US Ambassador To Israel David Friedman Joins Hundreds Of Americans In Sderot For Succot Celebration At Local Yeshiva

By BJLife Israel Newsroom
Posted on 10/11/17

He tells the crowd: “I feel so much at home here.”  

Hundreds of Americans now living in Israel and visiting Israel for the Succos holiday gathered at the Hesder Yeshiva of Sderot for a “Family Fun Day” on Sunday of the Chol Hamoed.

Yeshivat Sderot hosted the day including tours, rides, games, lunch and more in a giant succah to honor Rav Meyer Fendel, founder of the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County (HANC) and Yeshiva founder, Rav Dovid Fendel’s father. 

The original plan was to honor both of Rav Fendel’s parents, each pioneers in building the Jewish Community in Long Island. Unfortunately, Rebbetzin Goldie Fendel z"l passed away just two and a half weeks before the event, so the welcoming and groundbreaking ceremony on a new building for the growing Yeshiva were in tribute to her memory. 

Ambassador Friedman was a student at HANC, and chose to come out of appreciation for his former Principal, as well as to show his support for the people of Sderot. “Here in Sderot we see a new kind of Jew” he told the packed event hall, “The Jews here say “‘Ad Kan’ - We aren’t leaving, we’re not going anywhere.”

The “Family Fun Day” was hosted in conjunction with a city-wide Succos Festival in Sderot’s city center. The Yeshiva hosted rides and games for children, and tours of the Yeshiva, the City and the tunnels and border with Gaza in English. 

Many of those attending were several three-generation families spending Succos in Israel together, including many HANC alumni. Former Yeshivat Sderot student Knesset Member Bezalel Smotrich also joined in the festivities. “Of course I wanted to come,” he said, “Sderot is one of the most important places in Israel today, and the Yeshiva is one of the pillars of the city. They are so important to so many aspects of the city’s success!” 

The Mayor of Sderot, Alon Davidi, echoed the same message when he welcomed Ambassador Friedman and addressed the crowd of visitors. He emphasized the critical role of the Yeshiva in the development of the entire city, saying “The Yeshiva is vital for the community of Sderot in terms of a spiritual presence and the ongoing participation and cooperation with the City. The City has built up and developed around the Yeshiva.” 

Rav Dov Fendel, the Yeshiva’s founder, was particularly gratified so many people inspired by his father came and spent the day with their families. “My mother together with my father played a very important role in the founding and development of the Hesder Yeshiva in Sderot, and that’s why it was so meaningful for me to have this event in Sderot. It symbolized the bridge between the past and the present, and shows how my parents continued their amazing work in chinuch both in America and Israel. I hope that the wonderful families that joined us feel a more personal connection to Sderot now, and are inspired by what these amazing students are accomplishing.”  


After the event’s tremendous success, there are hopes to make it an annual event.