On Wednesday March 9, the entire Yeshiva University High School for Boys (MTA) student body was privileged to experience a special presentation from SHALVA about Operation Thunderbolt: The Raid on Entebbe. The dramatic Israeli rescue operation, which will be commemorating its 40th anniversary this coming summer, was made relevant to us all when Mr. Shai Gross, who advocates for SHALVA, an Israeli nonprofit organization which aids disabled children, spoke about his own experiences as a member of the group of hijack victims that was liberated by Israeli soldiers on July 4, 1976. Shai was only six years old when the plane was hijacked early that summer, the youngest of all the passengers.
After two brief introductory videos and some personal reflections on the operation from Rabbi Taubes, Shai spoke about the miraculous events that started off as a vacation-turned-nightmare but ended as an incredible showing of the willpower of the Israeli people and the military in a daring rescue of all 102 hostages held in Entebbe, Uganda. Inspired by the willingness of the soldiers to participate, Shai later decided to volunteer himself, at SHALVA, in an effort to mirror what those Israeli soldiers had once done for him and give back to the people of Israel. The MTA students left the program with a much greater sense of how good deeds and worldly affairs can be interrelated and will be sure to carry the inspiration that they gained from the presentation into the joyous month of Adar Sheni.
A group of MTA students who will be running this Friday in the Jerusalem Marathon have raised nearly $42,000 for SHALVA.
By Rami Nordicht