'One Must Visit Your Offices to Understand What You're Doing'


The mayor of Bnei Brak and senior city officials meet with the heads of Yad L'Achim.


The mayor peruses a booklet on Yad L'Achim success stories.

Bnei Brak Mayor Rabbi Chanoch Zeibert led a top-level delegation of city officials on a tour of Yad L'Achim's headquarters. The delegation, which included city treasurer Rabbi Aharon Adler, city council member Rabbi Shlomo Kostlitz and Rabbi Yosef Gerelitz, the mayor's special assistant, was welcomed by Yad L'Achim chairman Rabbi Yisrael Lifschitz and Rabbi Shmuel Lifschitz, one of the organization's leaders.

The visit opened with a power-point presentation describing the scope of Yad L'Achim's counter-assimilation activities. The guests were stunned by figures showing that an average of 10 calls a day are received by Yad L'Achim's hotline, and that they come from every segment of Israeli society.

A film was shown of a recent Shabbos retreat held recently for survivors of Arab villages and their children at Yad Binyamin. The visitors were visibly moved by the scenes of dozens of children with kippahs on their heads and payos adorning their faces. These children once lived in Arab villages and didn't even know they were Jewish.

There wasn't a dry eye in the house when a woman appeared on the screen and described the terrible suffering she'd endured living with an Arab husband in his village and her gratitude to Yad L'Achim for rescuing her. She spoke of the tremendous joy she felt at seeing her children attend Torah schools.

Yechi'am Fleishman, head of the counter-missionary department, presented a broad survey of missionary activities in Israel, stressing that the cults stop at nothing in their well-financed bid to reach more and more Jews. He went on to explain how Yad L'Achim battles them.

A representative of Gerrer chassidus in Arad, Rabbi Mordechai Knobelovitch, expressed his community's gratitude to Yad L'Achim. He said that up until 10 years ago the missionaries were a force in the city, but that thank G-d they had been marginalized. He said that Arad is the classic example of a city that rebuffed the missionaries and dramatically diminished their influence.

Rabbanit Lifschitz, widow of Yad L'Achim's legendary founder Hagaon Harav Shalom Dov Lifschitz, zt"l, thanked the mayor for visiting the organization's main offices. She spoke of the weighty responsibility that Yad L'Achim shoulders to save every Jewish soul and said that her husband dedicated his life to rescue work on behalf of the Jewish world. It would be no exaggeration to say that he was constantly immersed in rescue work, via Yad L'Achim, 24 hours a day, she added.

Rabbi Pinchas Besser, a senior lecturer in a Jewish-outreach organization, stressed that Yad L'Achim worried about each and every individual, even as it waged the battle on behalf of the community as a whole.

At the end of the event, the emcee, Yad L'Achim director general Rabbi Yosef Ganz, invited the mayor to sum up the visit, noting that the mayor had earned a reputation for successfully running the city, both materially and spiritually.

Rabbi Zeibert began by recounting his personal connection with Yad L'Achim. He said that his father in law, Rabbi Kofman, was among the first activists in Yad Achim, more than 50 years ago.

He stressed that he was astonished by what he had seen up-close of Yad L'Achim's rescue efforts. "It's a must to come to your offices and see with your own eyes what this organization is doing. It is simply not to be believed," the mayor concluded.

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