October 2, 2000
3 Tishri 5761
I am sure that by now you are all aware of the fact that Rosh Hashana has not been a happy season in Israel. Tensions between Israel and her Palestinian neighbors, and tensions between Jews and Arabs within Israel, have been very great. There have been many cases of violence, and precious human life has been wasted.
I am writing to assure you that the Jerusalem school is tracking the situation closely. All of our students are well and safe, and they are working closely with our administration to ensure that they are aware of the situation as it unfolds. Following an advisory from the American Embassy, our students are staying away from the Old City and from East Jerusalem until the mood is calmer.
The entire Jerusalem team led by Rabbis Michael Marmur and Shaul Feinberg, our Dean and Associate Dean, are working closely with our students, and they are also in constant contact with my staff here in the USA. If for any reason you would like to speak with someone stateside, please feel free to call Mr. Arthur Grant, VP of Administration and Finance at 1-800-488-8720.
Friends, in the thirty years that HUC students have been travelling to Jerusalem for a year of study, much has happened in the region. We have been there to share the joys, and we are also there to accompany our brothers and sisters as they continue their quest - however difficult - for peace. Having just returned from a visit to the Jerusalem school with our Board of Governors, I can tell you how extraordinary this year's class is turning out to be, and how inspired (and inspiring) they are.
We'll keep in touch if the situation in Israel requires our further attention.
With best wishes for a year of learning, of joy, and of peace,
Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman