For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Friedman - When the Exodus was now
05 April '12..
The Passover festival of 1946 found the men of the 680th Company, a British army transport unit, in the southern Italian town of Capua.
The soldiers, Jews from Palestine who had signed up to fight in British uniform, were poised between two wars. The world war had ended a year before. Israel’s independence war, in which most of them would fight, would break out the following year.
A copy of the Haggada they created for their seder meal 66 years ago was preserved in a wooden box kept by one of the unit’s soldiers, a 23-year-old driver named Nathan Rubin. It is a unique snapshot of a moment in Jewish history: a glimpse of the mindset of young men who saw the traditional text as a description not of a distant national memory but of events unfolding before their eyes.
Rubin and his comrades from the 680th were part of the British army’s Jewish Brigade, an outfit formed two years earlier and made up of Palestinian Jewish volunteers. At the time of the seder in 1946, with the Nazis defeated, the company’s soldiers were busy siphoning off British army supplies and borrowing trucks to help the Jewish refugees who had been reaching the brigade’s troops in growing numbers since the German surrender. These were broken people who were often reduced to tears, according to contemporary reports, by the sight of armed Jews and their brigade patch, a golden Star of David.
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I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"