By: Fern Sidman
Wing Commander Col. Michael Homitschek and Chaplin Lt. Col. John Ditter welcome Rebbetzin Jungreis to Scott Air Force Base
On Tuesday, February 14th, over 500 members of the United States Air Force sat in rapt attention at the Scott Air Force Base near St. Louis, Missouri as Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, founder and president of Hineni, the international Torah outreach organization, delivered a captivating address on the power of faith in G-d during the darkest moments in the annals of history.
Having been invited to be the guest speaker at the USAF annual National Prayer Breakfast by the commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing, Rebbetzin Jungreis told her audience of both enlisted personnel and high ranking officers including generals that, “my very presence here today is a miracle of mammoth proportions and it testifies to the eternal faith that we have in G-d.” Recalling her experiences as a survivor of the Holocaust, Rebbetzin Jungreis declared, “I stand before you today as a representative of the Jewish nation. Logic dictates that we shouldn’t be here, but we are here. We have not only survived but we have prevailed over the innumerable tyrants that have risen up against us since time immemorial and this is due to our devotion to G-d through the incalculable power of prayer.”
As palpable emotions filled the room, Rebbetzin Jungreis told her audience of the lessons she learned from her revered father, of blessed memory, HaGaon HaRav Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, ZT”L, who instructed her to be ever vigilant with her words when speaking in public and to consider her audience. “My father would consistently remind me to always leave a gift behind when speaking and this priceless gift is the wisdom from Sinai that has defined us as a people.”
Expounding on the timeless pillars of faith that hold up the world, namely Torah, the truth of G-d, prayer and Gemilus Chassadim (acts of kindness), Rebbetzin Jungreis exhorted her audience to uphold the name of G-d in righteousness. As her emotionally charged address drew to a conclusion, tears filled the eyes of those present and Rebbetzin Jungreis received several standing ovations. Said one USAF Captain, who chose to remain anonymous, “In all my years in the service of this country, I have never witnessed an audience like this who have been totally transformed by the words of this righteous woman. Clearly, she is a living and breathing inspiration to us all; a paradigm of exemplary faith and courage. May G-d continue to bless her in abundance.”