20th Anniversary Sderot Dinner Gala

By Austin Rybstein

I was privileged to attend the 20th Anniversary Sderot Dinner-Gala on Wednesday night, April 13, 2016 at Terrace on the Park in Queens, New York.  The residents of Sderot, the Hesder Yeshiva are in the vanguard of Eretz Yisroel.  They are our protection and pay a high price to ensure the safety and security of the State of Israel.  Sderot symbolizes our connection with Israeli Jews who are besieged by terror.  Sderot, just a half mile from Gaza, is on the receiving end of a barrage of rockets from Gaza.  In July of 2014, terrorists dressed as Israeli  soldiers came out of terror tunnels to wreak havoc on the community. Therefore, Sderot and its Hesder Yeshiva are a much worthy cause to support.

A crowd of over 400 people came out to show their support.  Rabbi Dovid Fendel, the MC for the evening, and Rosh Yeshiva of Hesder Yeshiva is a selfless man.  He spoke on how the Yeshiva trains the Hesder boys for public speaking to get the Sderot message out.  “Move on” are the most powerful words for the education of the Hesder boys.  In times of danger with rockets falling, the students remained in the city to help the residents. A wedding which was postponed was put back on track.

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Professor Alan Dershowitz, Emeritus, Harvard University spoke eloquently of his efforts to combat the BDS movement and the Goldstone report, in which he was successful.  “Sderot is a symbol of Jewish resistance,” he asserted.  “We will not be chased away.”  The residents of Sderot are resilient even in the light of terror tunnels built near schools and a kindergarten.  Professor Dershowitz said that every presidential candidate should go to Israel to understand how its people are forced to live under the barrage of rockets and terror attacks.  But the Jews of Sderot never stop learning, like during the Shoah and previous exiles, no matter how grievous it is outside.  And more people are even moving into Sderot.

Professor Dershowitz remarked that regardless of the BDS attacks no country has a better record on human rights and democracy than Israel.  We are confronted with terrorism and our enemies do not want us to use disproportionate force or really any force at all to subdue it.  Let them not judge.  He also acknowledged that he is a liberal Democrat speaking to a conservative audience and that he uses his position to convince Democrats to suupport Israel.  All in all, Professor Dershowitz “gets it” and is a true supporter and friend of the Jewish people and Israel.

This was truly a beautiful event.  The Guests of Honor, Rebbetzin Mechi (Friedwitzer) Fendel, Rabbi Moshe and Feige Friedwitzer and Mr. and Mrs. Eddie Izso were truly deserving of the honor bestowed upon them.  The same shall be said for Ms. Susan Brent Millner who was bestowed with the Israel Activist Award.

Let’s also commend Mr. Chaim Leibtag for organizing this special night.  Let’s do it all over again, G-d Willing, next year.

The dinner will not be complete without a shout-out and kudos to Mr. Judah Rhine for all his hard work on behalf of the community of Sderot and for residing over this successful event as Dinner Chairman.  Let us all remember that because of all the people of Sderot there is an Israel for all of us.

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New York Jewish Guide

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