Click here to donate and lend your support.

The Sderot Hesder Yeshiva was founded 25 years ago by Rabbi David Fendel, who serves as head of the yeshiva, and his wife Mechi.

“25 years ago, we came here, a nice group of very idealistic guys that together built the Hesder Yeshiva in Sderot. We didn’t dream it would be this big but there’s a lot of spirit, a lot of tremendous energies, and a lot of people who together are making Sderot a center of Torah,” says Rabbi Fendel.

The Sderot Hesder Yeshiva is not just a center of Torah but also a center of connection to the community at large.

“That’s the educational philosophy: That people have to be involved, the Torah needs to be connected to the town,” explains Rabbi Fendel. “We have a lot of work with the school system, with the synagogue system.”

Says Mechi, “We eat Shabbat meals in the yeshiva. We know a lot of the boys by first name. The boys in the first group – their children are my children. I feel like I’m a grandmother to all the young kids being born. The yeshiva is definitely a family. As big as it is, we definitely try that much harder to keep that spirit and that much harder to keep the closeness.”

“If you come here on Shabbat morning, you’ll see different rabbis. All the rabbis are different rabbis of shuls and have created little communities,” continues Rabbi Fendel. “We definitely believe that’s part of it. We want to train these guys to be future leaders and connected to the community and understand what the community needs, what the spiritual needs of the community are. That’s why the Sderot Hesder Yeshiva is located in the middle of Sderot, so people can literally walk right through it and they see guys who are coming back from the army learning and living Torah.”

Someone who comes to the Sderot Hesder Yeshiva, says Mechi, “knows that he’s not just coming to build himself, to learn Torah and to give to Klal Yisrael. He’s coming here because Sderot needs them. He’s needed. Most of the boys here are either volunteering in the civil service, or Magen David Adom, or they’re doing something in addition to learning.”

Sderot is consistently targeted by rocket attacks from Gaza but that doesn’t deter the Sderot Hesder Yeshiva.

“The Palestinians are trying to turn this place into a ghost town but it’s not going to help them. They try to destroy but they can’t keep up with the pace of all the building that’s going on. They try to break our spirit. Our spirit is invincible, unbreakable, thousands of years old,” stresses Rabbi Fendel. “Each Kassam builds another level of growth in this city.”

“During days of tension these guys shine, because they’re young and spirited and have faith. They go from house to house, from shul to shul, and they realize they have a special responsibility and the best of them comes out. We see what they’re really made of, and it’s a beautiful thing to be a part of a community, especially in those times when they can see how beautiful the spirit of Torah and courage is.”

The money being raised for the yeshiva these days “builds another beautiful dormitory in the yeshiva,” says Rabbi Fendel who adds that it makes no difference how much or how little one donates because “everything adds up and everything is appreciated. And I have to say that without American Jewry and without a lot of you guys out there we couldn’t have done what we did, because the generosity and the connection and the love that you guys showed is much appreciated, and now we want to make this happen.”

“We’re asking that everybody join. It doesn’t make a difference how much. It seems that we need everybody involved. Everybody has to have a little part of this beautiful building. In these 48 hours, if we reach our goal of $1 million, we can get it done in a few months…We need you. We need everybody to be involved. We’re all in this together.”

“It was once told to us that Sderot is the spine. If Sderot, G-d forbid, goes down and gets weakened, it could paralyze the nation,” adds Mechi. “But we don’t want that to happen. Sderot has to be strong. I see these boys. They’re fighting, they’re working so that their yeshiva can continue growing, continue accepting more students, continue spreading Torah and more light to the Negev and to Israel.”

Click here to donate and lend your support.