Walking down the streets of Yerushalayim today is nothing less than a miracle. Each day, as I breathe in the Yerushalayim air, take in the myriad of Jewish faces on the street, and watch the Egged busses hurtle past the Israel Center, I thank Hashem for the miracle of Yerushalayim. It is here, in this holy city, that we feel the Shechina, where sacrifices of old meet today’s selfless acts of Messirut Nefesh and Kiddush Hashem. Yerushalayim is the center of the land of Israel and the heart of the Jewish people. It is here that our prayers and passions are translated into action – a place where we call out to Hashem and reach out to our fellow Jew.
At the Israel Center, a place of Torah, tefilla and achdut, the pulse of Yerushalayim makes itself felt in every shiur, every outreach program, and every dream. Thirty years ago, George and Ilse Falk envisioned a “home away from home” for young people learning in Israel for the year. The Israel Center was born out of their vision and continued to grow and evolve from that day on. Seymor J. Abrams took the dream to new heights, and others along the way added new insight and new scope to the center’s mission. At its inception, the OU created a center in response to the needs of Yeshiva students in Israel. Now, the Israel Center, in the heart of Yerushalayim, runs a full gamut of educational projects designed to strengthen Israeli society has a whole, both morally and spiritually.
It is my privilege to work together with the talented and committed individuals and organizations who tirelessly give of their time and resources to the Israel Center’s programs. These extraordinary people enable a traumatized child in Sderot to lead a normal life, a soldier to return to his roots, a “street kid” to engage in chessed, and a young couple – graduates of our program for “kids at risk” – to build a traditional Jewish home.
The success stories are endless. The amount of Torah that pours out of the Israel Center through Torah Tidbits, weekly shiurim, and outreach programs cannot be measured.
We could not have accomplished all this without your support. Thank you – and my thanks to all my partners and colleagues, to all those who work hard to ensure that the Israel Center continues to live up to the dreams we dream for Yerushalayim, for Israel and for Klal Yisrael.
May we see OU Israel go Michayil el Chayil.
Sheyibaneh Yerushalayim Bimheira Beyameinu.