all seven of Benaya's siblings named a child after him. The first cousin to be named for Benaya was born on the day that he died in 2006, and the seventh cousin named Benaya was born just two weeks ago, on the ninth anniversary of his death.
"All our children decided on their own to name a son after Benaya; we never mentioned it or pressured them to do it," said Chagit Rhein at the Brit Milah ceremony. "We have 24 grandchildren, and it can't be taken for granted that seven of them are named Benaya. When they grow up and ask why they share the same name, we will tell them about their uncle Benaya, who was a true hero; who was taught to love Israel and who died defending our country."
From his childhood, Benaya displayed values of truth, generosity and courage. After the outstanding religious Zionist education he received and YBA Netiv Meir, it was quite natural for him to join the armored corps and to become an outstanding soldier in the training courses he took and in the duties he was given.
At the beginning of the war, Benaya was in transition between duties and had no unit to join. Nevertheless he insisted on receiving a mission, and was appointed to rescue and supply operations. During the war "Force Benaya" conducted many courageous missions and saved the lives of many soldiers. On August 12th, on the way to one more mission inside Lebanon, a missile hit his tank and all the crewmen were killed.
For their bravery, Benaya and his crewmen received the decoration of honor from the Central Command. Benaya is buried in Karnei Shomron in the land of Israel that he loved without condition or compromise.
View memorial video for Major Benaya Rhein:
|Rahavam 'Gandi' Ze'evi|
Hila Itam and Herut Yered submitted a research paper exploring the reasons why the Jordanian Legion’s officers allowed their soldiers to participate in the massacre of Jewish residents and Hagana fighters following the surrender of Kfar Etzion on the eve of Israel’s independence in 1948.
|'Gandi' with troops during 1956 Sinai Campaign|
UBA Even Shmuel was established by the Shafir Regional Council in 1979 as a residential high school to serve girls from the religious moshavim (agricultural settlements) in the northern Negev region. Today the school serves 420 students in grades 7-12, and attracts students from all over Israel due to the many awards it has earned over the years for academic excellence.
Ruchama Hazut, the ulpana’s principal, said, “It inspires pride and admiration to see our students achieve so much academically, while maintaining their humility, good nature and religious beliefs.”
UBA Segula in Kiryat Motzkin was founded in 1965 as the YBA network's third ulpana high school for girls. Today the school serves over 525 students from the Haifa region and entire northern half of Israel.
|YBA Educational Network Chairman, Rabbi Haim Drikman|
On Friday, in response to two terrible incidents that took place the day before, Rabbi Haim Drukman, the Chairman of the YBA Educational Network in Israel spoke out yet again against all forms of extremism and violence, whether against Arabs or Gay Jews.
YBA is all about teaching moderation, which is according to Rambam, 'the golden path.'
|MK Nissan Slomiansky|
|Maj. Gen. Hagai Topolinsky|
In response, Topolinsky said, "Your Hesder Yeshivot are producing high-quality individuals who are role models for the other soldiers of Zionism and Jewish values. This is a bonus for the IDF - an added value - that is unparalleled." He added, "Our major challenge in Israeli society is to bring together and unite the various sectors of our population. You have an important role to play in achieving that goal."
General Topolinsky recalled to the rabbis his personal memories of commanding Hesder soldiers in the army, "The norms of behavior, Jewish values and Zionist idealism that the Hesder yeshiva students bring with them to the army, I tell you, are the envy of the entire community, including secular Israelis. It is a pleasure to serve as their commander, and we very much appreciate them."
|WZO Chairman |
"Duvduv" was born and raised in Jerusalem and as a Paratrooper in the IDF, took part in the battles to reunify the divided city during the Six Day War. After receiving BA and MA degrees from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and serving as the Jewish Agency's emissary in France, Duvdevani was appointed the General Secretary of the World Bnei Akiva youth movement, a position he remained in for 15 years. He continued holding positions of leadership in the JNF, Jewish Agency and WZO throughout his career.
How do you define Zionism?
"Zionism is commitment - it is the feeling of responsibility that drives someone to forego his personal interests and contribute everything he can for the sake of the public interest."
What are the goals of the WZO today?
"Strengthening Jewish education in the Diaspora, particularly towards the Zionist values and teaching the Hebrew language. We also have to strengthen traditional Zionist values in Israel, such as tolerance, and social justice, so that Israel will become a light unto the nations. Finally, encouraging Aliyah. We have to convince Jews living a comfortable life in the Diaspora that Eretz Yisrael is their homeland and that living in Israel is a real possibility for them."
Are you optimistic about achieving those goals?
"As a religious Zionist, I see the founding of State of Israel as the first sign of our national redemption. But the full redemption won't come all by itself. We must help it along. If the nation of Israel remains steadfast in its quest to fulfill the Zionist mission and vision, I have no doubt that the full redemption will surely come."
|Lt. Daniela Hangal|
Lt. Daniela Hangal (22), a graduate of UBA Tzfira at Moshav Tzafaria, was the third graduate of the YBA educational network to be awarded the IDF Citation for Excellence by President Reuven Rivlin in the Yom Haatzmaut ceremony this year.
The other two were Lt. Shaked Ben-Shoshan, a graduate of UBA Segula in Kiryat Motzkin and Cpl.Ori Cohen, a graduate of YBA Hadarom in Rehovot.
Lt. Daniela Hangal has been serving in the IDF for the past three and a half years. She is a company commander in the IDF Home Front Command's Tabor Brigade - the army's emergency search and rescue unit.
"In twelfth grade, when the time came to choose between IDF service or non-military National Service, most of the girls chose National Service for religious reasons. But I always knew that I wanted to serve in the army,' said Daniela. "It was important to me to do something substantial in the army. I always imagined myself in uniform."
Substantial indeed! Lt. Daniela is the commanding officer of a combat unit made up of mainly male soldiers. "I trained these soldiers in boot camp and in their search and rescue course, and now I am their commander. I am like their Mother and Father. I have to worry about the personal problems of each of them, no matter how small. Still, I don't let my gender interfere with my duties. If any of my soldiers thought it was weird having a female company commander, they quickly learned that there is no difference at all."
Hangal's advice for other religious girls thinking about joining the army: "In the final analysis, if you have the motivation and drive to do something significant to contribute to Israel, and you love the Land of Israel, you can go far in the army. I think that I am living proof of that."
Lt. Shaked Ben-Shoshan, graduate of UBA Segula
|UBA Segula graduate,|
Lt. Shaked Ben-Shoshan
Shaked serves in the physically challenging IDF Field Intelligence Unit.
|IDF Field Intelligence soldiers in full field camouflage|
The IDF Spokesman's Office related that Shaked was chosen for the honor due to the long record of citations of excellence she has earned from her commanding officers throughout her army career. "I was surprised to be chosen," she said, "because most of the soldiers chosen had fought in last summer's Operation Protective Edge or for an exceptional act of bravery. I didn't participate in the operation, so I didn't expect to be chosen."
Kiryat Bialik Mayor Eli Dokorski called Shaked to congratulate her on being chosen and thanked her for the honor she brought to the city of Kiryat Bialik, saying that she was "an exemplary and significant product of religious Zionism, imbued with a sense of purpose and determination."
Shaked is in line to be promoted to the Deputy Commander of her unit in August. YBA and AFYBA salute you, Shaked!
|Cpl. Ori Cohen with his parents|
Read the entire article by Avi Strauss, The Commentator, April 29, 2015
"This honor belongs above all to my friends in the army and to my commanders, who accept me as an equal. They don't make any assumptions, they simply listen and help me," says Cpl. Ori Cohen, 20, who had always dreamed of serving in the IDF.
|Cpl. Ori Cohen with his parents|
|IDF Yom Hazikaron Opening Ceremony at the Kotel|
In the past 67 years since the founding of the State of Israel, 407 YBA Torah Warriors fell in the line of duty in the IDF, and 76 more YBA students and graduates were murdered in terror actions against Israeli civilians.
|Victims of||Fallen IDF|
|YBA Kfar Haroeh||6||82||88|
|YBA Yavneh, Haifa||1||43||44|
|YBA Or Etzion, Merkaz Shapira||8||35||43|
|YBA Netiv Meir, Jerusalem||2||39||41|
|YBA Nachal Yitzchak, Nechalim||8||26||34|
|YBA Givat Shmuel||-||23||23|
|YBA Yad Avraham, Netanya||3||17||20|
|YBA Pirchei Aharon, Kiryat Shmuel||1||18||19|
|Yeshivat Hesder Hagolan, Hispin||7||9||16|
|YBA Beit Shmuel, Hadera||2||13||15|
|Yeshivat Hesder Or Etzion, Kiryat Shmuel||7||8||15|
|YBA Hadarom, Rehovot
YBA Neve Herzog, Nir Galim
|YBA Hashomron, Karnei Shomron||8||4||12|
|YBA Ohel Shlomo, Beer Sheva||-||10||10|
|YBA Beit Yehuda, Kfar Maimon||2||7||9|
|Yeshivat Hesder Hakotel, Jerusalem||-||9||9|
|YBA Mateh Binyamin, Beit El||-||6||6|
|YBA Bar Yochai, Meron||2||3||5|
|UBA Tzfira, Tzafaria||5||-||5|
|Yeshivat Hesder Maale Yitzchak, Maalot||2||3||5|
|YBA TO"M, Herev Le'et||-||4||4|
|YBA Kiryat Herzog, Bnei Brak||1||3||4|
|Orot Israel College of Education||3||-||3|
|Yeshivat Hesder Neve Dekalim, Ashdod||2||1||3|
|UBA Neot Avraham, Arad||2||-||2|
|YBA Tikvat Yaakov, Sde Yaakov||-||1||1|
|YBA Aderet, Bat Yam||-||1||1|
|YBA Ner Tamid, Hashmonaim||1||-||1|
|YBA Beit Shean||-||1||1|
|UBA Amana, Kfar Saba||1||-||1|
|UBA Even Shmuel
Yeshivat Hesder Akko