Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



In the Merit of Eyal, Gil-Ad, and Naftali Hy”d

Shira Yehudit Djalilmand

“If programs like Kesher Yehudi were operating in secondary schools, there would be far fewer problems in Israeli society today.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

shiur

no caption.

This coming month marks the second yahrtzeit of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-Ad Shaer, and Naftali Fraenkel Hy”d, the three teens who were murdered in cold blood by Palestinian terrorists. But aside from the painful memories that their yahrtzeit brings, their parents made sure to bring some light into the world in their merit.

Caption text

The Jerusalem Unity Prize, established in honor of the three boys, will this year be awarded to Kesher Yehudi, a nonprofit organization dedicated to drawing different sectors of Am Yisrael closer together. The award, which is accompanied by a 100,000 NIS prize, will be awarded to the organization’s founder, Tzila Schneider, in a ceremony at the president’s house on June 1.

Kesher Yehudi was founded in 2009 by Mrs. Schneider, a 48-year-old religious mother of 11 who saw the need to bring secular and religious Jews closer together.

Yermiyahu Rock and Ron Peleg are a perfect example of what Kesher Yehudi does. Rabbi Rock, from Beitar, is an avreich learning in the kollel of Yeshivat Aish HaTorah, while Ron, 19, is enrolled in Nachshon Pre-Military Academy at Kibbutz Shoval in the Negev. The pair began learning together last Succos as part of the Mechinah Program, which gives students attending pre-military academies an injection of Jewish learning and assigns each student a personal chavrusa. Since then they have developed a close relationship. They meet regularly to learn, stay in touch by telephone, and have visited each other on their “home ground.”

“I’m frum from birth and didn’t have much contact with secular Jews,” explains Rabbi Rock. “I was shocked to see how little they knew about Judaism — they have been taught almost nothing. But now I see that they are just normal, good people, and they really want to know more.”

Ron is equally enthusiastic about the experience. “It’s totally changed the way I think,” he says. “Yermi and I discuss controversial issues in the news, like chareidi army service, and, although I don’t necessarily agree, now I understand why chareidim feel the way they do.”

He says if programs like Kesher Yehudi were operating in secondary schools, there would be far fewer problems in Israeli society today.

Aside from the Mechinah chavrusa learning program, Kesher Yehudi runs various other initiatives including arranging Shabbos hosting for secular guests in chareidi neighborhoods, and shabbatons at hotels for secular and religious guests.

The Neighborhood Program, launched to bring about closer relations between the religious and secular residents of mixed neighborhoods, now operates in Kiryat Yovel, Nachlaot, and Gilo. And, Tzila Schneider told Mishpacha, Kesher Yehudi is now planning its latest project, Chareidim L’Avodah, in which chareidi and secular work colleagues will learn together.

“We have to remember that the Torah wasn’t given in Meah Shearim or Bnei Brak, but at Har Sinai,” Tzila says. “At Har Sinai, Am Yisrael were as one. I’m trying with Kesher Yehudi to bring Am Yisrael back to that state. And the Torah is the glue that brings us together.”

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"