COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – As the one-month mark of the conflict in the Middle East nears, a local rabbi is preparing to get a first-hand look at what’s happening.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik said the idea behind the trip is for leaders to join together to express solidarity.
“The opportunity to meet people who are suffering, have suffered and may very well continue to suffer is important and a display of unity with the people of the state of Israel and also bearing connection to the Jewish community and the greater community of Columbus as well,” Skolnik, rabbi at Tifereth Israel, said.
Skolnik will arrive in Israel on Monday, and while it’s hard to say exactly what he’ll be doing during his time there, he has a general idea.
“We are going to meet with family of those who are in captivity, meet with family of those who have lost loved ones and people who are continuing to be killed in mourning for members of their family who are no longer with us,” Skolnik said.
The leaders will meet with local and political leaders to be briefed on the conflict as well.
“We’re also going to going to the South, hopefully, assuming that we can, to see some of the areas that were attacked,” Skolnik said.
He won’t be going empty-handed; Skolnik stopped by Columbus Jewish Day School on Friday.
“They made me cards and banners for me to hand out at different organizations and different places that we have the chance to visit,” he said. “I’m also bringing things and supplies that were donated by members of my congregation, Tifereth Israel, as well as people in the community, for soldiers there and cards that were made by kids in our community as well.”
His daughter, Hadar, is a student at CJDS.
“Me and my class, we all made cards, and I wrote my whole card in Hebrew,” Hadar Skolnik said. “We wanted them to know that we’re thinking of them, and we know how they feel.”
Skolnik said this is an opportunity that he won’t take for granted.
“I get the opportunity to act as an emissary really for many different groups within the Columbus Jewish community which I am honored and proud to do,” he said.
While Skolnik will only be gone for a few days, he plans to take what he’s learned and share it with the Jewish community in Columbus.