Survivors Inspired at Zoom Conference on eve of Mameh Rachel’s YahrtzeitNovember 09, 2023
Dozens of Jewish women rescued from Arab villages by Yad L’Achim – as well as those still entangled in relationships with Arabs – participated in a spiritually uplifting event held in honor of the yahrtzeit of Rachel Imeinu.
In normal times, on the day of the yahrtzeit Yad L’Achim brings hundreds of survivors of Arab villages to the tomb of Rachel Imeinu in Beit Lechem to pour out their hearts in tefillah. The day before the visit, the women participate in a day-long seminar that includes meals and lectures on Rachel Imeinu and ways to strengthen their connection to Judaism. This year, due to the war, Kever Rachel was closed to visitors, but that didn’t stop Yad L’Achim from holding its inspirational, pre-yarhtzeit seminar, via Zoom.
For three hours, participants were mesmerized by Yad L’Achim speakers. Rabbanit Orit Solomon, the keynote speaker, spoke at length about Rachel Imeinu, focusing on aspects of the matriarch’s life that are especially relevant in our times. She told of the pain of exile and of Rachel’s crying over her children who were in distress and captivity – something that resonated with listeners who had been held captive by their husbands.
The message was painfully poignant today, with so many civilians and soldiers being held hostage in Gaza.
After the Rabbanit’s powerful address, each of the participants was given the opportunity to share a few words or to accept upon herself resolutions for living a more meaningful Jewish life. Many young women commented that the terrible massacre in southern Israel, and the war that followed, caused them to better understand their mistake. Some took upon themselves to observe Shabbos, others to be more strict about kashrus, and still others to send their children to Torani schools, kasher their kitchen or light Shabbos candles.
“The image of Rachel Imeinu is always a magnet for our clients, heroines who have left destructive relationships,” a Yad L’Achim official explained. “Rachel, who knows what pain and suffering is and stands before the Divine throne and davens for her children, is a role model that every one of them identifies with.
“Every year, we see how the trip to Rachel Imeinu has a tremendous impact on these women. Baruch Hashem, this year – despite the security situation – we were able to hold the seminar and witness the transformation in many survivors in the merit of Rachel Imeinu, who pleads for each one of these women and for her Jewish descendants.”