My neighbor Avi is the kind of Israeli who has said to me, "Why would I travel anywhere in the world when I still haven't seen all of my own land?". He is an Israeli who loves Israel in that old-fashioned way. He has literally dedicated his life to his country as a career army officer.
Avi is an officer for Unit 669, which is a Search and Rescue unit. He may not have traveled for pleasure outside of Israel, but he has traveled for work to places like Kenya, Turkey and Thailand, always with a contingent of Israeli soldiers and civilians trained to help when crisis strikes.
Last night he got the call again. He left at 5 a.m. this morning for Santo Domingo. From there he will travel to Haiti, a country devastated by Wednesday's earthquake. His wife tells me he will be gone for at least two weeks, probably closer to a month. He is an expert at providing this kind of aid, as he has been doing it for years.
Shabbat begins shortly, and this week, as I light the candles I will say a prayer for the people of Haiti, for Avi and all other Israelis on this humanitarian mission and for all people who dedicate their lives to answering the call when disaster strikes.
The Orthodox Union is serving as a collection point for donations to Haiti, which will be directly forwarded to the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The JDC has already helped send an Israeli relief team of medical, search and rescue, and post-trauma counseling experts to assist survivors and will continue to assist with the help of our contributions. Your support is needed immediately. Go to www.ou.org to donate.)
May you all have a peaceful Shabbat and weekend.
8 Years and Counting
10 months ago