A Fellowship staff member in Israel wrote to tell us about a wonderful event that happened earlier this week.
On Wednesday, 146 olim (immigrants) who arrived in Israel on Fellowship Freedom Flights were taken to the Western Wall as the culmination of their Fellowship Absorption Seminar.
Upon their arrival, they were brought to a private area at the rear of the Western Wall Plaza, where they were greeted on behalf of Rabbi Eckstein by Rabbi Moshe Lefkowitz, director general of Afikim, The Fellowship's partner organization. Rabbi Lefkowitz gave a beautiful, moving address welcoming the new immigrants to Israel. We’ve printed a portion of his address below:
"Welcome to the Holy Land. Welcome to Israel. Welcome to the Holy City of Jerusalem. Welcome to the Temple Mount – the last remnant of the Temple, the Western Wall – the place to which all Jews always dream of returning in the holy city of Jerusalem. Every day we pray 'And to Jerusalem, Your city, may You return in compassion, and may You rest within it, as You have.’
“I'm so excited to see you here. Such nice and beautiful people. Such sweet children. I'm certain that just as I'm excited, you're also bringing lots of joy to God in heaven. I'm certain they're excited and the gates of heaven are opening because of your determination, your aliyah, your love, and your vigor. I'm really happy to see you here.
“Today I'm representing my friend, who is also my rabbi – I love him very much – Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, the president of The Fellowship. I see his great work which he does with such love, to bring you On Wings of Eagles as it's written in the Prophets. I want to bless and welcome you on his behalf, and to wish him a lot of good years and a lot of strength to continue to excel and to bring all the Jews to Israel.
“We're standing near the last remnant of the holy mount of the Temple which was destroyed – everybody knows why it was destroyed – it was destroyed because of unjustified hatred. In a place where there's no love, the Temple can't be present. You're building the Temple with the charm of love and by coming to Israel. Everyone who comes to Israel is like another stone of the Temple when everyone is here together. If we love one another, then we'll come here to dance and sing in the Temple speedily and in our day.”
The group then went on to sing together Psalm 126, which begins with the unforgettable words, “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed.” Thank you for helping these Jewish immigrants – and so many others – realize their dreams of living in their biblical homeland, and for making moments like this possible!