2012 Dedications

Givati Brigade 

Polansky Family

Israel, New York & Montreal


December 2012

In loving memory of

Joe Polansky z”l

The family of Joe Polansky z"l, IYIM Board member and long time Young Israel activist, wanted to commemorate his first yahrzeit in a meaningful way that illustrated Joe’s commitment to the Torah, the Land of Israel and the brave soldiers of Israel. Joez"l and his wife Rozanne, in partnership with the Tryfus family had previously dedicated a Torah to the IDF, and so the family decided that this was the most fitting memorial to Joe.


On Monday December 24th (10th of Tevet, the date of the yahrzeit) family and friends of Joe Polansky z”l headed south to the main IDF training base of the  Southern commands in Tzeilim for the dedication. 

On arrival they were met by Rav Zazuto, Head Rabbi of the Southern command and General Tal, Commander of this important Training Base. The group ate a nice lunch during which they were addressed by the Base Commander. He explained what goes on at the Base and the barrage of rockets it took in the recent war, including a direct hit that injured three soldiers. Also at lunch, Motty Polansky, Joe's son, made a Siyum and said Kaddish along with his brother Dovid, in memory of their father.


Following the lunch and Siyyum, there was a Hachnasat Sefer Torah procession outside the Base Synagogue. The IDF Commanders, Rabbanim and soldiers were honored with carrying and dancing with the Torah, as well as Joe's sons and Ari Drazin, Joe’s grandson, who is studying at Yeshivat Hakotel. Others honored were Ceec Harrishburg (President, IYIM), Dr. Sheldon Abramson (IYIM-Board) and many friends, some who knew Joe for over 60 years.

The Sefer Torah was also dedicated to Joe’s neighbor, Raphael Yonah, on his second yahrzeit, 11 Tevet. Raphael was another American oleh who, with his wife Dawn, also lived in Nof Zion, Jerusalem and died the year before. In fact, Joe’s last mitzvah was saying the final kaddish for his friend and neighbor.


IDF Rabbinate Base

Bnai Raphael Chesed Org.

Brooklyn, NY


November 2012

The Bnai Raphael chesed organization of Brooklyn decided to make a special contribution to the IDF and its efforts during the recent fighting in Gaza and the Southern communities.

President of Bnai Raphael, Raphael Hazan stated, “We wanted to make our contribution to Israel and her brave soldiers—and we know that the Israeli army does not operate only on its physical might. We also wanted to present something that would continue to be utilized after the war. We are glad to have been able to make this unique contribution.”

The Torahs were brought to Israel by director of Bnai Raphael Jonathan Terebelo, together with Raphael Hazan’s son, Moshe. They were escorted by executive director of IYIM, Daniel Meyer, to the headquarters of the IDF rabbinate.

Moshe Hazen, a graduate of an IDF fighting unit, emphasized how important it is that every soldier be able to fulfill his every spiritual need while serving in the IDF—whether that be to lein from a kosher sefer Torah, put on a pair of kosher tefillin, and more.

Daniel Meyer, when presenting the certificate of appreciation, stated: “Thank you to Raphael, Jonathan, Moshe, all those associated with Bnai Raphael, and Rabbi Pesach Lerner, exec VP emeritus, National Council of Young Israel and co chairman of American Friends of IYIM. We are proud to be a conduit between generous shuls, families, and individuals who realize the importance of every IDF base and reserve unit having its own sefer Torah. On day four of the war last week, many sifrei Torah left this base to the numerous soldiers and reservists who found themselves relocated to the South from their regular bases.”

Credit: http://5tjt.com/bnai-raphael-we-are-with-the-idf/



Air Force

Harvey & Judy Kasdan



October 2012

50th wedding anniversary

50 Years and Still Dancing


Harvey and Judy Kasdan, formerly of Los Angeles and now Baka, Jerusalem saw a presentation on Pesach. In the 49th year of their happy and devoted marriage this presentation solidified in their minds how they wished to celebrate their 50thwedding anniversary along with family and friends. The presentation was of the International Young Israel Movement – Sefer Torah for the IDF project at the Eddie's Travel – Pesach Hotel in Netanya.


Having decided to do something meaningful to commemorate this special milestone, Harvey and Judy chose this program because it best represented their love of Torah, love of the Land of Israel and love of the people of Israel, best represented by the brave soldiers of the Israel Defense Force. Their Torah was dedicated in memory of their beloved parents and a cousin who was killed during the Yom Kippur war.


On October 10th, two days after Sukkot ended, the Kasdans along with over 50 friends and family members travelled to the Hatzerim Air Force base in the Negev to present their Torah. On arrival the group was met by the Rabbi of the base Yisrael Stoller and were taken on a guided tour of the Air Force museum. The group saw pre-independence planes through to the F-16 fighters.


Then began the “party” as the group met up with a large contingent of soldiers who led the Torah on its musical journey from the Base Commanders office to the Beit Knesset, with many guests and soldiers holding and dancing with the Torah. On entering the Beit Knesset the dancing continued with gusto. When it finally slowed down Harvey placed the Torah in the newly built Aron Hakodesh.  Rav Chagai (Chief Rabbi of the Air Force) spoke, followed by the Base commander who presented Harvey and Judy a plaque of thanks, and then Harvey addressed the crowd.


At the celebratory lunch that was held in the Officers dining room Rabbi Ian Pear and Daniel Meyer addressed the guests and thanked the Rabbanim who had organized the event.

Daniel Meyer (Exec. – Director of IYIM): “We thank the Kasdans for seeing the vital importance of the spiritual well being of our soldiers. We are proud that this is the eight dedication we have made to the IDF in 2012 and have another five lined up before the year is out.”



Search & Recue - Zikim 

Bernstein Family

Woodmere, New York 


October 2012

Milestone - Bar Mitzvah


Sayeret Matkal

Mr. & Mrs. Alex Shraga 

East Brunswick, New Jersey


August 2012

In honor of the brave soldiers of the IDF

The legendary Sayeret Matkal unit is the most elite and most secretive unit in the IDF. It has been the spearhead of many famous undercover operations (eg. Entebbe) most of which are still classified.

That is the reason this dedication could not take place on their base but rather at the Intelligence Corps Museum and Memorial. Two commanding officers from the unit came in civilian clothes came to meet and thank the Shraga’s and the other participants in person and were joined by a “Haredi” unit from the intelligence branch to celebrate the event.

After watching a film about the unit and presentations of certificates to the Shraga family from the Unit and IYIM, the Sefer Torah was joyously danced through an outdoor maze which represents the puzzle of intelligence work to the base synagogue. It was here, after pasukim were sung by various soldiers and officers, that Alex Shraga placed the Sefer Torah that he and his family kindly dedicated in honor of all the brave soldiers of the IDF. 


Iron Dome

David & Hannah Walles



May 2012

In memory of IDF soldiers who fell in battle​

The International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) - Israel Region and the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) facilitated on Tuesday May 15th the dedication of a Torah scroll to the IDF. The scroll was dedicated to the newest units in the IDF, the Iron Dome anti-missile unit that is under the Israel Air Force command.


The highly acclaimed Iron Dome technology was a reaction to the thousands of missiles that have rained down on Israeli citizens from Hamas-controlled Gaza. The system intercepted 90 percent of missile attacks on urban centers during the recent escalation in rocket attacks from Gaza towards Israel.


The joyous dedication ceremony took place on a base in Central Israel on Tuesday in the presence of the outgoing Chief Rabbi of the Israel Air Force, the IAF's Acting Chief Rabbi Rav David Levin, a Commander of the Iron Dome unit, IYIM Israel President Ceec Harrishburg, IYIMExecutive Director Daniel Meyer, Rabbi Eitan Perez of the Iron Dome unit, as well as officers and soldiers. The singing and dancing reached a peak as the Sefer Torah was placed into the empty Aron Hakodesh.


The scroll was dedicated by Mr. David and Mrs. Chana Walles, family and friends in memory of all the brave IDF soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in the defense of Israel on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of their business, Eddies Kosher Travel.


Air Force

Dr. Joseph & Judy Berger


April 2012

In loving memory of Dr. Berger's parents

Dr. Joseph and Mrs. Judy Berger from Toronto dedicated a Sefer Torah on the occasion of his 70th birthday and in loving memory of his parents Avraham Zalman & Dina z”l.

Due to the secret nature of this specific air unit located in central Israel, the small but moving ceremony took place in the headquarters of the IDF Rabbinate on the Tzrifin Air Force Base.

On arrival to the base the Berger’s and their family were met by Mr. Ceec Harrishburg (President, IYIM-Israel), Mr. Sheldon Schreiner (Chairman of the Board, NCYI), Lt. Col. (Res) Rabbi Yedidya Atalas, Rabbi Druckman (Head of Sofrut, IDF) and other officers. The contingent was given a tour of the Sifrei Torah laboratory of the IDF where they met and spoke with the sofrim as they worked on Sifrei Torah and Megillot. At this stage Dr. Berger presented the Torah to the IDF.

This was followed by a briefing from Rabbi Atlas, who gave an overview of the varied work the IDF Rabbinate does throughout the army, navy and air force. This included the various programs this unit operates aimed at strengthening the Jewish identity of Israel.

This was followed by a speech by Dr. Berger who explained why he had chosen to commemorate this special milestone by dedicating a Torah to the IDF and noting the importance of a strong Israel to the Diaspora communities. 


Givati Brigade Headquarters

Young Israel of Manhattan

New York

January 2012

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the YI congregation of Manhattan

On January 19th, 2012 the Mora D’atra of theYoung Israel of Manhattan , Rabbi Yeshaya Siff, accompanied by his wife Rita, 3 grandchildren, shul Vice President David Sitzer and shul members Mr. & Mrs. Arfe, presented a Torah to the IDF on the occasion of the 100thanniversary of the shul.

The Sefer Torah which was originally presented at the annual National Council of Young Israel dinner in New York had been transported to Israel where it was repaired and then checked by the IDF Rabbinate.

Travelling from Yerushalayim, the Manhattan contingent was met at the gates of the Tzrifin base by two officers who escorted them to the Bad 11 base. There they were met by the Base commander who together with Rabbi Siff led a joyous dancing parade through the base till the synagogue where Rabbi Siff placed the Torah into the Aron Kodesh. After, the base's chazan and the Rav made Mi Shebarachs for the soldiers' welfare, the Base Commander on behalf of the army and Daniel Meyer on behalf of the Young Israel Movement made speeches in the presence of the soldiers. This was followed by a Dvar Torah and Dvar Chizuk from the Rav. This was followed by a reception in which the contingent was able to mingle informally with the soldiers and then daven Mincha.

Before leaving the base, the group was summoned to the Base Commander’s office where he made a presentation of gifts to the Rav & Rebbetzin and the other participants as a token of gratitude for this kind gift. The commander emphasized the importance of a Torah to the army and the importance of the close relationship of Diaspora Jewry and Israel.   


IDF Rabbinate Base

Leo V. Berger Fund - 

Challenge Grant

Israel & New York



In honor of Israel's armed forces

Harvey Schwartz, President of the Leo V. Berger Fund was in attendance as the Fund once again dedicated a Sefer Torah to the IDF Rabbinate via the Young Israel Sifrei Torah for the IDF Project. The Torah held special significance as it was saved from the ashes of the Holocaust and today in it's restored state will be a proud “member” of the IDF and be used on a combat base.


Mr. Schwartz noted that the Torah was part of a series of Sifrei Torah that have been given to the IDF through a Challenge Grant given to the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM). For every two Sifrei Torah that IYIM facilitates to be given to the IDF, the Leo V. Berger Fund will dedicate a third. Next in the series will be a small Sefer Torah that will be placed on an Israeli Navy submarine.