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South Florida Rabbi says 700 of his students were called for military service in Israel

Glenna Milberg, October 12, 2023

Rabbi Kenneth Brander, Boca Raton Synagogues’ Rabbi Emeritus, moved to Jerusalem some years ago. His programs there now have hundreds of students who have made the same move from South Florida.

Brander told Local 10 News that 700 of his students are now putting their education aside to fight on the front lines for Israel following the attacks by the terrorist organization Hamas.

Students from South Florida are now deciding to head back and be part of that deployment.

“Everybody’s programs have been impacted,” said Brander. “Tonight, I’m going to a funeral of an alumnus.”

Capt. Elchanan Kamanson, 43, was shot as he scrambled to evacuate homes.

Roey Weiser, 21, who moved to Israel with his family, was killed trying to save his team from being surrounded.

“There is no one untouched,” said Brander. “There were so many slaughtered of all different nationalities. It reminded me of what my parents and in-laws would talk about during the holocaust.”

Brander, who used to lead a congregation from Boca Raton, told Local 10 News about the attachments and connections from Israel around the world, and as people of faith do, he sees the light in the darkness.

The rush to help, to volunteer, a national family dealing with divisions, is now united.

“Waiting on line and singing Hatikvah— the Israeli national anthem together while they are giving blood,” said Brander. “You’re seeing high school students cleaning out bomb shelters.”

The newest outreach for the rabbi is countless as students and young people deal with unspeakable trauma.

“Our students are seeing this,” Brander said. “They’re not seeing on video but seeing in real life, as they process what they need to process.”

Watch on Channel 10


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