A bomb shelter at a Sderot playground.
A bomb shelter at a Sderot playground.

In addition to helping the family, the Bais Chabad community is sending a message to the Sderot community, expressing their support as they stand on the front lines.

The Bais Chabad community has taken part in a unique communal mitzvah around the High Holidays — helping a family, and a community, across the globe.

Of all Jewish communities in the world, few have been as challenged in recent history as the city of Sderot, Israel. Sitting one kilometer from the Gaza Strip, Sderot has been the target of thousands of rocket attacks over the last 15 years, including hundreds during this past summer’s attack on southern Israel.

Of the many families living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the years of bombardment, there is one that will be making a bar mitzvah for their son, Yehudah, this coming Simchat Torah on Sept. 28.

As the family is dealing with financial hardship, the Bais Chabad West Bloomfield community is assisting with the expenses to help cover the cost of a new set of tefillin and a bar mitzvah celebration.

This summer, Rabbi Shneur Silberberg saw different communities finding ways to show solidarity with certain Israeli communities. Silberberg reached out to a rabbi in Sderot and asked what they could do as a community to show support. 

The bar mitzvah boy and his family.
The bar mitzvah boy and his family.

“I was told of the various struggles of the family, the PTSD of the children growing up, having to run to shelters at any given moment, other reasons why this family in particular has struggled and that a nice way for the community to show support would be to assist in bringing joy to that family and city,” Silberberg said. 

Silberberg reached out to his own community and got to work. So far, it’s been a big success.

“We were able to purchase a new set of tefillin, which is about $600-$700, as well as pull together another several thousand dollars to significantly help cover the costs of the bar mitzvah,” Silberberg said.

In addition to helping the family, the Bais Chabad community is sending a message to the Sderot community, expressing their support as they stand on the front lines.

Rabbi Shneur Silberberg
Rabbi Shneur Silberberg

“The message we would like to send them is we support them in their sacrifice in living where they do, that they’re not alone in facing the challenges of bombardment and terror, and we stand in solidarity with them,” Silberberg said.

Silberberg sees significance that the day of the bar mitzvah lands on Simchat Torah, which is often considered the most festive day in the Jewish calendar.

“The fact it’s exactly that day we’re linking arms with a community across the world and joining in celebration with them, I find it to be particularly meaningful,” Silberberg said. “Because the message is that we rejoice together, we cry together and even if we are across the world from one another, and in fact never met each other, we still feel deeply connected to you and to whatever you’re going through.” 

You can still join in on this mitzvah. Donate online at baischabad.com/donate and add “Sderot Bar Mitzvah” in the notes. 

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