Thursday, June 10, 2010

40 Years to Alon Shvut

Mazel tov. Tonight the Gush Etzion town of Alon Shvut celebrated its 40th anniversary. The whole town came out to celebrate, just like a family would celebrate a simcha (happy occasion) - with great joy and pride in one another and their town's achievements.
Residents created a living museum, acting out different roles portraying Alon Shvut characters. The town's original choir got together to sing the tunes they sang long ago.
Alon Shvut's preschoolers drew pictures and buried them in a time capsule for the preschoolers decades from now.
And what's a family simcha without a Family Portrait??!! It's not easy to get thousands of people to sit still for a photo, but they did pretty well.
The entire community came out to the ampitheater in Alon Shvut's new neighborhood, and kids and parents alike took their places in front of the camera. They counted down from ten and then smiled - 3500 smiles!
It was a very triumphant moment, B"H. The crowd let up a cheer, as if each person realized right then what the town had achieved from its difficult pioneering start 40 years ago when there were no roads, no stores, no amenities, no preschools ...until today when the town is bursting with Zionistic faith-filled families and every service its residents could want or need, bli ayin hara.
A Year of Celebrations
The day's festivities were the culmination of a year of special 40th Anniversary events that featured the history and the heritage of the town - Shabbat programs for graduates, a siyum (completion of Talmudic portion) of gemara Baba Batra, tours around the town, and a commemoration of the special role that Yeshivat Har Etzion plays in the community. Also cited for its contribution to Alon Shvut was the Tzomet Institute, which adapts technology to a Jewish framework.
At tonight's big shindig, Israel's popular Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin addressed the crowd with great warmth and enthusiasm. With hundreds of families before him, and residents of all ages spread out across the grassy hill, the Knesset Speaker said that as Alon Shvut grows and blossoms, the prophecy of Zecharia, towards Jerusalem, can apply here too. "Thus saith the L-rd of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets ... and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof." Zecharia 3:4-5
The crowd cheered!
Gush Etzion Mayor Shaul Goldstein noted that while Alon Shvut is regarded as the town that was settled after Kfar Etzion, there has actually been a Jewish presence here - on the hilltop near Givat HaChish - since 300 BCE. The Mayor said, "Yes, 2300 years ago, Jews lived here, worked here and by establishing our town here, we are really coming home."
Located across from the Lone Oak, the Alon HaBoded, "Alon Shvut is a symbol of returning," Shaul Goldstein said. "And it truly is a place of returning - with olim (new immigrants) from the United States together with immigrants from Peru; immigrants from France together with those from South America. All of those olim who come to Alon Shvut are coming home!! This is the home of Am Yisrael."
The Mayor told Alon Shvut residents some interesting statistics. Of the 3500 residents today in Alon Shvut's three neighborhoods, 23% are olim chadashim (new immigrants). About 54% of the residents learned in yeshiva. More than 50% went to university with 23% getting an MA. More than 50% work today in education! More interesting statistics - 6% ride a bus to work every day. 1% rides a bike. Lastly, more than 92% of residents have personal computers and are connected to the internet.
Alon Shvut's Chief Rabbi HaRav Gidon Perl spoke about the chesed (acts of loving kindness) of members of the community toward one another. HaRav Yosef Tzvi Rimon of Alon Shvut's new neighborhood spoke of the residents' chesed to those outside the community, especially to our brethren from Gush Katif.
The town's party included a terrific show with dances by adults and children alike, plus funny skits, movie clips introducing some of the town's first families, a special segment with Moshe Moskowitz (Moshko) who founded the Har Etzion yeshiva among many other things, plus spotlights on its gemachim (community-aid projects), its educational facilities and more. With every recollection and every performance, the crowd cheered enthusiastically.
Forty years to Alon Shvut. A truly joyous celebration. Mazel tov. May Alon Shvut continue to grow and prosper, and may its residents be a force of brotherhood, and one of strengthening Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria and all of Eretz Yisrael.
Voices' Gush Etzion-TV was on the scene for the fun. If you missed the action, you can take a peek at the party here:

No comments:

Post a Comment