July 23, 2024
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Chabad of Binghamton Coordinates Solidarity Trip to Israel

Binghamton University students, alumni and parents travel to Israel with Chabad of Binghamton on an 18-hour trip of solidarity and support.

The group in one of the shelters.

Amid the current war in Israel that has seen more than 1,400 innocent Jews brutally murdered, Chabad of Binghamton coordinated Operation One People; One Body, a solidarity trip to Israel composed of Binghamton University students, alumni and parents, past and current. The group left for Israel on Tuesday, October 24 and returned on Thursday, October 26.

“The sheer magnitude of the death, torture and kidnapping of Jews is agonizing,” said Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Levi Slonim, director of development at the Rohr Chabad Center for Jewish Student Life at Binghamton University and the organizer of the trip. “When your sibling is in trouble, you drop everything and you show up. The Rebbe would always stress the importance of remembering that we are really all part of one body. This trip was about standing firm with our brothers and sisters in Israel and extending support on multiple levels.”

Members of the group were chosen by raffle from, and represented, the extended Chabad of Binghamton community. The trip included a visit to wounded soldiers in the hospital and displaced families in shelters, paying shiva visits to families affected by the October 7 massacre, and visits to two bases of IDF soldiers to bring them much-needed supplies and support, including various forms of spiritual support.

The group at Ben Gurion Airport.

“I feel that you came here for 18 hours with an electric shock and did CPR on a lot of people you met and talked to,” said one of the Israeli residents with whom the group spent time.

Ayelet Nemetski of Englewood, a current Binghamton University student, spoke to The Jewish Link about her experience on the trip.

“When visiting families whose homes had been destroyed by Hamas rockets and were therefore living in a hotel I had the pleasure of giving a little boy of no more than 6 years old a set of toy Mario cars,” she shared. “Immediately after receiving the gift the boy’s face lit up. He explained to me how he has ones similar to the ones I gave him at home and how he could not wait to play with all of them together. I did not have the heart to tell him that this dream sadly would never become a reality, given that his toys were lost along with his home. I spoke with him for some time, mostly about Mario as he seemed to be an expert in all the different characters and their cars. Seeing the joy on his face brought me immense joy and satisfaction, while hearing his wish that would never come true made me incredibly sad.

Playing with children in one of the shelters.

“This feeling of both hope and heartache was a common theme throughout the trip,” Nemetski continued. “Although this boy will not be able to play with the toys he had, I hope that the Mario cars I gave him will be the start of a new and better collection. Similarly I hope that this mission will be a start to many more [uplifting] moments and a better future for the Jewish people.”

Neil Steiner of Syosset, New York, an alumnus of Binghamton University and a parent of a current student, said, “Just sitting back and watching all of this in America wasn’t enough … it’s something I needed to do. I didn’t know any of these people we met, but we’re ‘one body’ in all of this.”

Nemetski added, “I [went on this trip hoping] to show Israelies and the rest of the world that Israel is not alone in this fight; the whole of the Jewish people stands with them. We are one nation and when one of us is suffering, we all are. When one of us needs help, we will all come.”

“The ability for each of us to add light, support and positivity has not—and will never—be taken away from us,” added Slonim. “Just as the hate and destruction were so immense, the magnitude of the response to do positive deeds must be equally massive.”

Soldiers going through supplies brought by the group.

For more information about this trip, or to support its efforts, visit www.JewishBU.com/Solidarity or contact Rabbi Levi Slonim at [email protected] or 607-206-6443.

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