An Israeli Chabad-Lubavitch emissary is one of this year’s winners of the Jerusalem Unity Prize in Memory of Eyal, Gilad & Naftali.
The NIS 300,000 prize is a joint initiative of the families of the three teens, and will be awarded annually on the date the three were murdered by Hamas terrorists. This is the first anniversary of their deaths — an event that touched off Operation Protective Edge, a third war against Gaza terrorists and Hamas in Judea and Samaria as well.
The award is intended to acknowledge and advance the efforts of both organizations and individuals in Israel and abroad who work to promote Jewish unity in all circumstances.
Rabbi Nechemya Wilhelm has been the director of Chabad of Bagkok-Ohr Menachem in Thailand for the past 20 years. (Ed. Note: Serving the Jewish People runs in the family: the rabbi’s mother is a long-time volunteer with the Jewish social service agency, Colel Chabad.) The Bangkok Chabad House offers Jewish tourists a free place to sit and relax, internet access, local information, Shabbat meals and a place to get help in times of crisis. The rabbi and his wife Nechama began their work there in 1995.
Thailand is often at the epicenter of the natural disasters that occur in southeast Asia; Chabad always takes an active role in local and regional assistance, as it does everywhere else around the world.
Wilhelm told Chabad.org that he feels the award really belongs to “the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of righteous memory), who established our shlichus (mission) and to the endeavors of the thousands of Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries around the world who undertake it. This prize is for my wife, our children and for all of the emissaries who work here in Thailand under the leadership of head shaliach (emissary) Rabbi Yosef Kantor,” he said.
Wilhelm added that the prize is also for the more than two million guests who have passed through the doors of the Bagkok Chabad House in the past 20 years. They have proven that “one can put aside differences in outlook to reveal the Jewish essence that exists in all of us,” he said.
The other two winners of the prize were IDF Brig.-Gen. (res.) Ram Shmueli; Israeli composer and poet Rabbi David Menachem; and Re’aya and Yossi Apner.