January 15, 2010
Tu B'Shvat - January 15, 2010
Shabbat Shalom! This Shabbat we will read Parashat Vayera, and important parasha where among many other event, G-d reveals himself to Moses through the burning bush.
Here at Or Hadash, we just finished a staff meeting, and discovered important events coming up this month in our community. Of course, we have some important friends and guests coming to visit us, many Tu B’Shvat activities both in 11 schools around Haifa, and at Or Hadash, and the first event of the year, to welcome and get to know our new 2010 Bnei Mitzvah families. Please see below for more details on these events and visitors.
1. A special condolence
Once again this week, we will be saying Kaddish for the mother of Neil Exter, Tzippora Ben Aharon V’Malka (z’l). Neil and Diane are Or Hadash’s main contributors towards our 22 Tikkun Olam, social action, and social justice projects, and our hearts and prayers are with the Exter family during this time of loss.
Another great friend of Or Hadash, Barbara Frank of Temple Beth David, in Galdwyne, PA, has suffered the loss of her Father-in-law, Lev Aryeh (z’l), for whom we will also say Kaddish for this Shabbat. Barb has been an advocate for Or Hadash for many years, and we send out deepest sympathies to her and her entire family during this difficult time.
Also, our hearts and condolences go out to esteemed colleague and friend, Rabbi Craig Marantz, who recently lost his, father George Marantz (Gedaliah Sharon Ben Avram v’Tzippah) (z’l). We will say Kaddish in his name this Shabbat.
2. Planned Tu B’Shvat Activities
This year on Tu B’Shvat, we our Preschools and congregants are planning the traditional activity of having a Tu B’Shvat seder, singing traditional songs and eating many different kind of fruit, to celebrate the new year of the trees. Then, everyone will make the short trip down the street to the beautiful Gan Menchel park, where the children will plant flowers. Gan Menchel is a park that was created in memory of Danielle, an Or Hadash member who was killed in a terrorist attack in March 2003.
Tu B’Shvat is a holiday that celebrates our trees, and the beautiful fruit that they bear each year. To commemorate this, the community will gather once more in the evening, for a community-wide Tu B’Shvat seder, and performance.
3. January-February Visitors
This week we will once again welcome, Professor Michael Krauss and his wife, today, January 15th, as they join us at Or Hadash for Kabbalat Shabbat. Michael, who I got to know last week on January 8th, is a visiting professor at Haifa University, from Arlington, VA. I look forward to having him with us again this weekend!
Next week, on January 21st, we will also welcome student Steven Morris, of Temple Judea, in Tarzana, CA, as he starts his prolonged stay in Israel.
On February 12th, a group of visitors from Temple Beth Emeth from Mount Sinai, NY lead by Sally Klein-Katz; Rabbi Alan and Jo Kay, will be here with us at Or Hadash for Kabbalat Shabbat services and dinner at the temple.
February 12th-16th, we have the privilege of spending time with more of Boston’s youth, when a group of teens from Temple Shir Tikvah inWayland, MA, will visit. The group of 14 teens will be lead by Deena Bloomstone.
On February 16th-17th, a group of visitors from North Country Reform Synagogue in Glen Cove, NY, lead by Rabbi Janet Liss, will come to spend time at Or Hadash. The group will enjoy a short program and dinner.
As always, we also welcome you, your families, and congregants to visit Or Hadash, whenever you are in Israel, and Haifa!
4. Important Event for Haifa’s Cohen Family
During the Second Lebanon War, when Haifa was under attack, many families who were scheduled to have simchas such a Bnei Mitvah and weddings, postponed due to the dreary atmosphere, and general lack of safety. However, at Or Hadash, and with the help of friends abroad, and the AJC, we were very lucky to be able to renovate our bomb shelter to become more than just a place to keep safe, but as a place of great meaning. There safe inside the concrete, among the mural paintings, and beautiful floors, we were able to also create a small synagogue to be used in times of war, when we would be unable to use our beautiful synagogue upstairs.
One family who took advantage of this new and safe synagogue was the Cohen family. Parents Shai and Peggy knew the importance of their son Guy celebrating his Bar Mitzvah on the date closest to his birthday that he had been practicing for months, and were determined to make it happen. In August, Guy took his place as the first Bar Mitzvah to have his ceremony during a war in the Or Hadash bomb shelter. This gave us all great hope and happiness during that dark time.
Now we are very excited to start preparations for Guy’s younger brother, Yuval to have his Bar Mitzvah with us at Or Hadash, hopefully in a time of peace, and in our upstairs sanctuary. We look forward to having this amazing family with us again for what I know will be another beautiful and touching ceremony. Still, we will never forget the great commitment of the Cohen family, in times of peace and war, and will cherish our memory of Guy’s memorable ceremony forever.
Wishing you all a Shabbat Shalom!