Friends In Emanuel
Synagogue-based mission to Israel will include a stop in the congregation's "adopted') town.
There is a drop-off point for the toys
inside the Torah Center, and Sharfman
also offers to pick up donations for peo-
ple unable to deliver them.
SHELLI LIEBMAN DORFMAN
he simple, spontaneous comment of
an American visitor to Israel has led
to a relationship between the people
Israelis Give Thanks
of the tiny Jewish West Bank settle-
Sharfman saves the many letters of
ment of Emanuel and a group of Detroiters
thanks that have come to the synagogue
getting ready to visit them.
from people in Emanuel.
The inclusion of a stop in Emanuel during
Letters include descriptions of the
the upcoming Sara Tugman Bais Chabad Torah
townspeople's injuries and losses.
Center Solidarity Mission was sparked by a
"One woman lost her mother and
bond that began with Rae Sharfman of West
one of her twin baby daughters in an
Bloomfield. During a mission to Israel several
attack on a bus," Sharfman says. "When
years ago, Sharfman says, 'We visited Emanuel
her husband heard of the attack, he ran
and saw it was such a poor town. Someone on
to help and was shot and killed."
the trip said it would be nice if somebody
The woman, who was pregnant, lost
helped the people who live there."
an eye and suffered other injuries, as did
Upon her return home, Sharfman went to
her 4-year-old son.
her synagogue, Sara Tugman Bais Chabad
"The town has gone from a popula-
Torah Center, and met with the board of direc-
tion of 700 families to 400 families in
tors and her rabbi, Elimelech Silberberg, to dis-
the last half-year," Rabbi Silberberg says.
cuss how the congregation could "adopt" the
"But those who remain are determined."
One Emanuel resident, Yosef Ben-
"Immediately, the rabbi took over,"
Chanan, wrote the synagogue to express
Sharfmari says of the project that began 18
"sincerest thanks for your encouragement
months ago. "He got things going, collecting
and support in our time of sorrow."
money to send to Emanuel to be used in their
Such sentiment and gratitude from
residents is what spurred mission leader
The focus of their fund-raising changed
Rabbi Silberberg to include a visit to the
after two terrorist attacks occurred in the town
town in his itinerary.
in an 11-month period. Contributions totaling
Emanuel is located in northern
$10,000 were sent to help the terror victims
Shomron (Samaria), in the West Bank.
and their families. "There were 10 people killed
Rabbi Silberberg has arranged an alter-
in one attack and six or seven the next time,
nate itinerary for mission participants
and many injured," says Rabbi Silberberg.
who would choose not to go there
Then, a few months ago, Sharfman
With some toys collected for children in Emanuel are Rabbi Elimelech
because of security issues.
received a letter from Rabbi Shraga Rice,
Silberberg, Rae Sharfman and her grandson, Jake Sharfinan, 17, all of West
"For that reason, we will have a sec-
deputy mayor of Emanuel, and Rabbi
ond itinerary for each time we have an
Ephraim Greenberg, director of Emanuel's
option outside the Green Line," he said.
kindergarten program. "He said what they
The Dec. 26-Jan. 5 mission, to be
really needed there was toys," Sharfman says.
based primarily in Jerusalem, will include overnight visits to Tel Aviv, Masada and
"So, we decided to expand our collection of money to include toys for their chil-
dren. One of our members [Kenny Bonin] makes duffle bags so when we hear of -
The cost of the trip, which has been subsidized by an anonymous donor, is
someone going to Israel, we ask if they will take a duffle bag full of toys to the rabbis
$1,595 from New York, and refundable until two weeks before departure.
"Whether participants decide to go to Emanuel or not, their presence in Israel is
oys far Jewish Children
Donations of new or gently used toys for the children of Emanuel may be
dropped off at the Sara Tugman Bais Chabad Torah Center, 5595 W Maple
Road, West Bloomfield. Checks may be mailed to the same address, with a
otation that reads: "Emergency Fund."
For information or requests to have toys picked up, call Rae Sharfman,
important," says Rabbi Silberberg of the trip, which is open to all members of the
"We will have a good time and it will be a spiritual, teaching trip. We'll be there
when they need us — showing our support. And we'll be bringing toys." ❑
For information on the Solidarity Missiori to Israel Dec. 26-Jan. 5, call
Rabbi Elimelech Silberberg, (248) 855-6170.