2017-10-11 / Voice at the Shore

Young Israel’s Rabbi Orimland honored by ZOA

By ELLEN WEISMAN STRENGER Voice shore editor


Rabbi Yaacov Orimland (left), religious leader of Congregation Young Israel of Margate, received the Guardian of Israel Award from Greater Philadelphia ZOA Co-President Lee Bender at the ZOA’s 2017 Gala last month. 
Photo by Richard Chaitt Rabbi Yaacov Orimland (left), religious leader of Congregation Young Israel of Margate, received the Guardian of Israel Award from Greater Philadelphia ZOA Co-President Lee Bender at the ZOA’s 2017 Gala last month. Photo by Richard Chaitt Rabbi Yaacov Orimland of Young Israel of Margate received the “Guardian of Israel Award” from the Greater Philadelphia Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) at its 2017 Gala on September 12 at the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue.

The award recognized the rabbi for his “fervent speaking and teaching about Israel and his devotion to the Jewish State,” according to ZOA, which is the oldest pro-Israel organization in the nation.

“We have to be the voice for Israel,” said Orimland to the nearly 300 gala attendees from Philadelphia and beyond, who included some of the rabbi’s congregants and supporters from the Jersey shore.

“I say, there is no anti-Israel, there is no anti-Zionism, because it’s all anti-Semitism,” said Orimland, whose words were enthusiastically applauded.

“Therefore, my friends, let’s stick together,” he added. “It doesn’t matter if we are observant or non-observant….we all know one thing: Israel is God’s land and He gave it to all of us sitting here. Let’s not forsake Israel. Let’s be there, let’s teach our children and grandchildren and our students that passion and love, and let’s not only say it but live it: Am Yisroel Chai!”

Orimland, who grew up in Miami, lived in Israel for 15 years. While there he ran Nishmat Shlomo, a yeshiva for American kids who abused drugs. He still maintains a home in Tzfat and visits at least twice a year. He and his wife, Suey, have eight children and 29 grandchildren.

The rabbi credits his conviction to speaking out on behalf of Israel to his mentor, the late Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the beloved Lubavitcher Rebbe. “Every Shabbos when he would speak of Israel, there was nothing more important to him.” The Rebbe encouraged his students to go to Israel, open up centers there and join the Israeli Defense Force, to show that “we are one people forever and ever, whether we wear a black yarmulke or no yarmulke,” said Orimland.

Also receiving awards at the ZOA Gala were Allen L. Rothenberg of The Rothenberg Law Firm, who received the ZOA’s Pillar of the Community Award; Jonathan S. Tobin, opinion editor of jns.org and former editor of Philadelphia’s Jewish Exponent, who received the Ben Hecht Award for Outstanding Journalism; and Jim Showers, executive director of Friends of Israel, and his wife, Diane, who received the Friends of Zion Award.

Return to top