"How can we remain silent when there is the possibility that the Jewish community of Hevron will be uprooted?"
Rabbi Simcha Hochbaum, Director of Tourism for the community of Hevron asked the question on Tuesday, April 5th in New York at a gathering of several hundred people at the West Side Institutional Synagogue on Manhattan's upper West Side.
One of the world's oldest cities, Hevron commands a unique and central position in Jewish history as the place where the founding family of the Jewish people are interred. King David ruled Judea from Hevron for the first seven years of his reign before ascending to Jerusalem where the Holy Temple was to be built.
Hochbaum recalled the 10th anniversary of the terrorist murder of Shalhevet Techiya Pass, a 10-month old infant killed in Hevron by an Arab sniper while she sat in her stroller. "Since Shalhevet's heinous murder, her parents have had five more children and I have a daughter named after Shalhevet. That is the nature of the indefatigable spirit of the Jewish nation. We make it our obligation to re-build, to survive and thrive in spite of those who seek our destruction", he observed.
Every year, tens of thousands of Jews from around the world gather in Hevron to celebrate parshas Chaya Sarah; (the Torah portion detailing the account of the purchase of Hevron by the patriarch Abraham), he added.
Helen Freedman, executive director of Americans For A Safe Israel (AFSI) served as moderator of the colloquium and was presented with a plaque of appreciation for her decades of service to the Jewish community of Hevron by Hebron Fund executive director, Ari Lieberman.
A video presentation of the Jewish community of Hevron was shown illustrating the substantive growth of Hevron since 1967, when Rabbi Moshe Levinger and his wife Miriam Levinger, who originally hailed from the Bronx, served as the progenitors of the modern community.
"Hevron is an endemic part of each and every Jew", said Ari Lieberman, the executive director of the Hebron Fund. He encouraged his audience to initiate social media campaigns for the future of Hevron and to come and make a personal visit.