I am so excited for Shabbat tonight. At Kol Ami we welcome our dear friend, Chair of the Agudah from Tel Aviv, Mike Hamel. Mike is an extraordinary person. A full time volunteer at the Agudah, while still working. He is a father and the face of the Israeli LGBT movement. The Agudah has branches also in Eilat, Beersheva and the Gallilee He has been chair for several years and was chair during the horrific 2009 attack on the Bar Noar, the Youth Lounge program that killed not only Nir Katz the social worker who ran the program but one of the teens , Liz Troubishiand seriously wounded several others. The attacker was never found. But the trauma of that night continues for many who were there and the families of those young people. Through it all, Mike held the country and the community together. He is one of my heroes.
The center on Nachmani Street in Tel Aviv is all put back together. You can hardly tell anything happened there.
Mike will be with us tonight at Kol Ami. There is a special Shabbat reception in his honor at 7 pm and then Friday night worship at 8. He will speak at services as well. I hope you can join me and meet this true hero