Rabbi Brings US Jews Closer to Israel
An Israeli rabbi who recently completed a speaking tour on the East Coast of the United States, has deepened Jewish Americans’ understanding of Israel, about the IDF, and of being Jewish in the Israeli army.
Rabbi Shalom Hammer is originally from Monsey, New York. He was ordained at Yeshiva University and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in communication and education. He moved to Israel in 1990, where he served in the IDF. Rabbi Hammer visited Chabad-Lubavitch centers in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. During his two-week speaking tour he related stories and observations from his time in the Israeli army.
His talks have received extremely positive responses from the many people who attended. Chabad’s website recently reported on some of these responses.
“I came because I’m interested in what’s happening in Israel,” said Anne Pinzow, who attended Rabbi Hammer’s lecture at Chabad of Old Tappan, New Jersey. “He really got me to feel that we’re one people. We’re together in this.”
“I was also attracted by the fact that he was an IDF rabbi,” said Benjamin Lessmann, who attended the same lecture. “I was looking to hear experiences, comments that related to some connection between Jewish identity and [military service]. I enjoyed it very much. Usually we hear about the situation from a more secular Israeli population. He really put the fact that the army is an organization where both worlds relate into context.”
Rabbi Hammer spoke about the growth of spirituality in Israel’s military and the resilience of Israel’s residents in the face of terrorism.“I have a very good relationship with them,” said Rabbi Hammer of his talks at Chabad houses, which he estimates make up 25 to 40 percent of his lecture venues. “I find it very important for us to partner together because, at the end of the day, we’re concerned about the same thing: getting Jews involved and affiliated.”