It was just a year ago that the first GUSH KATIF MUSEUM DINNER was held at the Razag Ballroom, 739 East New York Avenue in Brooklyn, NY. At the time, Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo had contacted Dr. Joseph Frager and me about running the benefit dinner for the Gush Katif museum. Ambassador James Bolton and radio and TV personality Glenn Beck were both on the program, along with a host of others. It was a remarkable evening, filled with animated guests and brilliant talk.
Following in the tradition set last year, Rabbi Wolpo has once again arranged an amazing evening, March 9, 2013, 8 P.M., with Dr. Joseph Frager again acting as Chairman of the evening. The featured speaker this time will be Governor Mike Huckabee, a favorite of those who welcome truth and civility in reporting. Governor Huckabee has been to Israel many times and has visited the Gush Katif Museum. I was there with him when Mrs. Rivka Goldschmidt, a refugee from the Gush Katif expulsion, spoke to him passionately about the plight of the Gush Katif refugees. Rivka Goldschmidt will be with us at the dinner, to recount her experiences and those of her neighbors. Her story is sure to touch your heart. Rabbi Yosef Y. Jacobson will also be speaking on behalf of the rabbis of the Crown Heights Synagogues. Multi-media displays will be shown about the lives of the Gush Katif residents, as well as work executed by the former residents themselves. Guests of Honor for the evening include Rabbi Sholom Ber Drizin, Rabbi David Algaze, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, and myself, Helen Freedman. The dinner committee is chaired by Dr. Paul Brody and includes many distinguished members of the Jewish community. Musicians YONI and Choni Milecki will be performing during the evening.
A moving interview with Rachel Saperstein, one of the spokeswomen for the Gush Katif community, by Josh Hasten, has just been circulated. In the interview Rachel describes her frustration and disappointment in the government’s failure to act more quickly in enabling the still displaced persons to move into their permanent homes. The semi-annual AFSI Chizuk mission to Israel meets with the Sapersteins, Anita Tucker, and others each time we are in Israel. We saw the 21 flourishing communities before they were destroyed, and we visit the temporary caravans in which most of the people have been living since 2005. We have also seen some of the new homes and new communities, all of which are developing very slowly. Since it was not just their homes that people saw destroyed by the demolition crews when the 10,000 residents were forcibly removed from Gush Katif, but entire communities and farms, with all that is included in that picture, rebuilding is a laborious and costly exercise.