Rabbi Deitsch had a very productive trip to Israel in October. Below are the updates he sent back while he was there.



We are about to take off.

It is a great feeling to see a full flight, yet as the check-in agent said, it is even more full of luggage and supplies that the passengers are bringing to Israel.

The feeling on the plane is great. People are feeling uplifted and everyone seems to be focused on a mission of bringing joy and comfort to Israelis.



When we landed, we were asked to go straight from the plane to visit with families that are sitting shiva after they received word that their children were murdered in Nachalat Oz. They only found out after five days of not knowing the whereabouts of their kids.

We then met with Sheli and Malki Shemtov, whose son Omer was kidnapped. They know that he is being held captive, as they received a video of him with his hands tied. It is absolutely gut-wrenching to speak with them and witness the immense pain and daily suffering they endure, not knowing how he is being treated or what the future holds. They were accompanied by friends, including an Arab who happens to be the father’s best friend.

Later, I met with Orly, the mother of Daniella who was captured by Hamas and is being held captive. She has not seen or heard from her daughter and is crying and waiting to hear something, anything, about her. She is surrounded by supportive friends.

We held meetings with former diplomats from the USA, Canada, Germany, and France. We need to do what we can to put together a collective effort to exert pressure on Hamas and secure the release of the hostages.



Coming as a representative of the Arizona community, I was warmly welcomed by the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau, and the Chief Rabbi of the Kotel, Rabbi Ari Rabinovitch. They shared words of inspiration for the nation, and in return, we offered words of encouragement for their leadership of the Land of Israel. Despite the immense pressure that the world is putting on Israel, we urged them to stay strong.

Later, I had the opportunity to sit with a group of teenagers from Kfar Maimom who had been forced to evacuate their homes. The entire moshav, consisting of 150 families (of the 6000 refugees) including mothers, fathers and babies, had to leave. Their moshav, located just 4 kilometers from the border, had become too dangerous. The constant sounds of fighting and missiles made it unbearable for the children, who had to seek shelter multiple times a day. As a temporary situation, they were relocated to a hotel until the situation calms down.

However, their situation is far from comfortable or easy. Their lives are on hold, unable to return to their routines and friends, confined to a crowded hotel. Despite this, their spirits remain high. They have a strong belief that G‑d is in control and that they will overcome these challenges.

I spent about an hour talking to teenagers, listening to their stories and offering words of strength and positivity. I bought them some treats to lift their spirits and listened and conversed to help them make sense of the immense turmoil they are experiencing.

In times like these, when innocent lives are disrupted and families are torn apart, it is important for us to come together and support one another. We must remember the resilience and courage shown by these teenagers and be inspired to lend a helping hand wherever we can.

I’m continually encouraged by the sheer strength and resilience of our people. “Me Keamcha Yisrael” who is like your nation Israel; the care and concern we have for one another and the support and love we give each other is unmatched.



A few moments ago, as we were nearing Soroka Hospital to visit the injured patients, we herd a siren red alert, indicating rockets were coming towards our location.

We pulled over and took cover.

In the hospital, we visited patients. One was just in the same scenario as us only two days ago. He was driving with his friend and he jumped out. Yaron lost his leg. He is visibly still shaking from the incident.

We met another patient who was holding his phone as a rocket broke through the roof of their guard tower. The shrapnel hit him and it broke as he was running. We then gave him a brand new iPad. This was the minimum we could do for him to calm down a little.

We met another young lady, Stav Bachar. She was guarding her post when 20 terrorists came towards them. She cut a gate to protect her fellow soldiers. She was killed as she was running – a bullet went into her back and through her stomach. Her family did not know. There was no communication for several hours. She was already in surgery when they were finally contacted and informed about her situation.

Dear friends, let us open our hearts. This is not a normal way to live. We are here for them, to cheer them up and provide a little comfort and joy in this horrendous war.



Our first stop was the southern city of Ashkelon, where we were briefed by Rabbi Mendel Lieberman, head Chabad Shliach to Ashkelon that is home to 25 Chabad Centers and an extensive network of schools and social service organizations. We heard from the director of the central security command center and were astonished to see a video presentation that featured the precise locations of the 1300 rockets that were fired into Ashkelon in the last two weeks alone. In the words of Ashkelon’s mayor, Tomer Glam, “no people whould have to live this way!”

Rabbi Lieberman shared that his city-wide staff members are without protective helmets. Rabbi Chaim Mintz from Bel Air, CA announced a pop-up fundraiser and within two minutes, $25,000 was raised on the spot for the purchase of the helmets to assure the safety of his staff.

From Ashkelon, we traveled further south to Sderot, the closest city to Gaza, less than a kilometer away. This beautiful city is eerily empty, as most of the city’s residents have temporarily sought safe haven in other parts of Israel. Five thousand people are estimated to still be in the city, but with most of the residents, including most business owners, gone. Chabad of Sderot is one of the only resources for basic goods, from groceries to toiletries. Rabbi Mentz got to work again and raised $32,000 for Chabad of Sderot’s operations.

After lunch at the Chabad Center, we proceeded to the Sderot Media Center for a briefing from Knesset member Amir Shikli, who was introduced by the center’s director, Gigi Butera. Gigi shared the miracle of her surviving the deadly attacks on Simchat Torah, which she attributes to her Shabbat/Holiday observance, which accounts for why she did not come to the Media Center shelter for safety. Because the Media Center is next door to the police station, many people go to their shelter for safety. On this fateful day, however, the Center’s proximity to the police station proved fatal for the estimated twenty people that were murdered in the Media Center, as the place was a prime target of the terrorists – the police station is, in fact, no more. We watched as bulldozers put on the finishing touches of the demolition, which began the day of the attacks. In the parking lot of the Media Center sits a bullet ridden car with blood stains covering most of the upholstery on the front two seats where a couple were shot to death as their young children hid in the back.

The climax of our day was an evening BBQ with over 125 spirited soldiers stationed in a military building in Ofakim. For two hours, we sang together, danced together, ate together, thanked them for being the Maccabee’s of 2024, and blessed them to return home with a resounding victory in Gaza. Their spirit and commitment to represent the land and people of Israel is unbreakable, unshakable and rooted in deep faith and love for our land and our people.

One of my colleagues on the trip, Rabbi Yitzchok Wolf from Chicago, offered the following analysis from the day’s activities: Soldiers, young and old, are clear in their message: Eradicate the Hamas threat completely, or this cycle will inevitably repeat. These soldiers, both young and more seasoned, have left families, jobs, and normality, to confront this pressing issue. Government officials and Minister Avichai Shikli expressed a steadfast commitment to fully eliminate Hamas. Israel experts from various fields are lending their professional skills in this time of conflict. The evacuees from southern towns face daunting challenges. Families have abandoned their homes and livelihoods to seek safer grounds. Despite hardships like trauma and disrupted education, children show remarkable resilience and an indomitable  will to prevail over adversity.

Those who fled the south have faced unthinkable hardships, yet their spirit is unbowed. The children, especially, embody a resilience that defies their years.

Chabad here has been one both a spiritual and physical oasis for those in desperate need. There’s a spiritual awakening in this country, unparalleled to anything I have seen before.

While ordinary citizens may waver in hope, it’s evident that a collective will, transcending politics and age, is forming against the enemy.

May this trying chapter in Israel’s story lead us not just to ceasefire but to a Shalom that endures.

I have many more pictures and videos to share if you want, let me know.

And now… meet Amit Ben Margolit. On Simchas Torah he was home in Cholon. He was called as a reservist once the attacks took place. Arrived and began eliminating terrorists. A grenade was thrown at him and exploded. He has burns across his body. It’s a miracle he survived! His left arm is currently paralyzed. I suggested we put Tefillin on that arm and it’ll help. He said I’m not religious and refused the local Chabad Rabbi… but since you traveled from the USA to visit me, I’ll gladly do it. May he have a speedy and complete recovery!


Perhaps the most difficult part of the solidarity mission is that we have to leave but as the Chasidic saying goes “we never say goodbye”. As we return to the States, to our homes and communities, we remember each and every home, army base, hospital room that we went to and the immeasurable amounts of comfort and strength we gd willing brought to these families. If only we could remain and physically stand there by the side of our injured, displaced persons, front-line workers, frightened parents of the kidnapped and our Jewish brothers and sisters fighting for our safety.

They have to continue fighting for their survival, fighting for their lives, fighting for our nation and land.

And for Boaz or Yishai and the many others who are still in the hospital, they have to learn how to use prosthetic hands and legs and deal with the new reality of their lives and future. 

For the soldiers, who don't know how long it will take to eliminate the terrorist organization Hamas, or g-d forbid how many lives will be lost.

For the displaced families, who still don't know when they will be able to return home, if it will be safe for them to do so and not be afraid for their children's lives.

What will it take for these families to allow their young children to return to the playground?

For the front-line workers, how much longer will they have to endure the hardships that these families have? Wil these mothers and father  need to keep coming to the Sderot Chabad Center for food? How long will they need to lean on the shoulders of Rabbi Butman in the Shomron for comfort and support? How long will it take for them to be able to live on their own in a free and democratic country, as they have been?

One night Rabbi Michey Rav-noy from Los Angeles brought  his guitar to the lobby and spontaneously began playing joyous tunes before you knew it the lobby was full of dancing and singing . While dancing with Itzik,  you can see the tears rolling down his face, the built up emotions that this strapping  young 19-year-old has,  the trauma he had to endure and now being able to sing together in joy will certainly carry him as he prepares to meet his unit on the front lines.  His friend Amram, who knows that our role is to stay strong to remain powerful, and walk with our heads held high. Ultimately the dancing turned into the  Hakofos that they did not have. While the holiday was cut short by the immense amount of bloodshed the sprit remains alive , 19 days later we were able to complete the holiday songs and dancing with the Torah’s. 

On my way out, I asked a pregnant mother standing there with her young children and one in  a stroller, who was evacuated from Kfar Maimon  "What can I do as an American Rabbi for you? How can I help you? How can I support you?" She said the most beautiful words. All she needs from us is our prayers. She asked us to say a prayer for them, and that will give them the strength they need to be there for their children and ensure their safety and security.

As I safely land back in Chandler, I would like to encourage you to continue to be strong and continue the mitzvot you had started doing for our brothers and sisters. I invite you to join us this Shabbos as I share first-hand stories and as we say "L'chaim" - to life, to good health, and blessings for all who need it. Let us make a resolution that we will not rest until each and every one of our brothers and sisters can walk the streets safely, be happy, and be a light unto the nations and each of the hostages are returned safely.

And together let us pray for the ultimate redemption the coming of moshiach right now!