Rachel Noach grew up in Bet Hagai, a small community in Judea. In her childhood home, prayer, observance of Biblical values, and Zionism took center stage. Her childhood was magical and innocent, with summers spent playing outdoors, barefoot, using the entire community as one big playground. But just beyond the small, pastoral neighborhood, were extremely hostile, Arab cities and villages. At the height of the Second Intifada, when Rachel was in 7th grade, the dangers escalated. She recalls several terrorist attacks involving knife-wielding Arab terrorists infiltrating Bet Hagai. There were countless bloody attacks, Arab terrorists murdering Jews in their cars or while waiting at a roadside bus stop. Rachel counts on her fingers: seven Bet Hagai residents were murdered by terrorists during that time.
She knew God gave this land to the Jewish people, and the Jewish people, in turn, have a moral duty toward the Land.
Rachel grew up deeply rooted to her ancestral homeland. She also attributes her passion to her grandfather. After immigrating from Europe prior to World War II, he married, raised children, and always considered the fact that all his grandchildren lived in Israel, his greatest achievement. When Rachel was 19, she began her second year of national service, serving on behalf of the Jewish Agency in a Jewish community in Maryland. She worked with school children, teens and college students. A proud Israeli Jew, she hoped to share some of her enthusiasm and help American Jews connect on a deep level to Judaism and Israel. Rachel beams, as she reveals that the oldest daughter of a family that she became particularly attached to that year, emigrated to Israel a few years after she left Maryland. Rachel had made an impact! Speaking fondly of her year in the U.S, Rachel describes life there as easy and comfortable; the roads were safe, and she could easily travel wherever she wanted, without fear. But while there, Rachel experienced an existential epiphany. Yes, life in the US was enjoyable, without the constant struggles over land and the right to exist. But it also lacked the familiar added value – the mission. Upon her return, several warring thoughts ran through her mind. On the one hand, Israel had so many challenges. On the other, she knew God gave this land to the Jewish people, and the Jewish people, in turn, have a moral duty toward the Land. Rachel understood her responsibility and embraced her mission wholeheartedly. After graduating from university, Rachel and her husband, Yochai, wanted to raise their children where they were needed, and where their contribution would be significant. They chose Nofei Nechemia. Rachel’s eyes sparkle when she describes wanting to be a part of something important.
“It means the world to us, knowing that we are not alone, that you are protecting us from our hostile neighbors.”
The week Rachel and Yochai were set to move to Nofei Nechemia, they received the terrible news: Yochai’s brother, Oren, was killed in Gaza when a missile hit his armored vehicle. The entire family was devasted. They observed the Shiva, the Jewish week of mourning, up north, at Yochai’s parents’ home. As is customary, the mourners remain at home, and friends come to visit and comfort them throughout the week. Among the visitors were people from Nofei Nechemia; people they had never met before traveled all the way to the north of the country to comfort them. Rachel and Yochai were both surprised and touched. “We had not yet moved in; we were not yet their neighbors, but they came.” At that moment, the young couple knew they had chosen the right community. They were the 39th family to join Nofei Nechemia. Rachel smiles, remembering the movers’ shock when they arrived at the tiny caravan that would become their home. “It looked like a cardboard box on top of a forgotten hill,” she recalls. Once settled in, Rachel immediately joined committees, volunteering her time to help their new community flourish. With her polished English, Rachel often welcomed CFOIC Heartland Christian groups at Nofei Nechemia. And later, she became the community’s official liaison with CFOIC Heartland. Rachel understood the importance of nurturing the relationship between Nofei Nechemia and Christians all over the world. A few years later, they moved into a bigger caravan, and finally, after five years of waiting, they moved into their permanent home. In the earlier years, the people of Nofei Nechemia struggled with power shortages, metered use of electricity, and bursting water pipes. Today, the community is connected to the national electric grid and a proper water main. Sitting in her large new kitchen, Rachel shares what it means to be a pioneer in modern-day Israel: “I am so excited that I can now use the air conditioner and dryer at the same time! It’s Zionism 2021!” Rachel Noach is so grateful to you, our wonderful CFOIC Heartland donors, for your generous support, especially for so many emergency needs. “It means the world to us, knowing that we are not alone, that you are literally protecting us from our hostile neighbors. I hope you can come visit us soon.”