Photo Credit: Youtube
Col Geva Rapp

{Authored by Roz Lyons}

At a time when the religious ideology of the Army is being hotly debated in the media and between Israeli politicians and National Religious rabbis, the Jewish education programs run by the IDF in conjunction with Panim el Panim are clearly more important than ever.


Panim el Panim is one of Israel’s leading Jewish outreach organizations, working with the Israel Defense Forces and with secular High Schools to boost Jewish identity among young Israelis.

Col. Geva Rapp, Director of Panim el Panim, explains: “Officers in the IDF recognize that the motivation and morale of their young soldiers is crucial to their performance in the field. Every week we receive requests from army bases around the country to send our educators to run Shabbat programs for soldiers. Many of these young men and women come from secular homes and have never experienced Shabbat, or met approachable Rabbis who can answer their existential questions.

“We send young Rabbis with their families to each base to run the services, create an uplifting atmosphere at the Shabbat meals, give inspiring shiurim, and invite individuals to speak to them about issues of personal concern. These transformative Shabbat experiences engage hundreds of young Israelis from different backgrounds in the joy of Shabbat. We receive positive feedback from the officers after each Shabbaton, that they were memorable and inspiring.”

In order to raise funds to pay for its Shabbat experiences, Panim el Panim is holding a special Musical Kabbalat Shabbat event at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on Friday afternoon during Chol Hamoed Pesach. Among the speakers, Attorney L. Mark Zell, Chairman of Republicans Overseas’ Israel Branch, will discuss the political relationship between America and Jerusalem in the Trump Era. Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat will speak about the 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem, and Tsion Carasenti – one of the three “Kotel Paratroopers” pictured in David Rubinger’s famous photograph – will describe what it was like to recapture the Old City. Rachel Frankel, mother of one of the three boys kidnapped and murdered by terrorists in July 2014, will speak about the power of Jewish unity. There will be musical entertainment from leading klezmer artists and elegant refreshments from the King David Hotel kitchen.

Anyone visiting Israel over Pesach is invited to attend but registration is essential. For further details and to register, please visit or contact Keren at 052-873-9405 or email: