American Friends of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva (AFYBA) reaffirms its steadfast dedication to the critical initiative: “AFYBA Supports War Efforts in Israel.” This movement remains resolute in helping fortify the nation amid challenging times, standing unwaveringly in solidarity with Israel. Recently, AFYBA orchestrated a special mission for Americans visiting Israel, amplifying awareness and fostering support for its endeavors.
AFYBA hosted two one-day events, epitomizing values such as solidarity, brotherhood and Ahavat Yisrael. These events aimed to showcase AFYBA’s profound care for soldiers, Bnei Akiva students and staff, the wounded, hospital personnel and evacuated residents from border cities. More than 100 individuals from the United States actively participated in these events, demonstrating solidarity with AFYBA’s mission and gaining firsthand insight into the pivotal work underway.
Jack Gourdji, executive director of AFYBA, expressed: “It is my sincere hope that those who joined this mission returned to the USA as personal witnesses of Israel’s current situation, fostering a stronger connection with the AFYBA family in our efforts to help.”
He added, “This trip and our continued AFYBA efforts in Israel have been warmly embraced by U.S. citizens, and we are deeply grateful for the overwhelming support received.”
The on-ground visits in Israel provided visiting Americans with a unique opportunity to connect with Israeli families enduring immense hardships, ensuring they do not feel isolated during these trying times.
The trip encompassed a range of group activities, allowing participants to engage firsthand with AFYBA’s impactful work, including:
- A visit to army bases near the southern border.
- A tour of towns and villages affected by recent events.
- Visits to schools converted into army bases.
- Meetings with representatives of hostage families.
- Engaging with survivors of terrorist attacks in hospitals.
- Harvesting citrus fruits in Kibbutz Alumim, next to the Gaza border, and packing citrus fruits in Paamei Tashaz, near Netivot in the south.
- Visiting Reim Park and commemorating all those who lost their lives at the Nova music festival.
- Lunch and Mincha services at Yeshivat Bnei Akiva Ohel Shlomo in Beersheva, which has provided shelter to hundreds of IDF soldiers.
- BBQ for IDF soldiers in a base next to Beit Lechem.
- Exploring Sderot and the Reim Commemoration Park for those lost at the Nova music festival on Oct. 7.
- Serving dinner for IDF soldiers in Tekoa, Gush Etzion.
“The war has significantly impacted AFYBA schools, and the lives of our students and their families, but our students remain resilient, doing what is right for the country while maintaining their education through Yeshivot Bnei Akiva,” said Gourdji.
Following the tragic events of Oct. 7, AFYBA’s efforts to transform tragedy into unity with immediate response persist. The recent surge in violent incidents has left numerous families shattered. Recognizing the urgent need for unity and assistance, AFYBA continues to spearhead vital efforts to provide aid and bolster national security. Ongoing initiatives include:
- Creating Sanctuaries: AFYBA-affiliated schools have transformed into sanctuaries, offering refuge to displaced families affected by terror attacks, and providing essential support including food, shelter and daily care to individuals of all ages.
- Educational Adaptations: Amid repurposing schools for relief efforts, AFYBA students have transitioned to online learning and are actively involved in agricultural endeavors, demonstrating resilience and dedication.
- Military Support: Yeshiva Bnei Akiva Eli has been repurposed as a military base to support “Operation Swords of Iron.” AFYBA invests in advanced military equipment, including ceramic bulletproof vests, helmets and drones, to enhance the military’s capabilities against terrorist threats.
“We deeply appreciate everyone’s compassion, solidarity and unwavering support. Your contributions to AFYBA fortify our mission to stand steadfastly with Israel during this crisis,” said Gourdji.
Every act of generosity counts. AFYBA invites all to unite in support of Israel. Contributions are not just donations but lifelines of hope and solidarity. See www.afyba.org to become part of this vital mission.
Founded in 1939, AFYBA has evolved into a network of 70 Torah educational institutions across Israel, serving over 24,000 students from diverse backgrounds. Renowned for their blend of religious and secular studies, AFYBA schools consistently excel academically and promote inclusivity. The organization’s commitment to social responsibility and national service is evident through its students’ active participation in IDF and national service programs.