February 13, 2011
A month of many Bar and Bat Mitzvahs
Dear Friends, Shavua Tov,
Yesterday we read Parashat ‘Tetzave’ which teaches us the importance of maintaining the light of Judaism (Ner Tamid) alive.
1. We had such a beautiful Shabbat at Or Hadash! On Friday, Feb. 4th, we had a packed synagogue in spite of the cold weather. We celebrated the Bat Mitzvah ceremony of a very sweet and talented girl–Shira Baker, who lead the prayer and gave a sermon. It was very meaningful to all of us since Bat Mitzvah ceremony is one of the main ways we improve the Israeli society.
On Shabbat we celebrated three Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremonies. The first Bar Mitzvah at 10.00 AM, a Bat Mitzvah at 12.30 PM and the last, smaller celebration was a Bar Mitzvah at 3.00 PM.
On Sunday, Feb. 6th, we had a double joy first celebrating Rosh Chodesh (beginning of the month) with our preschools, and second since it is the (Hebrew) month of Adar that we celebrated, it was very joyful.
In the picture: Our preschool children celebrating Havdalah Rosh Chodesh.
Also on Sunday, I had a very interesting meeting with Dr. Nikolai who is a researcher of the Reform Movement from Haifa University. We met in my office for a long and fascinating discussion.
2. On Monday, Feb. 7th, on an extremely stormy day, I went to Ma’aganim school in Kibbutz Ma’agan Michael to prepare B’not Mitzvah for their upcoming group Bat Mitzvah ceremony on Feb. 25th at Or Hadash.
This is the 11th consecutive year Or Hadash has been celebrating the Ma’aganim B’not Mitzvah ceremony. 25 girls will be celebrating their very special Bat Mitzvah at Or Hadash this month.
To an American Jewish girl, celebrating Bat Mitzvah in the synagogue is the norm. In Israel however, only one girl out of a thousand dare celebrate an equal ceremony to boys, in a synagogue, wrapped in Talith, Kippah and reading from the Torah.
Celebrating a ceremony for 25 girls at once makes it so much more special and proves that Reform Judaism brings a significant change into Israeli society.
Each girl will come up to the bima to read her own individual portion from the Torah. Each of the girls has been studying with me individually for months, in preparation for the ceremony, which will include around 500 guests.
On Monday, as a last preparation before the ceremony, I recorded for each of the girls her very own Torah portion to study and recite at the ceremony.
In the pictures: Learning prayers goes hi tech; Edgar records individual Torah portions into the girl’s cell phones and a computer software that sends the Torah portion via email to each of the girls.
3. As you all know, we have been helping and supporting the Ronen family from Kibbutz Beit Oren whose house was burnt in the Carmel fire, as was Emee Ronen’s ceramic studio. Emee’s son, Yiftach Ronen will be celebrating his Bar Mitzvah at Or Hadash on Feb. 19th.
Many of you dear friends have generously donated to make Yiftach’s Bar Mitzvah a wonderful celebration and for that we and the Ronens are grateful!
If you would like to compose a note of a blessing and say a few words to Yiftach, we will collect and print out your emails and put them in a special book for him. I think this would make his Bar Mitzvah celebration even more special.
4. We are looking forward to hosting many friends who are coming to visit us at Or Hadash:
We are honored and looking forward to hosting the interfaith organization Focolare President, Maria Voce, who is visiting Israel from the Vatican for interfaith dialogues. President Voce will visit Or Hadash on Feb. 17th.
Rabbi Steven Sirbu from Temple Emeth of Teaneck along with 22 congregants will be our guests for Shabbat services and a dinner on Feb. 18th.
Claire Ginsburg Goldstein and her daughter Shira will visit us for a day on Feb. 25th.
Rabbi Danny Allen and members of ARZA will honor us with a visit on Feb. 27th
Rabbi Andy Busch and 45 Baltimore Hebrew Congregants will visit us on March 15th for lunch.
Our good friend Rabbi Joel Soffin with a company of 4 will be our guest of honor at Shabbat services on March 18th.
On March 16th Or Hadash will be hosting 50 Sisterhood members from Israel and the US for a special evening program.
Rabbi Yitzhak and Shona Husbands-Hankin from Eugene, Oregon along with 37 congregants will have a group tour at Or Hadash on March 21st.
Rabbi Neal Gold with a group from Temple Shir Tikvah in Wayland, MA will be our guests on March 25th. Rabbi Gold will give the sermon during Shabbat services while I will be giving the sermon at Shir Tikvah in Wayland at the same time.
Our good friend Geri Rose from Temple Micah in Washington DC will visit us sometime at the end of March.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend,