This past week, Religious Zionists of America (RZA) sponsored the first official visit to the United States by the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau.
RZA Chairman, Martin Oliner, noted that the goal of the visit was to personally introduce Rabbi Lau to a wide array of religious, political, philanthropic and educational institutions, as well as rabbis, government officials and lay leaders.
Toward that end, Rabbi Lau met with representatives of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, the Orthodox Union, and Yeshiva University. The Rabbi participated in services at the Fifth Avenue Synagogue, West Side Institutional Synagogue, Lincoln Square Synagogue, The Jewish Center, Manhattan Sephardic Congregation, and Congregation B’nai Yeshurun of Teaneck.
A Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration was enhanced by the Rabbi’s presence at the Park East Synagogue, and his words were enthusiastically received by Congregation Knesseth Israel / The White Shul.
Rabbi Lau visited the gravesite of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, gave a shiur (Torah lesson) at Lander College for men, spoke at Lander College for women, and participated in the groundbreaking ceremony of the Edward J. Safra Synagogue and a breakfast reception for Har Hazeitim (Mount of Olives).
At each venue Rabbi Lau sought to interact and exchange ideas with those eager to meet and greet him.
He was especially able to do so at an evening reception in his and Rebbetzin Lau’s honor sponsored by RZA Chairman, Oliner and his wife, Reva, at their home in Lawrence.
All present were impressed by the Rabbi’s candor, accessibility, scholarship, warmth and grasp of the issues as he addressed the threat of worldwide anti-Semitism, assimilation and intermarriage in America and the challenges to religious learning in Israel.
Participants in each of the many events found Rabbi David Lau to be a committed leader and a force for Torah, and thanked the RZA and its Chairman, Martin Oliner, for this inspiring opportunity to meet Israel’s Chief Rabbi.
Photo credits: Aaron Akselrud, Gabe Solomon of LifeCapture Images Ltd, and Yaakov Katz of Yaakovkatzstudios.