Rapper and actor LL Cool J joined Jewish community leaders at the launch of The Ulmer Institute (TUI) on May 18th and showed his support for Israel and his connection with the Jewish community.

TUI was founded by Bishop Kenneth Ulmer and will focus on treating, researching and training around trauma relief for using methodologies developed by Israeli psychiatrists. LL Cool J spoke to the Jewish Journal saying, “I think that it is important, I just love everything that the institute stands for. I’m a member of his [Bishop Kenneth Ulmer’s] church and you know, I just think it makes sense to me, some things just make sense.”

Speaking of how he can relate to the terrorist attacks that Israel faces, he said, “You know, trauma is something we deal with everyday especially where I come from [Queens, New York], I mean growing up I dealt with it myself, it hits home, it hits close to me personally, I’ve seen some really traumatic events in my life, so I can relate and I think it’s important.”

Speaking about the importance of Jewish and Black relationships LL Cool J said, “I’m from New York maybe it’s not fair for me to talk about that because it’s real naturally normal to me to have Jewish friends, it’s just part of it, my grandfather was from the Bronx he came home with gefilte fish [a common Jewish dish] every week. I mean, I didn’t like it, no disrespect, but I loved him…. I always had great Jewish friends, always, they’ve been good to me.”

Asked whether he had been to Israel he answered, “I haven’t. I was just talking to somebody about that I would love to go. I would love to go. I really would. I’ve never been but first time for everything, right?”