January 29, 2010
Shabbat Shira, Renewed Sefer Torah, B'nei Mitvah and Many Visitors
Shabbat Shalom, and Chag Tu B’Shvat Sameach! This Shabbat is called Shabbat Shira, because in this week’s Parasha, Beshalach, the children of Israel come out of Egypt and sing the Song of the Sea (Shirat HaYam). We know that in our sister congregations all over America, there will be a special Shabbat for songs as well as for the Tu B’Shvat holiday, which is cause for much celebration and simcha.
1. Renewed Sefer Torah at Or Hadash
This week we are very excited because we have successfully renewed one of our sefer Torah scrolls, which was in
desperate need of repair following many years of use in the synagogue. The scroll is very important because it is a Czech memorial scroll that was saved during World War II, and was passed down to us by our sister congregation in Westminster, England. Now that we were able to take it for extensive repairs, it is fully restored and ready to be read from. It can no be used for religious and educational purposes for the congregation, and the children of Haifa, who are taught about Judaism using this Torah during their visits to the synagogue. We are blessed and honored to have such a piece of history be a part of Or Hadash, and are excited to share this with the community of Haifa. Also, a formal celebration for the synagogue will take place in the near future.
2. Celebrating the Bnei Mitzvah of the Open School for Free Education in Haifa at Or Hadash
This morning, a celebration was held at Or Hadash for the B'nei and Banot Mitzvah children of two 6th grade classes of the Open School for Free Education in Haifa, and their families, to kick off the program which will see all of the students be called to the Torah for their Bnei and Banot Mitzvah celebration
And individual aliyot to the Torah. The group who is only at the beginning of their studies is expected to celebrate their collective simcha this late spring/ early summer.
3. Overseas Guests
We are excited to welcome guests from the following communities in the coming months:
Mary Rosenvinge from New York, on January 29th
Rabbi Alan and Jo Kay, Sally Klein-Katz and group from Temple Beth Emeth, Mount Sinai, NY, on February 12th
Rabbi Neal Gold, and yout director Deena Bloomstone and group of delegation of 14 teens from Shir Tikvah, Wayland, MA, February 12th-16th
Lenny, Hellen, and Sara Kruwelich, on February 12th
Rabbi Janet Liss, and group from North Country Reform Synagogue, Glen Cove, NY, February 16-17
We are very happy to welcome all of our guests to Or Hadash this coming month, and are especially delighted to receive our second group of teens this year who will be coming to spend time in our community hosted by Or Hadash families and youth. After receiving such warm hospitality from our many sister congregations during our youth delegations in America of the past 10 years, it is wonderful to host and show our appreciation in return.
We are also excitedly awaiting the arrival of:
Rabbi Danny Zemel and group from Temple Micah, in Washington, D.C, on March 12-13,
And Rabbi Howard Jaffe and group from Temple Isaiah, Lexington, MA, on April 23rd,
as well as many Passover guests in late March, including Lillian and Allen Menkin, and their granddaughter, Bekah Katz; Jessica Lenza; and Spencer Meador, from New York, on March 29th-31st.
3. Tu B’Shvat Activities
As mentioned in previous newsletters, we are excitedly looking forward to this year’s Tu B’Shvat activities that will take place this Friday and Saturday, January 29th and 30th. Of the many seders, services, and activities, perhaps the most meaningful is our tradition of planting flowers at Gan Menchel, in memory of community member Danielle Menchel (z’l), who was tragically killed in a terrorist attack in Haifa in 2003. This is a gesture that we do as a community to show that we have not forgotten, and to honor the memory of those taken unjustly before their time by hate and terror. The plants will breathe new life into the park with each passing year, and will stand as a reminder that even in times of celebration, we must remember times of struggle.
Other scheduled events for the holiday are: Children’s seder and this morning’s events for the preschool children and over 60 community families; Special services on Saturday night, which will feature this year’s Bnei Mitzvah class, and conversion students; and special services on Sunday night which will be translated to Amharic for our Ethiopian immigrant guests. This wonderful initiative is part of an ongoing project that the Or Hadash Sisterhood has coordinated under the leadership of President Anat Perelman, to help new immigrants integrate into Israeli society.
4. Helping our Brothers and Sisters to establish the Reform synagogue in Karmiel, Israel
This week, myself, and Or Hadash Executive Administrator,
Ami Perelman, met with the program director for Reform congregation, Yedid Nefesh in Karmiel, along with now acting rabbi, Gadi Raviv. Or Hadash is currently helping Yedid Nefesh to establish themselves, by helping them to find their first building for their community. Gadi Raviv was a Rabbinical student intern at Or Hadash for many years, and I am now proud to help him as a colleague, in his time of need.
5. A happy 75th Anniversary to our sister congregation in the UK, Edgware and District Reform Synagogue
Or Hadash would like to wish our sister congregation, EDRS, mazal tov on their 75th anniversary! The synagogue, which has become the largest in Europe, is lead extraordinarily by Rabbi Daniel Smith, and Rabbi Neil Kraft, and has enjoyed much success in its 75 years. We wish you all the best for another 75!
Wishing you all a Chag Sameah,and Shabbat Shalom, filled with many songs!