From Auschwitz to the IDF




Leibel Mangel grew up in a home where the refrain “never again” carried particular meaning. His grandfather, Rabbi Nissin Mangel was the youngest survivor of Dr Mengele’s experiments in Auschwitz.

As a young adult, Leibel left the comforts of life in the US to protect his people and land by joining the IDF. As a machine gunner in the Kfir Brigade, he took part in numerous high profile anti-terror operations.

Even after his military discharge, Leibel has continued his service by advocating for Israel and the Jewish people in both the mainstream and social media, in cities and college campuses throughout the USA. Leibel is a 2017 Jewish People’s Choice Award winner.

On August 28th, Leibel will be joining us in Raleigh to share his story. Join us for an evening celebrating Jewish pride, strength and perseverance.

This event is hosted by:

Chabad of Cary (co-sponsored by Voice4Israel)

Chabad Young Professionals Raleigh

Voice for Israel

Advance tickets: $10

At the door: $15

Congratulations to Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis

Cerelyn Davis

Durham Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis Inaugurated as President of National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives  

Voice4Israel congratulates Durham Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis for becoming the 42nd National President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).

Voice4Israel acknowledges the valuable training Chief Davis received at the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange. As reported in the city of Durham’s congratulatory press release:

"Chief Davis has experienced training opportunities abroad at the Emergency Preparedness College in York, England in 2005, and as a participant in an executive exchange session with the Israel National Police, in the cities of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Netanya in 2012. As a result of her mission, Davis developed a leadership curriculum designed to groom bright and extremely prepared leaders for 21st Century Policing."

City of Durham News
Bob Gutman, Cerelyn Davis
Durham Police Chief Cerelyn Davis and Voice4Israel Co-Chair Dr. Robert Gutman​

How to Talk to Your Children and Grandchildren about Israel (June 4 in Durham)

A panel discussion on how to help your children and grandchildren develop a love for and connection to Israel.

We are hosting two workshops – one in Durham and one in Raleigh. Each one will have a panel discussion on how to help your children and grandchildren develop a love for and connection to Israel. Panelists will present ideas appropriate for pre-school to college-age.

*This event is for adults.

Click here to REGISTER for the Durham event.

Moderator: Marcia Harris, Voice4Israel

Panelists: Rabbi Fred Guttman, Temple Emanuel, Greensboro; Amy Ripps, Beth Meyer Synagogue, Raleigh; and a StandWithUs Representative.

Red States, Blue States, and the Jewish State



About this Event

Often called “the most optimistic man in Israel”, he has been chief analyst 29r the Jerusalem Post for 20 years. He also teaches international communications at Israel’s College of Management. He is widely recognized and interviewed. Has been on scores of lecture arrangements. Raised in Chicago and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northwestern School of Journalism.

We thank our co-sponsors: Durham Chapel Hill Federation, Raleigh- Cary Federation, Beth El Synagogue, Kehillah Synagogue, Temple Beth Or, Beth Meyer Synagogue, Chapel Hill Chabad, Chabad of Cary.

Some images from the event:

I Love Israel with Jamie Rodny

Jamie Rodny

This is the ninth post in a series discussing love of Israel. Thank you Jamie Rodny!

When was the first and last time you visited Israel?

In 1999, when I was 16 years old, I went to Israel for a 2 month long trip with 118 Jewish teenagers from all over the Bay Area in Northern California. It was amazing and truly a pivotal experience in my life. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to go back even though I really want to experience the beauties of Israel again. 

What is your most memorable moment from the trip? 

The most memorable moment from this trip was being broadcast live to California from the top of Masada as the sun began to rise over the horizon. I, along with a few other excited teenagers, were offered the opportunity to tell our stories and experiences to our family and friends in the Bay Area. I was so overcome with gratitude and emotion in the moment of retelling my incredible adventure to my parents, little brother, and grandparents that I began crying while having the biggest smile on my face. My mother later told me that my tears of joy made everyone in the room at Cal State East Bay cry and laugh simultaneously. She said that in that moment, she realized that she had been wrong to argue with me about allowing me to go on the trip (she was scared for my safety). She could tell that the journey shaped my soul and was grateful that I won the fight, for once. Climbing the zig-zagging snake path up Masada before sunrise was a thrill. Walking along the same dirt paths as Jews did thousands of years ago made me feel connected to history. And being broadcast to tell my tale across the globe to my family was truly a gift. It was just a very magical experience in the holiest place on earth.

What is the best food you had in Israel?

The best food I had in Israel included the amazing chicken shwarma wraps and falafel in pita that we got from the street vendors. I absolutely fell in love with the Israeli chopped salad. And every chance we got, we ran to the ice cream truck or market to buy Magnum ice cream bars, which are the best ice cream bars EVER. I still crave that sweet tea that we were served by the amazing Bedouin people in the Negev.

Favorite place to visit?

I can’t just pick one place. My favorite places that we visited are Eilat, Jerusalem, Masada, the Dead Sea, and the Sea of Galilee.

Jerusalem or Tel Aviv and why?

Jerusalem. The incredible historic and religious landmarks outshine the nightclubs and restaurants of Tel Aviv. I also LOVED walking along the walls of Jerusalem. The Western Wall is also a very strong, magnetic place that causes one to have a real spiritual experience if they let themselves go there.

How would you connect Jewish youth here in Israel with the US?

Jewish youth should go on the same type of trip I went on for a relatively long period of time so that they truly learn and understand what Israel is all about. Israel is an experience. There is no other real way to connect people with a place. They must experience it for themselves. The week long birth right trips are nice, but I do not believe them to be THAT impactful. Going for a full summer to Israel with a big group of kids from your community is a very enriching experience. Thus, if Jewish youth can continue to go on summer long journeys that take them to every meaningful place in Israel, that is the way to connect them to Israel. The connection will remain in their hearts and souls forever and they will become advocates and defenders of Israel forever. I speak from experience.

Jamie Rodny earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Legal Studies, Theater, and Honors in Humanities with a Magna Cum Laude from the University of San Francisco. Subsequently, she earned her law degree from the University of California, Davis, School of Law. After graduating from law school, Jamie began her career as a Federal Investigator at the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development, where she enforces federal civil rights laws in housing and lending. Jamie is also a professional photographer, pianist, and singer.

Supporting the HRC Report in Durham

Voice4Israel and the Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill jointly sent this letter today, on behalf of the mainstream Jewish community, to the Durham Human Relations Commission. 

The Case for Supporting the Report of the HRC Subcommittee on the April 16 Council Statement

Dear Members of the Human Relations Commission,

As we have noted with appreciation, the HRC draft report was written with great care and clearly based on research, evidence, and listening to many people on all sides of this issue. Its preparation is admirable. We wish the Durham City Council had applied such great care and sensitivity in their April 16 statement. If the Council had, we would have never needed to bring this issue to the HRC. The HRC subcommittee is a wonderful role model for how the City Council should strive to seek out and listen to all voices.

It bears emphasis that we stated our primary concern from the beginning: “The City Council reached a hasty decision that made the mainstream Jewish Community feel marginalized and unjustly singled out.” We believe they profoundly misunderstand what the modern State of Israel means to Judaism as much of the American Jewish community understands it and we invite City Council members to increase their outreach to Jewish institutions and local community members to foster meaningful relationships and restore trust between the Jewish community and the city of Durham.

To be “marginalized” means having the community despise what we love, based on lies. We embrace justified criticism of Israel, but big lies are intolerable. There is nothing that has happened in Durham or any other city that can be traced to exchange programs. The advocates of leaving the name of Israel in the document chose to exploit the very legitimate effort of the Council to write a policy regarding policing. They asked the Council to add their campaign against Israel to the drafting. Their plan had been formulated and implemented in a national anti-Israel group. Their assertion that the subcommittee draft that includes removal of the name, Israel, from the Statement supports an unjustified and hurtful claim.

On the other hand, to leave the name in does nothing whatsoever to the policy to improve policing.

The assertion we heard Tuesday night that they are insulted by our request to remove the Council’s insult to us is most unusual. For us to object to an insult and ask that it be removed is quite different and cannot be insulting. Put more directly, there is no inherent right for anyone, especially a Government to insult, especially if it adds nothing of value and based on a big lie.

We will try to outline some key issues that arose in the discussion Tuesday night.

Those of you who were at the previous meeting, when the petitioners also discussed this issue in great detail will remember a set of influential speakers from the same group who gave the same talks. While there were new individuals who spoke Tuesday night, their ethnic group leaders had already given virtually the same talks.

We heard from them that Israel must receive a public rebuke based on their memories from another land. They and others have been saying so consistently for decades. Using gross lies (see attachment 1) to link the troubles in the Middle East to those here in the US was the basis of the national organizations that put together the plan executed first in Durham. There is no truth to their accusations of a causal relationship between police training in Israel and oppression of minorities in the US.

As we said in our first presentation: “The petition put forth from the Jewish Voice for Peace and other Israel-demonizing groups, which initiated the process in Durham is part of this hurtful process and is a painful echo of the ancient “blood libel” *. The petition includes the following: “The Israeli Defense Forces and the Israel Police have a long history of violence and harm against Palestinian people and Jews of Color.” This accusation is a classic case of using the Big Lie Technique: tell a big lie, repeat it often, until people start believing it is true. It added another big lie: “These tactics further militarize U.S. police forces that train in Israel, and this training helps the police terrorize Black and Brown communities here in the US.” There is no causal relationship between police training in Israel and oppression of minorities in the US. Charles H. Ramsey, Commissioner (retired) of the Philadelphia Police and past co-chair of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, explained “allegations that exchange programs with Israel are racist… nothing could be further from the truth… simply not true.”

We realize the deeply felt pain of those who suggest that Israel is evil, but that is irrelevant to the affairs of the City of Durham because not even the most avid Council supporter of including the name of Israel on the Statement could find any causal relationship claimed by them. It is valid to criticize Israel when the criticism is based on verifiable facts. However, when it is based on lies, it is illegitimate and harmful. It is not the job of the City Council to issue statements about foreign government actions that have no relation to our city, particularly when unfounded. We too object to adversity caused in Israel/Palestine by both sides, but we did not petition the Council to delegitimize the Palestinians.

According to its website, the Human Relations Commission provides open channels of useful communications among the various racial, religious, ethnic and economic groups in Durham and between those groups and the City Council so that misunderstandings and wide differences leading to conflict may be ameliorated. We ask that the Human Relations Commission formally conclude that this governmental decree was discriminatory and to call upon the City Council to take necessary corrective action.

As the sub-committee draft so carefully explains, there is no need to mention Israel in the April 16 statement. The purpose and vision of the statement initially named “the Israel Resolution” by Mayor Schewel, was to communicate the council’s vision for improving community relations between police and residents. As Councilperson Mark-Anthony Middleton has repeatedly and publicly said, Israel has nothing to do with this. The reason one has to believe that the Council agreed to include Israel in the Statement arose from the inflammatory petition Council members had received, an information sheet filled with outrageous lies and is attached above.

The Statement needs to be changed because it supports and legitimizes a deliberately concocted Petition which presents falsehoods as facts and attributes causal relationship when there is none. It criticizes “militaristic” training and then blames Israel for a non-existent pattern. These inclusions make the statement deeply offensive to rabbis, secular Jewish leaders, hundreds of others, and any fair-minded person, primarily because none of the allegations is true.

Even the claim, which has been repeated to the Commission twice, that no other country shares in police exchanges with other countries is false as seen here where England, Hungary, Canada, Brazil, Austria and Egypt are named; and reported here.

The question of the exact definition of the term “anti-Semitism is not relevant because all parties have agreed that the Council did not intend to write an anti-Semitic Document. We contend that unwarranted Anti-Israel Government sponsored action can and has led to Anti-Semitism by others. This history appears to be an unintended consequence. It is the responsibility of the Council to correct that.

In the words of Bishop Godbee: “When any population of our city is radically adversely affected by the words of its leaders, it is incumbent on the leaders to retract and apologize and not double down on their actions. For the leaders of our city to vilify a proposed program and demonize the people supporting it, based on empirical evidence, is an egregious use of power. To make such a claim is unacceptable for any reasonable human being. The leadership should be measured by its ability to serve all in the city. He ended by saying:” we have a wonderful opportunity here, which is to heal the great hurts in the city.

The request to reopen the Sub-Committee meetings to hear more from those individuals who spoke Tuesday night is an exemplification of the same pattern of provocation these individuals and groups have been using. They will repeat the same claims, lies, and distorted facts you have heard. They claim they have had bad experiences both here and there. That was the same messaging by their friends, heard at the last meeting. If you are going to resume the Sub-Committee hearings, we repeat a request we have made several times to both the Council and the Commission: please also take testimony from Police Chiefs Davis and Ramsey (and many others who participated in such exchanges) in order to hear a clear first-person account of what actually happens in the police exchanges in Israel.

Finally, we have included for convenience (second attachment) our last prepared document. Please read carefully.

Sincerely and gratefully,

On Behalf of the vast majority of Jewish Members in the area affected by the Statement

Robert Gutman, Co-Chair of the Voice for Israel

Jill Madsen, CEO of the Durham Chapel Jewish Federation

Michael Ross, Chair of the Voice for Israel

Larry Rocamora, President of the Durham Chapel Jewish Federation


*The phrase “blood libel” refers to the ancient lie that Christian children were killed to use their blood in the making of Matzah.

Thank You for Your Service and Happy Veterans Day

Joel Freelander, Veterans Day, Voice4Israel

Voice4Israel thanks our brave veterans for all they have done to protect the United States and world. Today we feature and honor veteran Joel Freelander of Chapel Hill. Joel is known for his generosity, volunteer work and love of family, Judaism, the United States, Israel, and much more.

"Not all military bases have rabbis. In my later years I became a Jewish Lay leader, filling in for the lack of a rabbi. This was a great experience as I worked with numerous leaders of many other religions and learned how to understand some of the differences that we all have."

Joel Freelander

Mr. Freelander, thank you for your service. Please share with us when and where you served.

I served in the United States Air Force from March of 1953 until February of 1975. I served in numerous locations in the United States, as well as in Alaska, Okinawa,Thailand, Viet Nam, The Philippines, and numerous other locations world wide on temporary duty.

What makes you proud about your service and the United States military?

My father and his family came from Russia to Lithuania, and here to the USA. My father’s younger brother served in WWII, and my father constantly told me about his family’s travels coming here, and what a wonderful country we had and how lucky we were with all of the opportunity and freedoms that we have here.

Tell us about your volunteer work now with the military.

My volunteer work has been with the United Service Organizeations (USO) and the Marines. That has been very rewarding to me as these young people in many ways have never been away from home. Through the USO we offer them emotional support and show them a warm face and positive ideas as to what they may see in the future.

Joel Freelander, Voice4Israel, Veterans Day
Joel Freelander with great grandson, Jack Aaron Arnold, and daughter Lt. col Martha F. Maddox

When active members of the military land back in the United States, what are some of the things they miss and they tell you? 

They have missed their families and loved ones, the meals and food here, and they miss their friends and the ability to either get an education or pursue their profession. Their overall comments are, “There is no place like the good old USA.”

What is something about serving in the military that some people may not know?


Many people do not really understand an 18 or 19 year old being on their own for the first time. Being away from family and friends AND starting all over – learning how to make their money last, how to try to save some of it – the responsibilities of so much that is theirs so quickly – how to make decisions, to prioritize, and also about going further with their education. Life is thrown at them quickly before they really understand what is happening.

What was your experience like being Jewish in the military?

Being a jewish person in the military is a rare breed. Not all military bases have rabbis. In my later years I became a Jewish Lay leader, filling in for the lack of a rabbi. This was a great experience as I worked with numerous leaders of many other religions and learned how to understand some of the differences that we all have.

You recently donated an American Flag to your synagogue. Why is that important to you?

I was delighted to donate an American Flag to my place of worship. I am a very proud American and a very proud Jewish man. The American and Israeli flags to me, should be a part of every religious house of worship. The reasons are simple. To show a positive strength and a faithfulness to the USA, and to Israel, for we have been able to have so many opportunities to benefit not only ourselves, but our families and so many other people all over the world. We should be very proud of being citizens of the United States of America, and of being Jewish, and again helping people and countries all over this world.

You are a proud supporter of the United States and of Israel. Why is Israel important to you?

I am also a firm believer in what has been accomplished by this country as well as Israel to help the entire world. My firm belief is that no country is perfect – no person is either. Yet I look back as a young person growing up, and watching how many people and countries that have been helped by us and Israel in so many ways. How many people know that the tiny country of Israel has helped to save our planet by at least 65 different ways. and that Israel and it’s people have invented over 45 of the greatest inventions of all time. These are facts! Look at the number of immigrants that have come here and made this country great. We have opened our doors to so many. Israel has made more contributions to this planet and people without ever asking for anything in return. Look at how the Israeli doctors and nurses have gone all over the world to help people in distress, including many of the countries that have fought against Israel. This is one of the greatest countries on Earth while being one of the smallest democracies. The world needs to praise and thank her many times over.

Standing with Israel in Carrboro

Standing with Israel 

Josh Ravitch, Amy Rosenthal, and Joel Freelander braved the heat today to bring their love of Israel to the Carrboro Farmer’s Market. They were joined by Emma and Jenny Blass. This joint venture between Voice4Israel and StandWithUs was a great success. 

Josh, Amy, Joel, Emma, and Jenny spoke to college students, families, and members of the community about Israel. Many people, including children and college students, were excited about the complimentary water, sunglasses, and coffee beans and stayed for the friendly and informative conversation. One college student listened intently as Josh discussed Israel’s impressive water recycling and water technology


Visiting Israel 

Amy, Josh, Joel, Emma, and Jenny warmly greeted the young children who stopped by with their families and helped them pick out sunglasses. 

A college student walked away from the crowded table saying she would like to visit Israel. A family who were considering visiting Israel were provided reading materials for the parents as well as reading materials for their children. The father was excited that he could read to his children about Israel while showing them beautiful pictures. 

Hats off to all involved for sharing their love and knowledge of Israel with the good people of Carrboro!

I Love Israel Series

Be sure and check out Voice4Israel’s I Love Israel series.