Yechiel Abutbul
Yechiel AbutbulYoni Kempinski

To support the Sderot Hesder yeshiva, click here.

Yehiel Abutbul, resident of Sderot, spoke about the start of his acquaintance with the Hesder yeshiva in the city and about the changes he underwent in consequence thereof.

"When they arrived, I was secular," says Abutbul in an interview in honor of the yeshiva's fund-raising initiative. "I saw it as a blessed thing. I love communities from all walks of life. I saw them beginning their activity, their vigor, their charisma. They intervened in all kinds of disadvantaged places in the city where I met them, in the neighborhoods where I lived. They are wonderful people; we've come to know them more closely since the disengagement."

Did this connect you?

"It connected me completely, and it made me see the Torah, that unfortunately I once hated, from another angle. I became religious because of these people 13 years ago."

Abutbul describes the relationship he created with the yeshiva students, "Someone who comes to your house on Saturday and you turn off the television out of respect for him and he says to you, 'Don't turn off the television; I'm not here to change you, I came to meet you up close.' They're your neighbors, so you say 'wow', and he says, 'Just come with me Friday night to the synagogue', and I come to the synagogue and see these wonderful people smiling at each other and there are no curses and no alcohol, just prayer... The prayer there is clear, smiling and friendly so I go there. I've been in love with Torah for 13 years."

Sderot is a city that has been through difficult times. Just recently we heard a red alert alarm here. What does it do to have a yeshiva here these days?

"They were quite prominent on the ground, volunteering and encouraging residents. They gave us a great feeling of security, the way they roamed the streets en masse with Israeli flags and 'We're not afraid'; it transmits a good feeling. Today, when there are fewer Qassam rockets, we see them still making contributions on their own, still walking around the streets, still giving of their abilities with the elderly and the weak in Sderot. It's a beautiful sight and I love it."

To support the Sderot Hesder yeshiva, click here.

Hebrew video:

13 שנה אני מאוהב בתורה בזכות הישיבה