Next Year in a Rebuilt Jerusalem!

Ben Packer,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Ben Packer
Originally from Petersburg, Virginia, Ben Packer moved to Israel in 1999, where he served in the IDF's Givati Brigade in the Gaza Strip. Ben served as a Rabbi on campus at Univ. of North Carolina and at Duke Univ. Ben now serves as Director of the Jerusalem Heritage House ( and Co-Director of Young Jewish Conservatives ( He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and 6 children....

Tomorrow night begins Yom Kippur - the "Day of Atonement". Part of "atonement", as expressed in Jewish law, is the requirement to try to do better in the future. (Obviously also to strenuously attempt to avoid committing the same offense/shortcoming).

With this in mind, I would like to turn to the TRULY AMAZING news of the week in Jerusalem - the acquisition of approximately 25 apartments in the City of David/Silwan neighborhood by Jewish investors under the leadership of the Elad organization and its leader David Be'eri ("Dovidela"), truly one of the most inspiring Jewish leaders of this generation!! This a huge victory for the Jewish People and a very dramatic strengthening of the Jewish Presence in Jerusalem. 

G-d willing, there will much more good news like this to come - but it won't happen without you and me and Jews like us all over the world!!! Our first reaction to this incredibly successful completion of the mitzvah of "yishuv haaretz" is pure elation, but our second should be to ask ourselves if we could have been more personally involved in such efforts. This is not a spectator sport. Being Jewish means being in the starting line-up everyday! The Jews who bought these properties are now perennial all-stars! Think about if you had bought one these apartments whats feelings you'd be experiencing right now. Or if you had helped convince someone else to do so! 

I personally know of more examples to buy more apartments and buildings in that exact same neighborhood and others in other areas of Jerusalem, like Musrara and Shimon HaTzadik, and in Hevron and to help construct a mikveh in Eish Kodesh (near Shiloh), to build a proper synagogue in Havat Maon, the construction of numerous houses needs to be financed in Itamar and Kfar Tapuach. And there are many more such projects, simply waiting for Jewish investment - financial resources and determined faith! Physically strengthening the Jewish Presence in the Land of Israel is our responsibility!

Those pushing these projects and initiatives are not strangers to us - some are our friends, neighbors and relatives. The timing of the purchases in the City of David may have been a closely guarded secret, but the reality that a war of property and strategic control is being waged in Jerusalem and throughout the Land of Israel should not come as a surprise to anyone. The question we have to ask ourselves leading up to Yom Kippur is: are we fulfilling our role in this battle to the best of our personal ability. 

May we all merit full teshuva and atonement and may we see, with G-d's help, a rebuilt Jerusalem and a stronger Jewish Presence throughout the entire Land of Israel in the coming year! 

Next year in a rebuilt Jerusalem! 

Gmar Chasima Tova,

Ben Packer
Old City of Jerusalem