JNF Rabbinic Solidarity Mission
This is awesome! The RCA and the IRF are co-sponsoring, working together for (as far as I know) the first time ever [and hopefully it won't be the last time]! Also, there are Non-Orthodox shuls sponsoring this solidarity trip of Orthodox rabbis! Look at the unity! Hopefully this Solidarity Mission to Israel will help create more solidarity among ‘Am Yisra’el as a whole, too.
It was also leaked to me that "Joe the Plumber" was asked to meet them in Israel and report on the mission... it was not leaked to me, however, whether he said ‘yes’. Just have to wait and see.
Update: They've got their own BLOG, too!
*For Immediate Release*
Jewish National Fund
Rabbinic Solidarity Mission Leaves for Israel
(New York) January 12, 2009 — As the world watches the People of Israel endure the hardships and anxiety of war, 19 Orthodox Rabbis from all over North America along with several lay leaders will lift off to study Torah with their brethren in the Yeshivah of Sderot adjacent to the Gaza Strip. Ten more American Rabbinic colleagues and 20 Israeli Tzohar Rabbis will join the group on the ground in Israel. Together, in addition to Sderot, they will be visiting Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva in Israel’s Negev region, and Jerusalem. They will visit wounded solders, bring clothing and supplies to school children, comfort grieving families and meet with Israeli political representatives.
According to the mission’s participants their aim is, “To comfort those who have put their lives on the line for the Jewish people and to show that American rabbis and Diaspora Jewry, though far from the difficulties of war, stand in solidarity with the Jewish nation and its defense forces, appreciate their sacrifices on all our behalf's, and pray for peace together with them.”
Due to the limited time rabbis have to be away from their congregations, especially on the Sabbath, the group will only be in Israel for two days, returning by the coming Sabbath to be together with their congregations and report on what they have seen and experienced.
The mission is sponsored by the Jewish National Fund and partnered with Rabbanei Tzohar of Israel. The Beer Sheva portion is sponsored by the Goodman Family Foundation.
The mission is co-sponsored by the Rabbinical Council of America, the International Rabbinic Fellowship, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Hadassah, Chicago Israel Philanthropic Fund, Rabbi Josh Lookstein, The William and Sarah Siegel Foundation, Robert M. Beren Academy of Houston, Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation (Chicago), United Orthodox Synagogue of Houston, Temple Sholom of Chicago, East Hill Synagogue (Englewood, NJ), Congregation Beth Yeshurun of Houston, Susan and Max Reichenthal, Anonymous for Jerusalem