Last Tuesday, October 17, Divrei Chizuk spearheaded the Queens Gear Drive at Bais Yaakov of Queens, where they collected over 100 duffel bags worth of men's undergarments, towels, hygienic goods, baby powder, protein bars, foldable mattresses, and tactical water bags.

The following Tuesday, October 24, Rabbi Russek himself boarded an ELAL flight with the baggage to deliver the items.

The Kew Gardens community’s Sh’mitah Adopt-A-Kollel drive aids farmer Avichai Koch, the son of Holocaust survivors. His parents came from Europe to a moshav near Tel Aviv where they worked the land, grew olives, herded cattle, and sold chickens until their retirement. Avichai continues the family tradition at Koch Farm, located on Moshav Tekuma, four miles from the Gaza Strip, where he maintains a series of handmade greenhouses that produce everything from cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, radishes and scallions to herbs and mangoes. Avichai miraculously survived the massacre, and now his son is fighting on the front lines. Unable to farm due to the war, Avichai and his friends have transformed his packing house into a distribution center to aid the soldiers and displaced families. Avichai, whose farm stretches for acres, is no stranger to living with emunah, successfully seeing miracles each Sh’mitah cycle. Living near Gaza has forced the Koch’s to always be vigilant and have much faith in the Iron Dome.

Heshy Greenberg of Kew Gardens maintains a close kesher with Avichai, and together they implemented the Queens Gear Drive. “It is our hope and prayer that our items will bring much needed relief to the chayalim and Israeli families in need,” said Greenberg at the collection.

By Shabsie Saphirstein