I just returned from a wonderful week in Eretz Yisrael. The main purpose of my trip was to visit our two children who are learning there this year.

However, due to the war and the fact that it is a time of significant challenge and difficulty for klal Yisrael, I wanted to contribute in whatever small way I could.

Based on the suggestion of friends, I joined a bunch of WhatsApp chats. One is dedicated to posting opportunities in fields and on various kibbutzim to pick fruits or help with basic farming. With so many soldiers at war, there is a need for volunteers to help maintain livelihoods and the Israeli economy.

There is another WhatsApp group for making sandwiches or meals for soldiers, tying tzitzis for soldiers, delivering food, etc. Another group posts opportunities to help families that have been relocated to hotels in Yerushalayim because their communities are too close to the war front. There are posts for babysitters to help overwhelmed mothers and setting up activities for the children. They also post sad information about funerals and shiv’ah visits for soldiers killed at war.

Every morning and throughout the day, my phone would buzz nonstop with holy Jews on these groups looking to contribute in any way they could.

I rhetorically asked a few people if in Ukraine there are similar WhatsApp groups set up for people eagerly looking for opportunities to help fellow Ukrainians suffering from the effects of war.

What a people we are!

One of the things I personally did was to join a day trip close to the southern Gaza border, arranged by a wonderful volunteer named Yossi Hoffman.

On the day of the trip, our bus left Yerushalayim and made its first stop outside Kibbutz Takuma, to where the vehicles burned on October 7 have been moved. It’s a frightening and horrendous site. Tens of burned-out skeletons of cars and vans are piled up in a mass junkyard.

From there, we continued to the site of the Nova music festival, one of the main targets of the October 7 massacre. There are rows of pictures of and messages to the victims and hostages. It is absolutely heartbreaking.

Our next stop was at Kibbutz Nir Oz, one of the hardest hit areas. The kibbutz is located along the Gaza border. On October 7, the terrorists entered the kibbutz before 7 a.m. and went from house to house, unimpeded, until the army finally arrived at 1:30 p.m. Aside from six, every house on the kibbutz was destroyed or sustained terrible damage. A third of the population of the kibbutz was murdered or taken hostage. Even now, over three months later, the smell of incineration hovers above the kibbutz. In between the burned-out homes, beautiful fruit trees grow as birds chirp peacefully above. It is the cruel contrast of life.

We were led through the kibbutz by a resident of the kibbutz who lived through the horrors of that day. He recounted what happened to each home, relating the name of the family and what happened to every member of the family. This included the home of Kfir Bibas, the cute redhead who recently “celebrated” his first birthday – in Hamas captivity. While walking through the kibbutz, we heard powerful explosions nearby, in Gaza.

Our final stop was the main objective of our trip, a barbecue for over 200 IDF reserve soldiers on the Magen army base. Everyone who attended the trip paid 400 shekel to cover the cost of the barbecue. The total cost of the barbecue exceeded 35,000 shekel. All the extra food was delivered across the border into Gaza later that night. After we ate, there was also a DJ and spirited dancing with the soldiers.

I had the opportunity to speak to a few of the soldiers, including the Rabbi on the base. It was a very enriching and enlightening experience.

I should add that two of the soldiers from that base were of the 21 soldiers tragically killed this week in Gaza. The battalion will enter Gaza for 12 days at the end of the month.[1]

It was a very special and moving day.

I asked Yossi Hoffman why he invests so much time and effort to arrange these trips when he doesn’t make a penny from it. He replied that, as a volunteer for ZAKA, he witnessed terribly traumatic things on and since October 7. He feels an overwhelming need to continually contribute to klal Yisrael to maintain his own sanity, and this is part of how he does so.

Yossi also delivers food packages for 4,500 soldiers every Shabbos, with most of the food being delivered into Gaza. Each package contains food for two Shabbos meals and costs $36 each. That means that Yossi must raise $162,000 EVERY WEEK to maintain his incredible chesed campaign to help our soldiers and enhance their Shabbos while stationed in a most miserable place. Since the beginning of the war, he has raised over $1 million.[2]

During the first plague in Mitzrayim – Blood – the Torah relates that Pharaoh turned towards his home and didn’t hearken to the message of the plague. Commentaries explain that Pharaoh had his servants purchase more than adequate amounts of water for the palace. Despite the fact that his country was suffering miserably, he was able to go back into the palace and hardly feel the effects of the plague.

Hamas and our enemies are worthy students of Pharaoh, lacking care or concern even for their own people. What matters most is their evil agenda.

Contrast Pharoah with Moshe, who grew up in the palace in the lap of luxury. Yet he left the comforts of the palace to seek out the pain of his brethren and to help them in any way he could.

Moshe Rabbeinu, our greatest leader, taught by example the way of the Jewish people. When others are in pain, we don’t close our doors and slink back into the comforts of our own homes. We worry for each other and concern ourselves with the collective pain of our people. This is especially true as the world hypocritically demonstrates indifference to our suffering.

As the signs and messages on the buses say throughout Eretz Yisrael: B’Yachad N’natzei’ach – Together we will be victorious.[3]

Rabbi Dani Staum, LMSW, a rebbe at Heichal HaTorah in Teaneck, New Jersey, is a parenting consultant and maintains a private practice for adolescents and adults. He is also a member of the administration of Camp Dora Golding for over two decades. Rabbi Staum was a community rabbi for ten years, and has been involved in education as a principal, guidance counselor, and teacher in various yeshivos. Rabbi Staum is a noted author and sought-after lecturer, with hundreds of lectures posted on torahanytime.com. He has published articles and books about education, parenting, and Torah living in contemporary society. Rabbi Staum can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. His website containing archives of his writings is www.stamTorah.info


[1] -  The following video is about the two soldiers who were killed this week (Please note that the background music has kol ishah): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLIdWclIVVs 

As the battalion prepares to enter Gaza, the Rabbi of the battalion, whom I met, sent me the following information for those who wish to donate to their security:

The campaign for fundraising for the Meler Battalion has launched! Together we will reach the goal to equip all our soldiers with protective equipment: https://youtu.be/EaAOLVFfA4U?si=aR6aiYs0k2CRzYyu 
For donations: https://www.jgive.com/new/en/ils/donation-targets/116238 


[2] -  The following video explains more about the incredible Shabbos package given to the soldiers each week:


The following is the link for Yossi’s ongoing campaign to bring meals for the IDF for Shabbos:


In addition, I can give Yossi’s WhatsApp number to anyone who would like to contact him directly for more information.

[3] -  Please note that I am happy to directly share the links or further discuss these important causes with anyone who would like. Please email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.