Hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the 25th (Silver) Anniversary of the Rachel’s Children Reclamation Foundation (RCRF) on Motza’ei Shabbos, November 9, at the Manhattan Beach Jewish Center, to commemorate the yahrzeit of Rachel Imeinu (11 MarCheshvan), making it a special night to remember. The overflow crowd of nearly 300 people joined the Master of Ceremonies, activist Dr. Paul Brody, and his lovely wife Drora, as the evening got underway.
The national anthems were sung by Chazan Shea Rubenstein of the JCC of Marine Park. Rabbi Yair Hoffman, a well-known columnist and teacher at Machon Sara Torah Academy for Girls, was honored with the Rachel Imeinu Jewish Educator Award. Rabbi David Ashear was the keynote speaker, regaling the crowd with stories about his favorite topic, Emunah. There was also a wonderful surprise from Rubin and Cecelia Margules, who brought in superstar singer Gad Elbaz and his producer Danny Finkelman to introduce their new video, “We are Rachel’s Children.” Lyrics were written by RCRF founding director Evelyn Haies, with music composed by the talented Cecelia Margules. City Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who always comes to support the cause, didn’t disappoint. Also attending to demonstrate his support was NYPD Captain Richard Taylor who was on patrol at RCRF’s Yartzeit Commemoration the night before Hurricane Sandy.
The Eishes Chayil Award went to Nava Sivan of the JCC of Boro Park, and the Rachel Imeinu Chesed Award went to the Five Towns’ very own Allison Chait of Shabbos Brushups.
The Rachel’s Children Reclamation Foundation was formed to save Kever Rachel from the politicians who wanted to give away Mama Rachel’s gravesite to the Palestinians, as part of the Oslo Accords. Evelyn Haies, founder of RCRF, lobbied the Knesset to keep the kever in Israeli territory, and saved the bus line that goes to the kever, filling the buses up, so the planned cancelation of the bus line could not take place without protest. RCRF has also donated two sifrei Torah to Kever Rachel, which are used in weekly Torah readings, and helps supply food for a kollel at Rachel’s Tomb. The organization runs weekly shiurim, and hosts special simchos, such a bas mitzvahs. It also plans to create a beautiful chupah in a garden outside the kever, and a sculpture of a Rachel Tear to memorialize all of the Jews who have been lost to terror.
The Gala Dinner was catered by Traditions. The enormous Kever Rachel cake was donated, as always, by Pressers Bakery of Avenue M, in Brooklyn. Accolades go to Rabbi Ira Shleifstein for managing the beautiful catering.