By Rabbi Danny Cohen
Photos by Mendy Hechtman & Bentzi Sasson
For many weeks now, I have been stopped in the street and asked, “Nu? When are they coming?”
On an average day, the people of Chevron suffer in silence. A city that is the birthplace of the connection between the people of Israel and the Land of Israel, and which according to Kabbalah is the opening of Gan Eden, is described as a place of danger and extremism rather than one of holiness and connection.
Chevron comes from the Hebrew word Chibur, to connect. The people of Chevron dwell in this city despite its challenges, just so that they have the privilege to connect the Jewish people to their fathers and mothers, and make sure that everyone can visit and pray at the place where all prayers ascend to heaven.
Unfortunately, many organizations and organized tour groups prefer to exclude Chevron from their itinerary due to security concerns and the political sensitivity of such a visit.
So when the world’s largest Jewish adult educational network – the Jewish Learning Institute (JLI) organized what is probably the largest organized tour to ever visit Chevron, it is truly a day of remarkable celebration for the residents of this holy city.
Out of eleven buses spilled over 500 of the children of Avraham and Sarah, most of them visiting their parents for the very first time. Excited visitors buzzing around the old city with pride and joy is a sight the people of Chevron will always cherish.
What made this visit even more memorable was a grand celebration marking the completion of a new Sefer Torah, dedicated to Chabad of Chevron by Stanley and Ruth Sheinbein for the speedy recovery and health of Miriam bat Rochel Leah (coordinated by their shluchim, Rabbi and Mrs. Baruch Shalom Ezagui from La Jolla, CA).
Dancing 500 strong with the new Torah through the streets of Chevron, while the soldiers watched from above, Chassidic tunes ringing in the streets with 4000 years of Jewish history, is something that brought incredible joy and tears to all present, and will be long remembered.
The Jewish community of Chevron and all of us at Chabad of Chevron were overjoyed and most fortunate to host this incredible JLI group, led by 60 of the Rebbe’s shluchim and shluchos from across the globe.
It was a day of dance, song and prayer that inspired residents and visitors alike. It was a day that will be remembered forever. A day that provided us with a taste of what life will once again be in this holy city with the imminent arrival of Moshiach!