Westport, Norwalk Rabbis Travel To Israel To Show Support

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Orna Stern, Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn, Larry Kleinman, Rabbi Ron Fish, standing outside the Knesset before meeting with members of Israel's parliament.
Orna Stern, Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn, Larry Kleinman, Rabbi Ron Fish, standing outside the Knesset before meeting with members of Israel's parliament. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jeremy Widerhorn
Larry Kleinman in front of a Hanukkah menorah made from Kassam rockets in Sderot.
Larry Kleinman in front of a Hanukkah menorah made from Kassam rockets in Sderot. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jeremy Wiederhorn
Orna Stern overlooking Gaza in the town of Sderot.
Orna Stern overlooking Gaza in the town of Sderot. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jeremy Wiederhorn
Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn with a child from Ashkelon whose summer camp was moved to a bomb shelter.
Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn with a child from Ashkelon whose summer camp was moved to a bomb shelter. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jeremy Wiederhorn

WESTPORT, Conn. -- At a time when the U.S. government is warning against travel to the Middle East, a group of rabbis and lay people from Norwalk and Westport are in Israel on a solidarity mission.

Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn, Larry Kleinman and Rabbi Orna Stern of Westport, and Rabbi Ron Fish of Norwalk have been visiting in Israel this week with the Rabbinical Assembly and Masorti Foundation and are scheduled to return Thursday.

“We came to support Israel, and the people whose lives have been uprooted during this difficult time," said Wiederhorn, a rabbi at The Conservative Synagogue in Westport.

The four spoke to the Daily Voice in a telephone interview from Jerusalem on Wednesday, July 23.

In their time in Israel, they have met with local community leaders and rabbis as well as Knesset leaders and yeshiva students in the south of Israel. They have paid their respects at the graves of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel, three students who were kidnapped and killed recently, and paid a shiva call to the family of Lt. Bar Rahav, who was killed in action last weekend. They also met with Fraenkel's mother.

“She was an inspiration to us. She displayed incredible appreciation and gratitude for life despite the horrible pain in her life," Wiederhorn said. “We were bracing and preparing to be a comfort to her, but instead she was a comfort to us.”

Despite hearing sirens and knowing about the possibility of attacks by Hamas, Wiederhorn, Stern and Kleinman said they haven't feared for their own safety during the mission.

“It’s a concern, but growing up in this country, it becomes a part of your life," said Stern, who grew up in Israel and still has family in Tel Aviv. She said she wanted to help her home country during its time of struggle. She has been struck by the unity among the Israeli people and the support they show for each other.

"It’s incredible. It’s very powerful to see everybody standing together, ready to help each other," Stern said.

Kleinman said he will remember a group of children they met whose summer camp had to be moved indoors to a bomb shelter. Despite the danger in the area, he said, "Over here are people who are coping and doing OK, and are going to be OK."

All expressed hope for a peaceful end to the current conflict, and for a long-term solution to hostilities in the region. Wiederhorn said that he doesn't think the Israelis feel hatred toward the Palestinians, but instead toward groups of terrorists trying to wreak havoc in the country.

“I think the people are anxious and want to move on, to live their lives normally and go to bed without being concerned about hearing sirens go off in the middle of the night," he said. “Hopefully the day will come when we won't have to come over on solidarity missions, when this area can be at peace.”

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Comments (34)

The group had our resident troll Natsgarage other user name CEO banned... She is very angry.. We are laughing hysterically at her.

NOW FOR MY PITIFUL LIFE

I am 60 years old and a complete failure
I have no J.O.B.
I played in a go nowhere garage band and they kicked me out
I am a meth head
I am a coke head
I have a wine enema fetish
My rear end leaks do to me putting things in it.
I had 2 cars repoed
My house was foreclosed
I live in the shelter
I post from the public library
I am a stupid racist
I am a racist because I am jealous that most if not all blacks are smarter than I am
I hate Obama because he has done so well for himself at such a young age
I hate Obama because I am such a failure at such an old old age.
My x-wife caught me in bed with a black dude
My x-wife kicked me to the curb because she caught me in bed with a black dude
My wee no longer woks do to my bad prostate
I tend to wet the bed when high

AS YOU CAN ALL SEE MY LIFE SUCKS AND I AM A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FAILURE.
WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ELSE JUST ASK

In your dreams, gay boy! If they let a moron like you post with 50 user names, they will let anyone post here.
Nice trice loser

I made a new word...trice I am so stupid..
FYI when drunk on the wine enema I refer to myself in the 3rd person

NOW FOR MY PITIFUL LIFE

I am 60 years old and a complete failure
I have no J.O.B.
I played in a go nowhere garage band and they kicked me out
I am a meth head
I am a coke head
I have a wine enema fetish
My rear end leaks do to me putting things in it.
I had 2 cars repoed
My house was foreclosed
I live in the shelter
I post from the public library
I am a stupid racist
I am a racist because I am jealous that most if not all blacks are smarter than I am
I hate Obama because he has done so well for himself at such a young age
I hate Obama because I am such a failure at such an old old age.
My x-wife caught me in bed with a black dude
My x-wife kicked me to the curb because she caught me in bed with a black dude
My wee no longer woks do to my bad prostate
I tend to wet the bed when high

AS YOU CAN ALL SEE MY LIFE SUCKS AND I AM A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FAILURE.
WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ELSE JUST ASK

NOW FOR MY PITIFUL LIFE

I am 60 years old and a complete failure
I have no J.O.B.
I played in a go nowhere garage band and they kicked me out
I am a meth head
I am a coke head
I have a wine enema fetish
My rear end leaks do to me putting things in it.
I had 2 cars repoed
My house was foreclosed
I live in the shelter
I post from the public library
I am a stupid racist
I am a racist because I am jealous that most if not all blacks are smarter than I am
I hate Obama because he has done so well for himself at such a young age
I hate Obama because I am such a failure at such an old old age.
My x-wife caught me in bed with a black dude
My x-wife kicked me to the curb because she caught me in bed with a black dude
My wee no longer woks do to my bad prostate
I tend to wet the bed when high

AS YOU CAN ALL SEE MY LIFE SUCKS AND I AM A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FAILURE.
WANT TO KNOW ANYTHING ELSE JUST ASK

Lets send our troll to Gaza, and let him carry around pro obama signs. Maybe that will get rid of the problem on this site?

Oh will you be leaving for Gaza troll.. Bye

yes

Will the rabbis be making a shiva call on the families of those hundreds of dead children and babies murdered by their wonderful countrymen, using American planes and bombs? Might be a nice gesture...

I sure hope that the staff at the mental ward doesn't find out that I am on the Internet

Since Obozo is such a lousy "president",maybe he can find work as a human shield in Gaza.

Shut up Greenbeani you idiot.

I am a black Muslim

The only good muslims are dead muslims. God bless Israelis.

That's a quote from the Talmud, isn't it?

Are you a Muslim

Republican filth uses children and women as shields, they are pathetic. A "right winger" is a name given to the republican criminals by the real Americans , they were mostly retards that fled and did not want to fight other wars.
The people seem to want peace, the leaders do not and need to be removed. Republican= Hatred

Right wing wacko says what

obama slave says what?

Right wing slave says what?

Hamas uses children and women as shields, they are pathetic. A "palestian" is a name given to arabs by the Russians in the 60's, they were mostly people that fled and did not want to fight other wars.
The people seem to want peace, the leaders do not and need to be removed. Hamas = Hatred

Right wing wacko says what

Figure out who owns and controls the media, and everything will fall into place for you.

Greenbeani you sound like a typical hate filled evangelical christian

Israel is the most inclusive democracy in the world. There are more than 1 million Arab Israeli's living peacefully in the country. Women and homosexuals have more rights than in any other country. To equate Israel with South Africa and Rawanda implies that Israel is an apartheid state. Which is anything from the truth. Until Arab countries in the Middle East allow Jews and Christians to live in peace with their fellow Muslims, as they do in Israel, then we can have your discussion. Jews have been living in Israel for thousands of years and they have every right to continue to live there in peace.

@samweston, you likely stopped reading at the words 'South Africa' and felt compelled to respond to the apartheid comparison often made with Israel. That is not my point and my point includes Rwanda, that has nothing to do with apartheid. Both of these countries came out of terrible situations of deep hatred and conflict, yet found a way to make things work, after terrible, violent events, accusations, etc. Before you jump to thinking you need to defend Israel no matter what is said, take a breath and learn a little bit about the approach of Nelson Mandela and Paul Kagame. Former enemies live side by side in their countries. My confidence in Kagame is not as high as Mandela but part of that is simply the time he has been in office.

@ Samweston - My hope for peace with Israelis and Palestinians rests in the success that has occurred in S. Africa and Rwanda. I believe there are many parallels. Perhaps the jury is still out, but what has occurred to date, has been fairly successful. Even among people who hated each other, were slaughtered in their beds, terrorized, etc. While it is not perfect, if the people in these countries can figure it out, with all the atrocities and hatred that existed, I actually have hope.

The difference, Debade, is that the Israeli's value life and Hamas, death. If Hamas cared about its citizens, they would allow them to leave their homes when Israel warned about the targeted strikes. The only way peace will be achieved in Israel and with the Palestinians is to find a new partner. You can't negotiate with terrorists especially those who want to see your state destroyed, as Hamas does with Israel. They will never recognize Israel's right to exist, so they will never truly be peace partners. The Fatah group has a chance, but they too, have never recognized Israel's right to exist. Until this happens, you will never see peace in that part of the world.

"Israeli's value life"? A couple of hundred slaughtered old men, women, children and infants might question that lie, if they could. The Hamas freedom fighters have killed two Israeli civilians; while bagging an impressive 32 IDF invaders, including a couple of dual loyalist "Americans", who were righteously whacked demonstrating their true loyalties.

Greenbeani shut up you stupid ass

Move to Israel and stay there until you figure out where your true loyalties lie--as if we didn't know already.

Greenbeani put the sheet back over your head

The press is now filled with people showing their support for Israel by flying into the war zone. But, the people who are said not to leave their homes after Israel 'knocks on their roof' are human shields for Hamas. The only difference I see is Israel has accurate weapons that actually kill people and Hamas does not. Otherwise would the people flying into the war zone be human shields? This reporting dehumanizes the average Palestinian which makes the peace negotiation harder to achieve, since why would a person negotiate with a non-human. I do not support Hamas and I do not think they will make good partners unless they change their philosophy but this unbalanced reporting, and what feels like unconditional support for Israel, does not help the peace process.