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July 28, 2002


This is a story about how a small community can make a difference.

Shaaray Tefilah is a modest congregation in North Miami Beach with fewer than 200 families. Like many communities throughout the US, the members of this congregation sought a way to help Israel in these troubled times. The lack of tourism and the deteriorating security situation have caused many businesses to close, generating unemployment and the near collapse of the Israeli economy.

Maimonides teaches that the highest form of tzedaka is to bring work to the faltering, thereby contributing to their economic solvency without the loss of self-respect. Congregation Shaaray Tefilah teamed up with, the website for kosher restaurants in Israel, and developed a two-pronged program that brings both needed revenue to Israeli businesses while saluting the Israeli security forces. In this plan, an American community adopts an Israeli army unit, and sends each soldier to dinner at an Israeli restaurant. The soldiers enjoy a well-deserved break and the restaurants receive an infusion of badly needed cash.

Congregation Shaaray Tefila launched this program by adopting The 51st Golani Brigade. Moved by the story of Gedalya Mellick, a courageous young Golani soldier killed in the line of duty during Operation Defense Shield, this congregation took on the ambitious goal of treating each soldier in this brigade at a kosher Israeli restaurant. was asked to be the interface between the American community, the army, and the restaurants.

So far the congregation has raised $10,000 from their community. This sum will start the ball rolling. But they don't want to stop there. The congregation would like to encourage other communities to adopt their own army unit and continue the project across the entire Israeli army.

Here are some pictures from the ceremony with the Golani brigade.

If you have any questions, or are interested in starting this program in your synagogue, please email

Shetizku l'mitzvot

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