October 15, 2010
Or Hadash’s 9th youth delegation to the US, Sept.-Oct. 2010
On Thursday afternoon, October 7th, after a long, overbooked and very exciting 12 days of traveling in the US and meeting cherished friends, we landed safely back home.
It was very exciting to meet so many of our beloved overseas friends, catch up on the latest news, and sit for tea or a meal together, instead of communicating over the phone or in an email as we do most of the time. We love our friends dearly and miss them constantly. Thank you all so much for continuing supporting of our work at Or Hadash!
I would like to thank our board member/youth chairman/chaperone/driver and my close friend Shai Ivtzan for his endless contribution to the success of our 9th youth overseas delegation (and 8th to the US) since 2002 (every year, except in 2006-7 due to the war). I would also like to thank our wonderful teens who represented Or Hadash and Israel so nicely: Ayana Reiner, Ayelet Ivtzan, Noy Gutman, Rinat Grinberg, Ron Hirsch and Yonathan Tovim.
Most especially I would like to thank our wonderful hosts, Rabbis, Cantors, Educators and so many friends overseas, who welcomed us, fed us and hosted us so warmly and lovingly. We felt right at home. I must confess that we couldn`t see some of our good friends for lack of time.
I will now tell you about our tour to 13 Reform sister congregations, the great time we had and all the many wonderful experiences briefly:
On Monday, Sept. 27th, after one very long flight, we arrived at noon in Washington DC and were greeted by our good friend Rabbi Danny Zemel and the wonderful staff of Temple Micah. After spending some time together, we left to tour Washington DC on our own for a bit, to see Tyson’s corner and the street with the embassies and then came back to meet our host families for a wonderful evening. We also met Rabbi Esther Lederman, Temple Micah’s Assistant Rabbi, who is getting married soon. Our good friend Rabbi Jonah Pesner will have the honor of marrying Esther in Temple Micah (he also helped with the Shidduch). We would like to wish Esther and her (soon to be) husband Mazal Tov! May they have a very happy and healthy life together.
The next morning, Tuesday, Sept. 28th, we all met at Temple Micah for breakfast, followed by a visit to the National Mall. We spent most of the morning and early afternoon hours at the Mall, visiting various Museums, including the Air & Space Museum, the National Gallery, and the Smithsonian American History Museum.
Later that day we went for a tour at the White House and got back to Temple Micah for Hebrew school, where our kids learned about prayers and took part in a Hebrew lesson.
After Temple activities we all gathered at the Levy-Strauss family, who hosted Noy Gutman, to have dinner together. There I met our good friend Geri Rose who is connecting Or Hadash’s newsletters to Temple Micah’s web site. I was generously hosted once again by Louise and Rabbi Danny Zemel and I had the chance to talk to Adam and Ronit as well.
On Wednesday, Sept. 29th, we were out to complete what we didn't manage to see the day before. Rabbi Zemel joined us in the morning, which the kids chose to spend again at the Air & Space Museum, working the flight simulators and many other attractions. Danny and I went to see a show at the Albert Einstein Planetarium: “Journey to the Stars”. This time we stayed awake the whole time, 25 minutes! (not easy, believe me, when they shut the light and show the stars, its very soothing…)
In the early afternoon we visited in the Holocaust Museum, as we do every year. Later that day brought us back to Temple Micah to get ready for Simchat Torah.
It was beautiful! Everyone danced with the Torah, there was a celebration for the young students and their parents, Rabbi Danny Zemel gave me the honor of speaking to the congregation and the Or Hadash teens sang one of our songs.
This was actually our last day touring Washington DC since the next day we planned on going to Richmond and then leaving for Philadelphia.
Our thanks to families Rosenthal, Levy-Strauss, Lorenstein, Gaties, Rosenbaum-Sellers and Fuiershai for hosting our teens in Washington DC.
On our fourth day, Thursday, Sept. 30th, we woke up to a rainy day and headed towards Richmond to visit our good friend Rabbi Martin “Buzzy” Beifield at Temple Beth Ahabah in Richmond, Virginia. Beth Ahabah congregation is 220 years old and was the sixth congregation established in the US. The congregation’s building itself is over 100 years old. After showing us the beautiful building which was built in 1905, Rabbi Beifield invited us all to a Mexican lunch which was definitely an exciting and spicy experience for our kids.
Before saying our goodbyes to Beth Ahabah we had a short tour of the city of Richmond. We then headed out to visit our new friend Rabbi Amy Perlin at B’nai Shalom congregation in Fairfax, VA. Rabbi Perlin established B’nai Shalom congregation from a few families 25 years ago, to a vibrant congregation today. Thanks to her dedicated and loving work, the congregation counts some 400 families at the present. She showed us their synagogue and carefully explained about the Jewish values in their art.
After a quick yet effective shopping spree of 50 minutes at Target, we arrived back to Temple Micah for our last evening with our host families. I had the honor and pleasure to be hosted for the last two nights by our wonderful friends Prof. Bob Dorffman and Celia Shapiro. Bob and Celia are also members of Or Hadash and live in Haifa for several months a year.
Friday, Oct. 1st found us heading towards Philly. On the way we stopped in Baltimore to visit our good friend Rabbi Andy Busch at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, where our kids met with seventh graders. Baltimore Hebrew Congregation is one of the few Reform synagogues in the US that have a daily Hebrew School. Today they have 1300 members and a huge, very special and interesting building. Rabbi Busch told us about their almost 200 years of history and then invited us all for lunch.
After sight seeing Baltimore’s port area, we continued on our way to Temple Beth David in Gladwyn, PA, for Kabalat Shabbat with Rabbi Jim Egolf, Cantor Lilia Kasansky, Temple educator Susan Levey and many friends, which included Simchat Torah dancing and welcoming the new students.
I had the honor of speaking about 10 years of connection between our two congregations during the service. Previously we were all hosted by the Temple for a delicious meal organized by Jill Cooper. Our kids stayed at the Shul with Beth David kids that night, while Shai and I spent the night with our cherished friend Neal Peskin. Neal just lost his beloved wife Margie Peskin z”l. Margie was a dear friend of all of us at Or Hadash and a strong supporter of us. We all miss her very much. We always say Kaddish in her memory.
Early on Saturday, Oct. 2nd, I participated in Torah study with many friends from Beth David like Ed and Susan Hoffman, Lynne Glasser, Jeff Saltz, Edgar Weiss and Tuli Cnaan and of course Rabbi Jim Egolf. It was an interesting and challenging discussion about Cain and Abel. Meanwhile, the teens had a delicious breakfast at Susan Anderer’s home. Saturday morning found us touring Philly with our good friends Steve Rosard and Stephen Anderer, who guided and taught us a lot about the history of Pennsylvania and the US. We visited the Constitution Museum and the Liberty Bell and then headed out to have lunch with a group of very good friends at Susan’s house. The group included Susan and Harry Frankel who hosted us all, Barb Frank and her daughter Timna, Cantor Lilia Kazansky, Susan Levey, David Edman, Susan and Bruce Golboro, Linda and Gary Brock, Mark and Judith Price, Tuli Cnaan and Edgar Weiss, Edna and Rabbi Henry Cohen and many other friends. Thank you all!!!
Late afternoon after saying goodbye to our lovely hosts we headed towards NY where we met a youth group from congregation Sha’arei Tefila for dinner at a typical American Diner, organized by our good friend Hope Chernak, who had just finished her studies at HUC (Yishar Koach!) and earlier the same day she ran the NY marathon. Also was the Israeli HUC student Rabbi Yehudit Werchow, our shlicha in NY.
After dinner we all went to Great Neck where our good friends Geri and Roger Tilles hosted all of us under one roof. Ron and Yoni got the basement, I was on the first floor, Shai was on the second and the girls: Ayelet, Ayana, Noy and Rinat got the attic.
Early on Sunday morning, Oct` 3rd, we visited our good friend Rabbi Irwin Zeplowitz at the Community Synagogue in Port Washington.
There I was invited to breakfast by the wonderful Gruber family, who are planning on coming to Israel to celebrate their son’s Bar Mitzvah. Before our visit to Temple Beth-El in Great Neck, NY, I invited our kids to a Duncan Donuts breakfast.
Sunday afternoon was dedicated to a NY Mets game! Thanks to Geri and Roger Tilles we were all invited to watch the game from the VIP seats in the 4th row!!! Since Israel doesn`t take part in baseball culture, this was a highlight of an experience for our kids. Two of our teens, Ayelet and Ayana, each caught a ball!
In the late afternoon we visited Temple Emanu-El in NY, which is the biggest temple in the world. Hadassa Mushinsky, the Temple’s tour guide in residence, showed us around and gave us a very interesting tour and explanation, since our good friend Rabbi David Posner was doing a wedding.
Monday morning, Oct. 4th found us heading towards Boston early in the morning. On the way we stopped at Temple Israel in Westport, CT, to see our good friend Rabbi Bob Orkand, who is also president of Arza. Later we were invited by our good friend Lois Horn Zeidler to see their synagogue and to a delicious lunch. There we met a new friend, Robert Zwang, who showed us around their unique building which was built for the congregation and the Federation together, in a very interesting concept. We arrived during the evening hours to Temple Shir Tikvah in Wayland, MA, to meet our friends Deena Bloomstone and Rachel Fadlon and learn about their Hebrew school activities. We had dinner and spent the rest of the evening with our good friend Rabbi Neil Gold and ended the night at our wonderful local host families: Allegra Maracher, Leticcia Safran, Liz Becker and Karen Langweber. Thank you all for hosting our kids!
I had the honor and pleasure to have dinner with my hosts Sandy and Don Perrin (they are my family in the US) and my teacher, friend and colleague Rabbi Bernard Mehlman. It was such a treat for me!
Early on Tuesday, Oct. 5th, I went to visit our good friends at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley: Rabbi Joel Sisenwine and Jeff Stonberg. They showed me the beautiful new building to be inaugurated in 3 months. From there I went back to our partner congregation Temple Shalom in Newton. I had the pleasure of spending the morning with my good friend Rabbi Eric Gurvis and Dr. Phyllis Scherr (my adopted sister in the US).
During the day we visited the Prudential Center and Quincy Market (it was rainy so we missed the duck tour). There I had the pleasure and honor to have lunch with Joan Hoffman and her daughter Abigail, who got married the same day my son Ariel became Bar Mitzvah. Mazal Tov ! She is a very impressive young lawyer. We shared our simcha experiences and it was absolutely lovely. Later we visited Temple Isaiah with our friend Rabbi Howard Jaffe, his family (Irene, Talia and Nathan) and congregants. At the synagogue we also met with many good friends, among them: Rabbi David Wolfman, Meir Scherer, Pam and Murray Awrach. It was very special for me to have dinner with Neil and Diane Exter, who has been helping us so much in our Tikkun Olam projects during the past 6 years.
Wednesday, Oct. 6th, our last day of the tour found us eating at Zeftig’s with our close and beloved friend, my teacher and spiritual guide, Rabbi Ronne Friedman from Temple Israel. As you all know, Irene and Ronne lost their son Jesse tragically on July 18th, 2010. I express again our condolences and love in the name of Or Hadash members and staff. We continue to say Kaddish in Jess’s memory.
Earlier that morning I met with Rabbi David Kudan from Temple Tiferet Israel in Malden. We met in Brookline, in the Coolidge Corner. From there, we went straight to Logan airport and landed back home on Thursday, Oct. 7th where a warm and loving welcome awaited us from the congregation and our families.
It was a wonderful experience and I`m looking forward to our next trip.
Overseas Friends visiting
We are looking forward to welcoming our good friend Rabbi Amy Perlin and her congregation from Temple B’nai Shalom in Fairfax, Virginia. Rabbi Perlin will honor us with a sermon at our Shabbat services tonight, followed by Shabbat dinner.
We lovingly welcome our good friends Hans and Renata Benjamine from Or Hadash in Zurich, Switzerland. Hans and Renate will join us for Shabbat services and dinner.
We joyfully welcome Jacqueline Juergenliemk, president of Gottingen congregation in Germany. Jacqueline will join us for Shabbat services and dinner.