U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro visited this week the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, one of the largest yeshivas in the world with over 6,000 students.
During the tour of the yeshiva, which is situated in the Mea Shearim neighborhood, the Ambassador was accompanied by Rabbi Aharon Chodosh, Rabbi Nachman Levovitz, Rabbi Binyamin Carlebach and Rabbi Aaron David Davis.
Shapiro was shown four study halls in three different buildings, each one with many hundreds of students studying together.
“I had a chance to meet not only the Rosh Yeshiva, but some of the very bright students themselves, sit with them and learn a little bit about the passage of Gemara they are studying related to property disputes,” Shapiro said.
“It’s a very impressive operation,” he added. “It’s huge and it demonstrates the commitment of that community to sustaining the Jewish people and the Jewish traditions through study.”
The Ambassador later visited the Bedomaich Chayi Cord Blood Bank, which was established in Jerusalem in 2006 as a public cord-blood bank.
Following a small reception and presentation ceremony, the Ambassador cut the ribbon of a newly established laboratory and was given a short explanation of its function. At the same time, the Ambassador visited the Dor Yeshorim organization, an organization which provides genetic testing to prevent the occurrence of genetic diseases within the Jewish community worldwide. To date, the Dor Yeshorim program operates in dozens of countries around the world, having tested over 300,000 patients for the common recessive diseases.
“I think what I saw was, in some ways, two different aspects of the hareidi community,” Shapiro said. “That which is devoted to sustaining the traditional way of life that hareidim believe very strongly in, and that in which the hareidi community can also contribute to broader Israeli society, as increasing numbers of them are doing.”
“A strong cohesive Israeli society is an American interest,” he emphasized, “and so we have a great interest in seeing hareidim and all Israelis joining together in a common, cohesive society.”
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)