Vacationing with Compassion: How to Support Israel While Still Taking Time Off| Rav Yaakov Neuburger

Special Guest Episodes {{episode.audio_date_recorded !== '' ? formatDate(episode.audio_date_recorded) : episode.post_date.slice(0,10)}}
War in Israel {{formatDate(episode.audio_date_recorded)}}
Vacationing with Compassion: How to Support Israel While Still Taking Time Off| Rav Yaakov Neuburger

About the Episode

Welcome to an episode of The Jews Next Dor! Our gest today is Rav Yaakov Neuburger. Rav Yaakov is Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva University and Rabbi at Congregation Beth Abraham. We are talking about how to vacation and still show compassion and solidarity in times of crisis.

Rav Yaakov provides advice on adjusting vacation plans to support Israelis facing hardship. We discuss simple ways to connect kids to the situation through simple creative projects. Offer your kids a refreshing change from typical vacations while sending an important message of solidarity.
Tune in to hear more!

00:00 Introduction
01:17 How do we approach our vacations this year?
05:18 Showing support to Jews in Israel
08:56 What should a vacation look like?
11:22 We are not being deprived, we are contributing
13:33 Posting on social media
14:22 Share with kids your thoughts and feelings
17:22 Focus on what you should not what you shouldn’t be doing

Here is the original email referenced in the episode:

Just over a month ago – a very long month ago – we took time on
Shabbos morning to reflect on this year’s mid winter yeshiva break,
which will likely, and appropriately, look much different from those of
previous years. Unfortunately, we are now much closer to winter
break but not at all distanced from the daily grinding tragic loss of
chayalim, and the enormous network of profound pain that comes
with each loss and injury.

At that time we referred to Moshe Rabbeinu’s censure of the tribes
who, as he understood it, wanted to settle with their families “outside”
the mainland, and not take part in the military acquisition of the land:

האחיכם יבואו למלחמה ואתם תשבו פה
Do you think your brothers should head out to battle as you stay
settled here?!

Those words and Torah’s mandate to be “בעול נושא“, to partner in the
pain and responsibilities of others, have successfully inspired and
driven a remarkable communal response of incessant davening,
increased learning, over-the-top generosity, creative kindness, and
effective lobbying. Most importantly, our appreciation of each other
and of Jews with whom we disagree, our faith and our resolve to grow
have all been strengthened.

* * *

Nevertheless, we would feel the sting of Moshe Rabbeinu’s rebuke if
yeshiva break finds us soaking up the sun in some faraway place, or
enjoying the rarefied amenities of an upscale resort while our brothers
and sisters endure the longest days and nights that one can dare
imagine. Surely, as a people who takes pride in our oneness, we
cannot be unmindful of friends, cousins and siblings in Eretz Yisrael
who can only relive and savor the most recent parting moments of
their closest. While it would perhaps be ideal to bring all of our families
to join in the war effort in Israel – and you may want to consider the OU
group in formation – that is well beyond most of our means, and
presents the nearly insurmountable challenge of finding appropriate
supportive roles for our children.

Clearly, to impose on ourselves and our families unstructured days of
boredom and restlessness is unwise, wasteful and unhealthy. Truth be
told, our lives often include an unhealthy level of stress, distance and
distraction which we cannot easily disentangle in our homes, no
matter how large and comfortable they may be. For some, the
getaway helps to balance an otherwise precarious family structure.
For others, these days bring grandparents and grandchildren together
and strengthen family bonds.

To be sure, the specific circumstances – the stresses and the
pressures, the needs and opportunities, the ages and personalities –
differ from family to family. Nevertheless, the decision-making
process can be relatively uniform in our community and this will help
us strengthen each other.

Here are some of the “drivers” or decision-makers that come to my
mind, which I hope you will consider as you plan for the month ahead:

● If you are at a stage in life that affords you the privilege of
spending hours studying Torah, then please maximize your time
in a local bais hamedrash wherever you may be. The added
zechus of learning even as we are pulled in another direction is
expected of us, as it is one of the most powerful contributions we
can personally make to insure the safety of our chayalim.

● Moreover, this year the “getaway” should be just that. Let’s try to
assess our needs and goals honestly, and employ our
self-awareness to calibrate how far we truly need to travel, and
which amenities and activities are truly necessary. I am sure that
the very exercise will be blessed with siyata dishmaya and be
impactful well beyond this specific decision.

● Similarly, I pray that Hashem will give us the language to explain
to our children why this year is different, endowing them the
sense of pride that comes from empathy, rather than the anxiety
from which we seek to protect them.

● Perhaps the “social media test” will be helpful: What sort of
reception would my vacation picture receive when posted to a
family chat which includes my nephew stationed outside of Gaza
or Kiryat Shemona, as well as his mother, wife and children?
How would I feel if my vacation picture went out as part of a
promotional collage which can easily reach random families in

* * *

Allow me to close this “big ask” with a poem that Peshi and I
discovered recently, though it is quite well known in Israel. Penned
during wartime by the renowned Israeli poet Chaim Gouri, a hero of
the War of Independence, it coined an evocative response to the most
natural Israeli greeting, and gives expression to what we all carry in
our hearts:

?! ָמה ְׁשלֹומָך
ׁשֹואלים אֹותי ברחֹוב
ֲאנָשים למינֵיהם

ְׁשלֹומי כשלֹום עמי
ֲאנִי משיב להם,
וְָאז פֹולטים הם אנָחה קצָרה
ְּכשתפים לעת צָרה.

How are you – ma shlomcha?

They ask me in the street-
People of all stripes;

I am only as well as my people
I respond to them

And then they release a short sigh
As partners in difficult times.

Praying that will be blessed with the strength, togetherness and
endurance that these times require and that we will soon partner in
the celebration of genuine peace and its many blessings,

Follow us!
Gen Aleph Website –
Twitter –
IG –
YT –

Submit your questions

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.