April 8, 2024
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Bnai Yeshurun Hosts Shai Graucher of ‘Standing Together, Beyachad Netzach’

Brigadier General Netanel (Nati) Cohen, uncle of Shai Graucher.

On the fifth night of Chanukah, coinciding with the 67th day of the war in Gaza, the Main New Shul at Congregation Bnai Yeshurun was filled to capacity. Hundreds gathered to hear from an individual whose efforts on behalf of our courageous chayalim, families of terror victims, the displaced and the injured are no less than heroic. Beginning on October 8, Rabbi Shai Graucher, son of noted Israeli singer Dedi, who passed away in September, has made things happen “quickly and efficiently.” His initiative, which is supported by hundreds in Israel and the U.S., is known in Hebrew as Beyachad Nenatze’ach (Together We Will Win) and in English as “Standing Together.”

In introducing the evening, Rabbi Ari Zahtz, associate rabbi of Congregation Bnai Yeshurun, posed a question: “How can the valiant chayalim of the IDF light Chanukah candles while out in the field, confronting their enemies?” The answer, the rabbi said, is that “war brings along with it the potential for geula, redemption.Their fortitude and courage is bringing the geula closer.

“But how can we, from so far away, participate in the hastening of the redemption? Through the three key elements of Torah, avodah and gemilut chasadim. We must up our learning of Torah, we must strengthen our tefillot, and we must engage fully in all kinds of chesed here and in Israel. Our community has been admirably involved in financial chesed and hopefully will continue to do so. Tonight, on Rosh Chodesh Tevet, we can learn of the chidushim, novel projects, that Shai Graucher has infused into chesed.”

Barry Lebowitz of Passaic, co-founder and managing partner of Rivulet Capital, shared with the audience his firsthand observations of a few of the unparalleled acts of chesed performed by Graucher during his three-day trip.

For the 250 families displaced from Sderot now living in the Leonardo Hotel in Rechovot, Graucher arranged for a Blue Friday where a million-dollar inventory was placed at their disposal, restoring their dignity and giving them much-needed necessities. In celebration of Chanukah, Graucher arranged for a festive evening of music and Chanukah gifts for these traumatized youngsters and their families. Together with his uncle, Brigadier General Netanel (Nati) Cohen, Graucher created a “rejuvenation complex” for chayalim where they could wind down in the evenings, enjoy nightly concerts and most importantly, launder their clothing in one of the washers and dryers transported on giant trailer-trucks, and take proper showers in huge mobile units brought directly to them in the field.

Shai Graucher addressing the community at Bnai Yeshurun.

Cohen, director of the Center for Monitoring the IDF’s Digital Systems, which sends out all crypto knowledge to the units throughout the country, is confident that through their top-notch systems they will achieve their three goals of destroying Hamas completely, releasing the hostages quickly, and establishing a new regime in Gaza. However, with changing realities each day, there is no timetable. Yet our soldiers persevere. Showing a picture of chayalim lighting Chanukah candles in Gaza Square, Cohen attested: “Our chayalim are the new Maccabees. We will defeat the current Amalek, in Gaza, up north and even within the territories. The spirit of unity will get us through. Beyachad Nenatze’ach.”

In an emotional address to the assembled, Gaucher shared the message he received from a widow who lost her husband, leaving her to care for her small children alone. “You came like angels and knocked on our door. You offered comfort in the form of words and deeds. My husband was a man of chesed and modesty. You are paying him back for his good deeds. May Hashem bless your efforts.”

Graucher attributes his dedication to acts of chesed to those he saw performed by his late father, whose recent death at the age of 62 caused him intense grief. As he performs acts of chesed “quickly,” he feels the backing of his beloved father at every step. His modus operandi is taking stock of immediate needs and jumping into action by calling upon those who can help financially and physically.

“We are helping people who lost their loved ones with financial support. We’re helping families whose houses were shattered to fix them. We’re helping soldiers acquire needed equipment. We are hosting lavish barbecues to nourish the soldiers. We are helping evacuated families in hotels. We are sending gifts to families of reservists who have not been home in weeks.We are buying winter clothing for evacuees.We have even had the zechus of helping women whose husbands are in the army give birth. We are constantly sending out thousands of meals for weekdays and Shabbat.”

In addition to all of the above, thousands of religious items have been sent out by Gaucher’s organization to soldiers throughout the country. Hundreds of sets of tefillin, thousands of copies of Gemara featuring the Daf Yomi and including tefillot for Tzahal have been distributed at bases to observant as well as not-yet-observant soldiers.

To date, over $4.2 million has been raised in support of Graucher’s projects. These funds have been distributed efficiently and directly. Attributing his motivation to his beloved father, z”l, and his inspiration to his spiritual role model Rav Chaim Kanievsky, zt”l, Graucher feels the constant siyata dishmaya, help of Hashem, guiding him in his efforts.

Donations can be directed to Standing Together/Chesed V’rachamim: https://www.charidy.com/Chessedvrachamim, where you can also see Graucher’s exuberant, inspiring videos.

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