Illustration: Karakal Battalion in training by Israel Defense Forces [CC BY 2.0] via wikimedia
... whoever saves a life of Israel, the verse gives him credit as if he saved an entire world.
Talmud Sanh. 37a
Knowing that all Jews are responsible for one another, as Rosh Hashana — the Day of Judgement — approaches, we would do well to ask ourselves what we can do to help save Jewish lives.
This year we are preparing to observe a High Holiday season like no other. The ongoing pandemic should bring renewed meaning to one of the most emotionally laden petitions we make: "Repentance, prayer, and righteous charity annul the severity of the Decree."
This plea is one of the highlights of the prayer services on both Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana and is from the Unetaneh Tokef composed by the martyr Rabbi Amnon of Mainz, Germany who lived in the High Middle Ages. It has come down in history to our times that Rabbi Amnon perished immediately after reciting this prayer as a consequence of the brutal torture and dismemberment he suffered at the hands of an archbishop for his refusal to convert. Rabbi Amnon's gift to us is this prayer.
How often do we have the opportunity to give charity that directly aids those heroes that work to save Jewish lives?
An Israeli-American activist named Ben Goldstein, a former Lone Soldier who served in the elite Givati combat unit and now a "settler," is giving us such an opportunity this month. Goldstein is popular and active on social media defending Israel against what he calls "the poison that is fed to the world about the very Land that is the most magnificent on earth."
Goldstein does more for Israel than fight for it on social media, though. Much more.
Goldstein is asking American Jews and others, to help him this year in his work providing Israeli soldiers and first responders with much needed equipment — including state-of-the-art bulletproof vests.
He knows firsthand about this need. Goldstein left Memphis, Tennessee at the age of just 18 and volunteered to join the Israeli army; he now lives in Elazar, which he says is "a beautiful, religious Zionist community in the Judean Hills, located across the street from Efrat and Bethlehem." Far from the emergency services available in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, every minute counts in Judea-Samaria.
He explains: "Since 2014, I have been the direct connection to thousands of IDF soldiers and paramedics, to make a difference and directly support their needs with upgraded protective gear and equipment, life-saving trauma gear, as well as social welfare support they won't receive anywhere else."
When Goldstein founded Unity Warriors the slogan that he developed was: "We rely on them to protect Israel. They rely on us for direct support."
What does this mean? "Unity Warriors fills in the gaps for the defenders and life savers of Israel. We supply them with the best gear and equipment in the world every week. Our best deserve the best!"
On this coming Sunday, September 13th, Goldstein and Unity Warriors are offering a unique chance to aid them in their work. Unity Warriors will be hosting its first annual Roots of Redemption, Tree of Life fundraising gala overlooking beautiful Bethlehem. Donated trees will be planted LIVE on Facebook in the donor’s name and honor — directly across from ancient Bethlehem in the Hills of Judea.
"It doesn't get any better or more meaningful than to see your roots take hold in the Land!" says Goldstein. "Each tree is hand planted by us, LIVE on the day of the event," he explains. "We will be hosting many heroes of Israel during our LIVE event, including IDF combat soldiers and medics who will tell their stories of saving lives thanks to Unity Warriors."
As Goldstein says "For seven years, seven days a week, Unity Warriors has been directly supporting the needs of our IDF combat soldiers and paramedics and we must be able to supply them with what they need, when they need it. Much of what we do and most of the gear we supply can be the difference between life and death for our men and women in uniform, and the civilians who depend on them."
Goldstein asks those who are interested to help Unity Warriors by donating now. “Israel's soldiers and first responders need you. We welcome all who wish to take a stand for Israel and for the defenders and life savers of Israel," says Goldstein. He can be contacted here for more information.
The High Holiday season is the perfect time to be charitable — and saving lives is the highest form of charity. This is an opportunity to be part of protecting the Israelis who stand on the front line and save lives everyday.
Moshe Phillips is national director of Herut North America’s US division. Phillips' work was profiled here. Herut is an international movement for Zionist pride and education and is dedicated to the ideals of pre-World War II Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky. Click here to read more of this author’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.