How the YU Israel Campus Has Responded to Operation Swords of Iron
The entire world, and certainly the entire Jewish world, has had their eyes on Israel since the outbreak of the war on Shemini Atzeret.
Despite significant confusion and anguish when the war broke out on Yom Tov, the Gruss Kollel and Yeshivat Torat Shraga (YTS), which are housed on the Yeshiva University in Israel (YUI) campus, have been doing as much as they can to aid soldiers, the displaced and anyone who has been affected by the war.
Since being called back from Bein Hazmanim early by Rosh Kollel Rabbi Dovid Miller, learning on campus has proceeded as usual, with regular shiurim and sedarim taking place. However, the situation at hand has not been ignored; Kollel fellows and their families have been involved in aiding soldiers and many others affected by the war. They have raised money and organized donations of toiletries and other essentials to those on the front. Many, including staff, have donated blood.
Further, there has been more localized chesed, with one Kollel member driving multiple hours to ensure that a YTS faculty member’s family could still have access to their car. Kollel families have also been providing laundry service for families who have been displaced from their homes in the south to Bayit Vegan, meal trains for women whose husbands were called up and grocery shopping for those who can’t leave their children or who feel uneasy leaving their homes.
Kollel members, families and YTS students have also been tying tzitzit for soldiers and have been reciting Tehillim to provide spiritual protection.
Additionally, with Har Herzl being in relatively close proximity to the Kollel, many have gone to help volunteer there or attend funerals for the fallen.
While campus attempts to mostly function as normal, the reality of war clearly affects the daily routine. Some Israel-based Kollel fellows have been called up to service, as well as friends, and children of Kollel faculty. Additionally, sedarim and shiurim have been interrupted by sirens on a number of occasions. Even so, the Gruss Kollel continues its learning even in the face of the overall threat to the country.
The acts of chesed, and the Torah and tefillah from those around the world, including those on the YUI campus, will hopefully provide physical and spiritual aid to Klal Yisrael at this time.
Zachary Beer is a rabbinical student at Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, who is spending this year at the Gruss Kollel in Jerusalem.
Photo Caption: The YU Israel Campus in Jerusalem
Photo Credit: Yeshiva University