By COLlive reporter
40 community leaders and business people from Russia recently spent 4 days in Israel for a solidarity visit led by Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar.
The delegation that hailed from 13 cities across the Russian Federation, included Lev Leviev, billionaire president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in the former Soviet Union and Israeli-Georgian billionaire and philanthropist Mikhael Mirilashvili.
The visit took place amidst a series of terror attacks, which made the visit even more meaningful, said Rabbi Chaim Danzinger, Shliach in Rostov, Russia who was one of the organizers of the trip which was produced by Fleishman and Peles VIP Tours.
“Specifically now when things are difficult, the importance of this visit took on a new light,” said Danzinger.
The trip started with a visit to the Israel Aerospace Industries near Ben Gurion Airport, then drove off-road vehicles into the desert where they were greeted by a fireworks and light show, which illuminated a beautifully set dinner table.
They also visited Hebron, the holy city and target of many terror attacks, giving strength to the residents and soldiers. They later traveled to Gush Etzion and Kever Rochel where they prayed for the safety and well-being of Israel and the Jewish communities in Russia.
Thursday night, the group visited Har Dov on the Lebanese border, where they danced with the IDF soldiers with great joy. Friday they traveled north to the holy city of Tzfas, visiting the Ari Zal’s Mikvah and learned about Safrus.
The group spent a meaningful Shabbos, gathering for an inspiring farbrengen on Friday night with Rabbi Lazar and Levi Leviev which went on until 3 AM.
Sunday, the group met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling him that they had “come to deliver a message that terrorism must not win.”
During the meeting, Leviev told the Prime Minister that they came specifically during this time to spread the message to the world that “precisely now is the time to come and visit the land of Israel, the safest place in the world.”
The finale of the trip was a lavish banquet at the ancient Western Wall Tunnels with Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef and Kotel Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch.
“This trip was a tremendous success,” said Rabbi Danzinger. “Participants said they saw a part of Israel they never experienced before. But most important, was the spiritual awakening many of them experienced. During the bidding for aliyos on Shabbos, one participant from Rostov declared that he will have a bris milah on the Rebbe Rashab’s Yohrtzeit – Chof Cheshvan,” he said.