Recently, the venerable Roshei Yeshiva (yeshiva deans) of Slabodka, Merkaz HaRav, Kol Torah, Shavei Chevron, Mir, Ohr Elchanan, and Har Hamor joined together in a rare display of unity for the Keren Re’em Kennes (Re'em Fund Conference) sponsored by world-famous philanthropist Moti Sonnenfeld. Newly-released volumes of Judaic studies published with assistance from Keren Re’em were launched for the first time at the event.
The assembly was attended by Rabbi Dovid Lau, Chief Rabbi of Israel and heads of many of Israel's most prestigious yeshivas:
Present from the Religious Zionist sector were Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, Rosh Yeshiva of Mercaz HaRav and member of the Rabbinic Council of the Chief Rabbinate; Rabbi Mordechai Sternberg, Rosh Yeshiva of Har Hamor; Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl, rabbi of the Old City of Jerusalem; Rabbi Dov Bigon, head of Machon Meir; Rabbi Yoel Manowitz, head of Yeshivat Hagolan; Rabbi Chananel Etrog, head of Yeshivat Shavei Chevron, and others.
The haredi yeshiva deans included Rabbi Moshe Hillel Hirsch, head of Yeshivat Slabodka and member of Moetzet Gedolei Hatorah (the haredi Council of Rabbis); Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Schlesinger, head of Kol Torah Yeshiva and member of Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah; Rabbi Yitzhak Ezrachi, head of Yeshivat Mir; Rabbi Chaim Aryeh Chadash and Rabbi Tzi Weinfeld, heads of Yeshivat Ohr Elchanan; Rabbi Yitzchak Yeshaya Weiss, Rosh Yeshivas Alexander.
Also attending were Rabbi Simcha Hacohen Kook, Rabbi of Rechovot and Rabbi Yosef Efrati, Rosh Yeshivas Beis Hamedrash L’Halacha B’Hityashvut, an institute for deepening the knowledge of the mitzvahs, especially agricultural ones, that are kept in the Land of Israel.
Haredi and Religious Zionist public figures included MK Natan Slomiansky (Jewish Home); MK Yaakov Asher (UTJ); Rabbi Elimelech Firer, Chairman and founder of Ezra Lamarpeh; Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, one of the leaders of the Jewish community of Hevron; former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupoliansky; former MK Eli Yishai; and Nathan Nathanson, one of the chief activists for Jewish Home.
During the course of the event, renowned preacher Rabbi Moshe Shapira lamented the untimely death of Moti Sonnenfeld’s daughter, Danielle, a”h, who was killed one-and-a-half years ago in a tragic car accident. He expounded upon the challenge of triumphing over tragedy and perpetuating a life of benevolence and activism while battling the heartache and grief of loss. He then proceeded to illuminate the deeper meaning of the concept of nechamah, comfort, while connecting it to the present month of Av. The Danielle Siddur for women with a commentary by Rabbi Yaakov Weingarten was launched at the event.
Other Torah works launched and presented by Fund director Rabbi Shlomo Werner at the event included the new volume of Rabbi Levenstein’s series U’masok Ha’ohr on the Sabbath, published with funding from the Re’em Fund and dedicated in memory of Moti Zisser, z”l, a close friend of Sonnenfeld; the second volume of Sefer Avudraham on Sabbath and holiday prayers; the first volume of Tractate Trumot published by Beit Hamedrash L’Halachah B’Hityashvut.
Closing remarks were spoken by Mr. Sonnenfeld himself who vividly expressed his vision of enhancing and reinforcing unity and cooperation among the various sectors of Torah-observant Jews, both in terms of Torah study and widespread acts of lovingkindness, chesed. Keren Re'em strives to advance towards that goal, he said.
Danielle hoped to study medicine and the Sonnenfeld family has established many activities in her memory, including the Danielle Prize – Healing with a Heart awarded to "those health professionals who’ve demonstrated exceptional caring toward patients and their families, in addition to their professional expertise and experience" in Sonnenfeld's words. There is a Danielle Team at Schneider Medical Center that helps seriously ill patients 24/7; a midrasha institute of Jewish studies for women in Samaria named after her that prepares girls before entering national service; Lev Danielle – Fertility Institute at Hadassah Ein Kerem; Achuzat Danielle kindergartens in Ra’anana; and Gar’in Danielle in Acre, where she volunteered, that supports families of at-risk youth.