200 pairs of new tefillin in honor of the Kotel liberators

The three paratroopers in the iconic Kotel picture were the impetus for a Chabad campaign funding 200 pairs of tefillin for IDF soldiers.

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Tal Polon,

Six Day War Paratroopers at the Wall
Six Day War Paratroopers at the Wall
David Rubinger

The three paratroopers in the iconic picture taken shortly after the liberation of the Western Wall during the 1967 Six-Day War proved to be the impetus for a Chabad campaign which saw the donation of 200 pairs of tefillin to IDF soldiers.

The Chabad.org website reported that Chabad of Northern Virginia in Fairfax announced a gift of 200 pairs of new tefillin to modern-day IDF soldiers in honor of the three paratroopers - Zion Karasenti, Dr. Yitzhak Yifat and Haim Oshri - framed in the David Rubinger picture which came to symbolize the Jewish liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem. In addition, the Chabad House honored the three at a special event two weeks ago as they made their way across the US for a seven-city tour to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the War.

According to the site, while Chabad originally intended to obtain donations for 50 pairs of tefillin to soldiers, communal response was so fast and positive that Friends of the IDF, an organization which provides material support to IDF soldiers, agreed to match the donation with another 50 pairs. Then, after Rabbi Menachem Ofen of Tzerei Augudat Chabad Headquarters in Kfar Chabad heard of the plan, he drafted another contributor to match the existing donation, resulting in a total of 200 pairs of tefillin going to soldiers.

Rabbi Sholom Deitsch, co-director of the Fairfax Chabad House, said that the event in honor of the paratroopers was “a great inspiration to all who attended and beyond,” and noted that the Six-Day War marked the launch of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s “tefillin campaign” in which he directed his followers to put tefillin on Jewish men around the world to breathe new spiritual life into the Jewish People.