Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, Rabbi of the Chabad of Poway, whose synagogue was attacked by a terrorist gunman on the last day of Passover, will be the featured speaker at the annual Yom Yerushalayim celebration dinner of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim / Jerusalem Chai.
The projects and programs of American Friends of Ateret Cohanim / Jerusalem Chai, support the educational, social, recreational, and security needs of the over 1000 Jews living in these areas. These projects include day care and after school programs for children, roof top playgrounds, armed security for escort to and from school, renovations of apartments legally purchased that were neglected by squatters who lived there for many years, security cameras and other equipment strategically placed to aid the police and army, education for Israelis and tourists to understand the importance of this area to the history of the Jewish people, and the renovations of historical sites like the Churva Synagogue, the Ohel Yitzchok Synagogue, the Yemenite Village Synagogue as well as the Mark Twain Center in the old “Mediterranean Hotel” today known as Beit Wittenberg.
"The choice to bring Rabbi Goldstein to the dinner was made clear to the Executive Council of American Friends by the Rabbi’s steadfast message to bring light and hope in the face of sorrow and tragedy," Ateret Cohanim stated. "After his near brush with death facing the terrorist gunman who killed congregant Lori Gilbert Kaye, Rabbi Goldstein has traveled across the United States, spoken at the White House and has carried the message of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who exhorted his disciples to bring “light” to the world. Ateret Cohanim has done the same. In the face of hatred and terror by our enemies in east Jerusalem, we continue to grow and thrive, despite the physical threat of violence and psychological danger that face our families every day. Our community in the Yemenite Village in the area called Silwan by the rest of the word, recently welcomed the 23rd family and 122nd child."
The dinner will also pay tribute to Rabbi Meir and Briendy Melnicke (Rabbinical Alliance of America) who will receive the Rabbinic Leadership award for his work on behalf of the Jewish people both in the United States and Israel. Albert and Louiza Allaham, purveyor of Reserve Cut and Mr. Willy Pilku will receive the coveted “Bonei” Yerushalayim award. Mr. Pilku of Core Scaffold Systems has said his goal is to be the one to buiild the scaffolding for the future Temple in Jerusalem.
American Friends will also pay tribute to three outstanding young people, Michael Celler, Inna Vernikov and Estee Wald for their commitment and enthusiasm on behalf of Jerusalem and the Jewish people.
“All of us are looking forward to celebrating Yom Yerushalayim, because for no other city do we dance and sing,” said Shani Hikind, Executive Vice President of American Friends. “This is everyone’s opportunity to stand by the side of our incredible families living in the heart of Jerusalem.”