Thousands gathered in Jerusalem's International Convention Center on Sunday evening to celebrate senior religious Zionist spiritual leader Rabbi Chaim Druckman's 90th birthday.
"Believe me, I'm excited to see you all, but I'm sorry for the hassle. You didn't need to, all it is is my 90th birthday. But the Jewish people get something out of it, so it has some value," Rabbi Druckman remarked at the event, which was organized by the Bnei Akiva Yeshivot and Ulpanot and the Bnei Akiva movement.
"We live for the nation of Israel. Bnei Akiva did a lot of good for the nation of Israel, I remember a time that a boy would finish 8th grade, and would stop wearing a hat (they wouldn't even wear a kippah). A childhood friend of mine, a genius professor, told me that he thought that he was part of the last generation to wear Tefillin. He said that since that was the reality, everyone was leaving the religion," the 90-year-old scholar recalled.
"Look how reality changed. This is Bnei Akiva, today there are knitted kippahs everywhere and everyone knows that they're the best. If this gathering was to show how we are raising the next generation, then it's worth it. Our expectation is that all of Israel will be like this. If tonight's gathering will contribute to that, then it has value," the rabbi concluded.
Rabbi Chaim Druckman is the head of the Or Etzion Yeshiva and the Bnei Akiva Yeshivot and Ulpanot. In the past, he served as a member of the Knesset and deputy minister. Until this day he is revered as a spiritual leader by a wide range of religious Zionists.