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1,000 at Joyous Daf Yomi Celebration in Gush Katif

Arutz Sheva March 5, 2005

Among the participants were Chaim, who moved last week with his family to Gush Katif, and Yossi, who has been there ever since he fell in love with the residents’ lifestyle as a reserve soldier.

“Not every day do we see such a large crowd of residents, rabbis and guests gathering together in the main festivities hall in N’vei Dekalim.” So begins the description of last night’s inspiring Daf Yomi [Daily Talmud Page] concluding ceremony in N’vei Dekalim, the Gush Katif region’s largest community.

The Gush Katif region comprises 16 of the 25 Jewish towns which are slated for destruction in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Disengagement Plan.

With buses arriving from various yeshivot all over the country, the event was attended by some 1,000 people. They came to honor the Torah, the residents of Gush Katif, and an impressive array of leading rabbis who made the trek out to the beleaguered area. Among them were Rabbi Avraham Shapira, the leading rabbi of the religious-Zionist public and the dean of Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav Kook; Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Rabbi Shapira’s successor as Israel’s Chief Rabbi; and Rabbis Chaim Druckman, Dov Lior, Avigdor Nebenzahl, Yaakov Ariel, Yisrael Ariel, and many others.

The speakers spoke of the great dedication of the residents of Gush Katif to the Torah, the Land of Israel and the People of Israel. They noted that this was the third time that the entire 2,711-page Talmud had been completed in Gush Katif in the framework of the worldwide Daf Yomi program. An oft-mentioned theme was the persistence of the daily study despite the constant barrage of Kassam rockets and mortar shells.

Regional Rabbi Yigal Kaminetzky said, “An individual must be humble . but an entire public need not be. We must realize that this public sitting in this room has a leading role to play in our country. This public has values of Torah, the Land of Israel, of giving to the community and to others, of ideals… In light of the deterioration that we see all over the country, an increase in violence, drugs, lack of national motivation, yeridah [leaving the country], and more, we have a critical role to play in imparting our values to our brothers and neighbors!”

Among those in attendance were:

* Chaim B., who moved last week with his wife and seven children to the Gush Katif community of Bdolach (“crystal”) in solidarity with the struggle;

* Yossi G., who arrived in the Sinai community of Atzmona in 1981 to perform a month of reserve guard duty, fell in love with the people and their lifestyle of faith and commitment, returned a month later with his wife, and has never left since (except for when he was uprooted from his home, along with the rest of Atzmonah, in honor of the peace treaty with Egypt in 1982; he now lives in the present-day version of Atzmonah, together with many of the original Atzmona-ites, just to the south of N’vei Dekalim);

* Rabbi Ophir Cohen of Kfar Darom, three of whose children lost parts of their legs in a terror attack on their way to school in November 2000;

* students from N’vei Dekalim’s two yeshivot, Torat HaChaim and the hesder yeshiva (pictured above), as well as Kerem B’Yavneh, Merkaz HaRav, and many others.

The atmosphere was enhanced by spontaneous joyous singing and dancing. Children of all ages were prominently represented both inside the hall and outside, evidence of the vitality and spirit of the communities that the government wishes to destroy.

The event took place in a hall located in the ground floor of an impressive building that houses N’vei Dekalim’s two grand synagogues, Ashkenazi and Sepharadi. Two other prayer halls, for Edot HaMizrach and for the youth, also operate in the building.

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