July 25, 2011
Exciting Summer Camp, Torah Dedication, Many Dear Visitors
Dear Friends, Shavua Tov,
Summer at Or Hadash has been filled with activities and bustling with children’s laughter.
1. A Very Exciting Summer Camp
Our Moadonit (summer camp) is entering its fourth week of non-stop activities. Or Hadash’s young campers enjoy days filled with pool activities, games, educational fun, learning, nourishing meals, music, dancing and a very good time! We are running out of energy!! We would like to take the opportunity and send our deepest gratitude to Neil and Diane Exter, Rona and Howard Perley, Sol and Joanne Levin and Joanne and Peter Hoffman. Or Hadash’s young campers are having a blast thanks to your kindness and generosity.
In the pictures: Or Hadash campers enjoy cool, indoors activities.
2. Many Good Friends Visiting
On Thursday, July 7th we had the pleasure of hosting Ross Bloom from Temple Beth Elohim of Wellesley, MA. Ross, a rabbinical student, met with our conversion coordinator and teacher Natasha and participated in a lesson as well as at our Kabalat Shabbat.
On Friday, July 15th, we were thrilled to welcome Rabbi Linda Henry Goodman and her husband Steve, from the Union Temple of Brooklyn in NY for Kabalat Shabbat and a festive dinner.
On Monday, July 18th we welcomed 38 Na’Aleh teens from Boston who are visiting Israel. It was fascinating as always speaking to the youth, getting their impression of Israel.
In the pictures: Top right – Ross Bloom meets Natasha, our conversion teacher. Middle – the Na’Aleh Boston group at Or Hadash. Bottom Right – Rabbi Linda Henry Goodman and her husband Steve in my office.
3. Friends at Hartman Institute in Jerusalem
We would like to congratulate our very good friends Rabbi Eric Gurvis from Temple Shalom of Newton, MA and Rabbi Howard Jaffe from Temple Isaiah of Lexington, MA and many other good friends of Or Hadash, who enthusiastically attended the Hartman Institute summer seminar this year. Eric and Howard visited me in Haifa and celebrated my 50th birthday prior to attending the seminar. Thank you for your kindness!
4. Thank you Rabbi Richard Agler!
I would like to personally thank Rabbi Richard Agler from Temple B’nai Israel of Boca Raton, FL for dedicating his time and volunteering at Or Hadash for three weeks. Richard’s vibrant presence captivated everyone at Or Hadash and the staff befriended him immediately. Rabbi Agler’s immense assistance was beyond helpful to me and his presence at our services, in our classes and in my office was much appreciated. I have learned a lot from Richard and I hope his experience was similar. Richard and I initiated a join project to allow other American Rabbis who wish to volunteer their time and experience to congregations in Israel, to do so.
Thank you very much Rich!! It was an absolute pleasure having you here with us and we hope to see you again soon!
In the pictures: Rabbi Agler participating in our bible studies and our monthly interfaith study group with the Focolare.
5. Helping the Druze village of Osafia
As many of you remember, after the devastating Carmel fire we connected with the Druze village of Osafiaand offered our help in rehabilitating and restoring life after the fire. Mayor Wajea Kayouf hosted us in Osafia and then honored us by attending our Kabalat Shabbat services.
On Sunday, July 17th, I met with Mayor Kayouf again to discuss future plans and cooperation between our communities. We are initiating the establishment of a visitor’s center along with a petting zoo. Mayor Kayouf is thrilled with this project and wish to extend an open invitation to everyone who visits Israel, to come and visit Osafia. The Druze people live on top of Mount Carmel (only about 15 minutes away from Or Hadash), surrounded by the Carmel Forest. Their hospitality is peerless and well known around the world.
6. CJP Friends Visiting
On Sunday and Monday, July 24th and 25th we are attending and providing a home hospitality dinner for a group of friends from the Boston-Haifa Connection.
Or Hadash and the CJP have been working in cooperation for the last 11 years. We are very proud of our growing friendship and the wonderful cooperation with our friends at CJP who are doing amazing work for the city of Haifa.
7. Overseas B’nai Mitzvah
Summer this year is filled with many B’nai Mitzvah who are coming to Israel with their families to celebrate their special ceremony.
On Saturday, July 23rd, while trying to absorb the shocking and horrific news of the brutal massacre and bombing in Oslo, Norway, we celebrated a Bar Mitzvah ceremony for a family visiting from Norway.
The family’s grandparents have been Haifa’s residents for decades. Their pride and joy celebrating their beloved grandson was second to none, yet at the same time there was great concern to what was happening in Norway, where their son lives with his family.
We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to those who were wounded. We hope and pray for peace and peaceful times around the globe.
Next Shabbat, July 31st we will celebrate a Bar Mitzvah for a family arriving especially for the occasion from NJ.
In between, I`m honored to officiate and celebrate B’nai Mitzvah at the Southern Wall in Jerusalem as well as on top of Masada.
8. Dedication of Torah Scroll
On Friday, July 22, we welcomed Jerry Krivitzky and his wife Ronni Pressman from Temple Ner Tamid, inBloomfield, NJ. Rabbi Steven Kushner and Temple Ner Tamid congregation donated a Torah scroll to Kibbutz Beit-Oren. It was a very meaningful ceremony.
We would like to share with you Jerry Krivitzky’s Dv'ar Torah at the officiating ceremony of the Torah scroll at Kibbutz Beit Oren, on Shabbat, July 23rd:
The Torah concept of purity, or Tahor, is a strange one in a modern world. We tend to think of it as clean or unspoiled. But what I think it really means is something more like a state of readiness. Tahor is the condition we are required to be in when we approach G-d, to perform G-d's service. Cleaning ourselves up and even dressing for the occasion might be nice, but being 'ready' to do God's work is what matters most.
In this week's Torah portion, Matot, we learn there are two ways to purify the things or objects that have become impure, or Tamei, which I define as 'not ready.' We can either pass them through fire, or, if they are flammable, through water instead. Interesting that two elements, fire and water, both of which cannot exist at the same time in the same place, are capable of achieving Tahor. They also eliminate one another as water will extinguish a fire, while fire will evaporate water.
Torah is often compared to both fire and water. The idea that the Torah was written with black fire on top of white fire arises from the pillars of fire atop Sinai when Moses received the tablets. Water,
like Torah, is the source of life, like a living river it flows endlessly. We do not go more than 2 days without Torah, nor can we go much longer without water.
That we are standing here at Beit Oren, dedicating a sefer Torah, is not a coincidence. This Kibbutz has been ravaged by fire, and then drenched by water to put out the flames. Has Kibbutz Beit Oren been purified by this experience? When I met with Ran and Imi just 36 hours after the fire was extinguished, your attitudes were remarkable. You were exhausted from no sleep and weary from the emotional trauma of loss. But it was very clear to me that you were ready to re-build.
Even before you knew all the details, you were ready. You have been restoring your property, your buildings and your community for the past seven months. Now we bring you a sefer Torah, to help restore your spirit. From what I can see, you are ready for this too.
We hope this Torah will help to dry the tears and strengthen the souls of those who still suffer the effects of loss. Please know that our Rabbi, Rabbi Kushner and the congregants of Temple Ner Tamid in Bloomfield, NJ, are hoping this fiery light of Torah shines brightly, and safely, upon your community for many years to come.
Wishing you a wonderful week,