Thursday, May 27, 2010
President of the State of Israel Shimon Peres and Minister of Education Gidon Sa'ar congratulated Aseh Chayil Principal Mrs. Miriam Vangrover, Rav Bet HaSefer HaRav Aharon Falk, teaching staff, parents committee, pupils and their families for this unique achievement. All of Efrat joins in their joy. Mazel tov to Mayor Oded Revivi and Education Director Tali Cohen on this tremendous occasion.
HaRav Falk told Voices that the school was honored on several fronts. Firstly, it was praised for its "integration of olim (new immigrants) from Western countries, and for its fostering the acclimation of special needs children, as well."
Rav Falk noted the school's "exceptional investment" in developing a personal relationship with its student families that address their broad educational, social and family needs. The elementary school was recognized for its developing unique programs that enable each child to experience success and achieve his maximum.
In a time when violence in schools is one of society's worries, Aseh Chayil was acknowledged for cultivating an upbeat and calm educational atmosphere that has influenced the positive behavior of its pupils. The Ministry of Education noted the school's emphasis on derech eretz and mutual respect, and its plethora of social programs aimed at teaching and elevating social values and achieving educational goals.
The Ministry of Education also congratulated Aseh Chayil for fostering a positive dialogue with parents and the community at large. Its innovative programs, like the Cheder Tanach, which incorporates art into learning Bible studies, and its special programs on the Holocaust, especially the "Million and a half Button" project in memory of the children murdered in the Holocaust.
Rav Falk added that more Aseh Chayil programs were lauded, including the Musical Mishnayot of Pirkey Avot, "Chavruta learning" between fifth and second graders, as well as fourth and first graders in an experiential way, plus the very popular "Veshenantam Levanecha" parent-child after-school project.
As children today spend more time inside with their computers and modern technology, Aseh Chayil was applauded for its petting zoo, which allows all its pupils to reconnect with nature, and especially, which serves as a therapeutic environment for special-needs children.
Also honored yesterday were schools in Ashdod, Rishon L'Tzion, Baka El Garbia, Kiryat Ono, Yavne, Maalot, Netanya, Kibbutz Shoval in the Negev, Herzelia and Kfar Majar.
( Photos by Yisrael Weiss. http://artframe)
Of course, some people agree and some disagree with the message that the Rav of the yeshiva proclaims, but as one writer (perhaps David Bedein) explained, "The punishment should fit the crime," if there is indeed a crime. (You don't destroy a school building, because you don't like the speeches of one of the teachers there.) Every yeshiva has different kinds of rabbis in it, with varied messages. There are, after all, 70 faces of the Torah.
Punishing a yeshiva for its rabbi's point of view is a terrible precedent. Today a left wing Defense Minister wants to punish a yeshiva for X. And tomorrow, a different official will want to punish another yeshiva for Y. Is that the way we want Am Yisrael to live??
Will Rabbis and Roshei Yeshiva no longer feel free to teach their students, for fear of punishment?
Are we in Communist Russia?
And if Israel punishes rabbanim for their opinions and teachings, we are opening the door for any country of the world to punish the rabbis of their countries for their teachings as well.
Destroying a synagogue is a horrific thing. It is not just a building. It is a symbol of Judaism itself. And don't say, "Well, it can be explained away. This particular synagogue/yeshiva was used to speak against the …"
If this shul in Yitzhar is destroyed, NO SHUL IN THE WORLD will be safe. And I'm not talking only about destroying synagogues/yeshivot because they supposedly "teach treason against the government of" whatever country they're in. I'm talking about destroying a shul, because a road has to be built there, because a mall has to be built there.
Once a synagogue has been destroyed, the precedent INTERNATIONALLY is set, "IT IS OKAY TO DESTROY SYNAGOGUES."
Have we already forgotten the trauma that our entire people experienced when we saw the yeshivot and synagogues of Gush Katif burning after the "Disengagement"? We were upset, but our government didn't do anything about it. (Another precedent! Not only can any country destroy a synagogue, but they can do it without fear, because the government of Israel will stand idly by.)
If the State of Israel destroys this synagogue/yeshiva, it is opening a Pandora's Box that will have ramifications for Jews worldwide. Please don't say I'm exaggerating. You cannot read the future.
When the cemetery of Gush Katif was uprooted, many people screamed, "You cannot uproot Jewish bodies for this 'Disengagement.'" The government disagreed, "We are doing this for peace," and unburied the dead of Gush Katif, reburying them elsewhere. (In a peaceful situation, couldn't the bodies have remained there, and the the families would get special permission to visit their loved ones on their yahrzeits and holidays, etc.?) Uprooting the graves set a precedent that has already been applied in Europe.
I read a few weeks ago in "HaModia" that a Jewish cemetery in Europe is being uprooted to build a mall on that spot. (Sorry, I can't remember the city. I'll try to find it.) Progress must take precedence over the past. The Jews in that town were infuriated. But there was no way to really fight. They were told that Jewish graves could be unburied and reburied as long as it was in a respectful manner. It had been done not long ago in Israel itself, in Gush Katif.
Precedents go in every direction and there are tons more. Here's just one:
When Joseph reigned in Egypt, he made all the people pay him for his grain, and he had everyone working, except the Priests of Egypt. He had set a precedent that the priestly class is not treated like others and is not subjected to the same harsh demands. So, when the slavery began, thanks to Joseph, the Levites were not enslaved.
We all have our different political ideas. Don't try to punish someone else for his ideas, because one day, it might bounce back at you. Don't be so eager to destroy shuls and schools and whatever to "teach those people a lesson", because one day, chas v'shalom, someone will try to teach YOU the same lesson.
Am Yisrael has many different faces, but we are ONE PEOPLE. We have ONE LAND. We've got to stick up for one another, because we're all we've got.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Contact Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at:
- A couple in Tel Aviv apparently attempted a terror attack on a Dan Bus. - Jpost
- Obama wants to welcome Bibi to the White House. You might think this is great, but chas v'shalom, who knows what Bibi might be forced to do to get back into Obama's good graces. I was happier when they weren't pals.
- The 443 is opening to Arab traffic endangering the lives of tens of thousands of Jews in the Modiin region, and with threats that this is a precursor to opening the Betunia-Ramallah bypass road, which would threaten the towns of Dolev, Talmon, Nachliel, Halamish.
- Bet Yonatan is going to be sealed and then....
- Israel National News reports that Jews for J are making a big missionary push this summer, chas v'shalom, the biggest since 1948. Right now they're making a concerted effort to missionize to Jews in Ramat Gan, Petach Tikvah, and Herzliya. There's so much more missionary activity in Israel, as we speak, it's frightening. - http://www.jewishisrael.com/
- World-wide anti-semitism is on the rise, big time - http://myrightword.blogspot.com/2010/05/hate-thats-out-there.html In fact, blogger Yisrael Medad points to another blog on the subject. This week, I wrote about the Jewish-Israel connection to the Israeli Day Parade. Well, Atlas Shrugs saw a different angle - Muslims at the Salute to Israel Day Parade. She wrote, "Annihilationists. Notice how this is becoming more common. More mainstream. Jihad and Islamic anti-semitism and kuffarphobia should relegated to the very fringes of society, as the KKK was in the early twentieth century, instead of the tacit approval being given to these barbarians and savages with silence and apology. This is the road to hell. We must change the culture, and fast."
Well, if Israel keeps apologizing for being alive, for fighting its enemies, for closing its borders to Jew-haters and Israel-inciters, for trying to encourage the message of Zionism and a connection to Jewish roots, then of course, haters of Israel will be emboldened and accepted!!
- They not only hate us, but the world is sailing against us, as "100 boats from Gaza set out toward an international anti-Israel flotilla from 40 countries that aims to end the blockade on Gaza. - INN - http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/137704
- Caroline Glick wrote something amazing just today on the two topics directly above, because indeed there is a major correlation between Israel's wimpihood, anti-Semitism and the flotilla. - JPost - http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=176343
- I'm behind in my deadline on the next issue of Voices. Maybe I should stop reading the paper and get to writing one.
Well, it was good to know that Gilad Schalit has good conditions. Or does he? Perhaps the Red Cross should go into Gaza and see if Schalit's conditions equal those of Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails.
Right now Hamas prisoners (among them, terrorists) in Israeli jails have "family visits, television, books, newspapers and the option to pursue academic studies."
Hamas is upset that Israel might take those privileges away.
Does Gilad Schalit get family visits? I haven't heard that Noam Schalit has been able to visit his sun since Gilad's kidnapping in 2006.
Does Gilad get TV in his Hamas prison? It would be interesting to know what his jailers' favorite show is? The Deadliest Warrior? (http://www.spike.com/show/31082) Dancing with the Stars? (http://abc.go.com/shows/dancing-with-the-stars)
Does Gilad Schalit get to read books? In what language? Does he have access to the Hamas prison library?
Is he able to pursue his academic studies? If so, four years in captivity means he should be just about finished with his college courses. Arab arch-terrorist and mega-murderer Marwan Barghouti of Fatah got his PhD in prison, and many Arab prisoners get their bagrut (matriculation) and higher degrees in Israeli prison, courtesy of the Israeli taxpayer. http://voices-magazine.blogspot.com/2010/03/prisons-and-phds.html
By virtue of Hamas' latest protests, we must assume that Gilad is also spending his time studying for a Bachelors Degree from University of Cairo. We pray for his imminent release, IY"H, and hope to attend his graduation.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
** "It's our own mini-hospital."
** "It's got oxygen in the walls for every doctor's room."
** "It's got its own birthing room."
** "It's going to have radiology all night."
** "We're hiring a doctor and a nurse for the after-hours care."
I was absolutely bowled over by the facility, which will service patients from Kiryat Arba to Jerusalem. You will be excited too.
Then this morning, Dr. Yitz Glick, Chairman of the Board of the Emergency Medical Center, and a guiding light of the facility, read my first draft. Yitz, who's winner of the President's Prize for Volunteerism, is a very simple and humble guy. "Just the facts, Ma'am." No sparkles. He doesn't like to brag, although there's so much to brag about in this beautiful new facility. He doesn't put on airs. I mean, he wouldn't even put on his doctor's coat for his official portrait with Rabbi David Marcus. He's not so into the PR thing, although he realizes that some is needed in order to fund a modern medical facility.
"Mini-hospital???? A hospital is $300 million. A small hospital is $30 million. Oy, journalists like cute phrases, like mini-hospital. We paid over $3 million. Sharon, it sounds good, but it's not actually reality. This is an urgent care center. Urgent care, not mini-hospital, but okay, leave it if you like it."
"Oxygen in the walls? Of course it's got oxygen in the walls! That's like saying that the house you're building has water in the sink." "But Yitz, I said, 'Wow,' when I heard you had oxygen in the walls. I thought that was fabulous." "You said, 'Wow,' but Efrat's medical personnel will groan. Of course, we've got that!!" "I don't care. About 150 medical folks will groan, but everyone else will say, 'Cool!' I'm writing for folks like me. Let them see how cool the Center is." "Okay, write about the oxygen if you want."
"Birthing room? Okay, we've got a place for birthing, but women should go to the hospital for their babies!! We don't want to encourage women having babies here. That's only in case of emergencies - e-m-e-r-g-e-n-c-i-e-s." "Message received!!" Women, please leave enough time to get to the hospital to delver your babies. :)
"Radiology all night? We didn't even start yet. Let's say we open the radiology department first. It's going to be a great service, but let's start first before we announce all night hours."
"Hiring a doctor and a nurse for the night shift? Well, of course we'll have a doctor. We've already got a doctor. And now we're adding a nurse. You don't have to write that." "Yes, I do, Yitz, that's a wonderful addition to the Center's after-hours care." "Okay, whatever."
"Listen!!" Yitz said, "We're going to have an Urgent Care Center, and when the health services of Maccabee and Meuchedet move in here, they're going to be significantly expanding their services, their specialty doctors and what they can offer members locally. So this Center is greatly adding to the every day medical care of the residents of the region. Residents will be getting as much as they possibly can from their regular and specialty doctors and an urgent care center. That's what's exciting."
Well, I think it's all exciting. The upcoming Voices story, IY"H, will give you loads of details. And, wait until you walk in those doors for the first time (hopefully in good health, and just to look around). You'll be excited too.
In showbiz, when we want to wish someone good luck, we say, "Break a leg." In this case, we'll skip that salutation, or you'll end up in the Efrat Emergency Medical Center as a patient instead of a visitor.
Oh, you want to know what happened to the movie that I worked ten hours on. Well, I think it's got a few changes, if I follow the lead of understated Yitz. We'll keep you posted when we upload a new version.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Vivienne is so serious about making this happen, she’s already planned her first major fundraising event – An All Women’s Swim in the Kinneret on Wednesday, June 16, IY”H, to benefit Sadnat Shiluv in Rosh Tzurim .
Everyone reading this article can make this swim a success by sponsoring: a swimmer, transportation, or anything from sun-tan lotion, liquid high-energy food, or towels to long T-Shirts for the women swimmers. Together, we can make Vivienne’s dream for a better life for at least a dozen special-needs children come true. Contact Swim4sadna@gmail.com.
What's it for?
Sadnat Shiluv encourages maximum integration of special people into the community. It works with children from kindergarten and elementary school until young adulthood. Currently, its only hostel houses six young adults and offers them a place to live, work, study and lead an independent life while being an active part of the Rosh Tzurim community. Vivienne has made it her personal goal to try to build another two hostels.
Vivienne told Voices that there’s usually an Annual Swim across the Kinneret in the middle of September, “but it’s a mixed swim and it’s always on Shabbat.”
Women who have always wanted to participate in a Kinneret Swim, but were unable to do so because of the mixed swimming or Sabbath scheduling, can now join in. Of course, the event is not only for religious women. Vivienne said, “Today 30% of sports in Israel are women only. It's become very trendy.”
Vivienne’s weekday swim will have two courses – Maagan to Tzemach, 1.5 kilometers (60 lengths in a 25 meter pool); and HaOn to Tzemach, 3.5 kilometers (you do the math).
Sadnat Shiluv Hostel
Vivienne’s dream took shape when, her son Elchie, 19, entered the Sadnat Shiluv hostel in Rosh Tzurim after having been educated in its school. Five other young people, aged 17 to 23, live there too. Vivienne commented, “It proved fantastic for Elchie. It's five minutes from home. I haven't sent him away. I can pick him up for a simcha, the dentist, and he can pop home to be with his friends too.”
Vivienne wants to give the same happiness to other youngsters. There are currently seven young adults, mostly from Gush Etzion, on a waiting list to enter a hostel.
The Sadnat-Shiluv under the direction of visionary Noa Mandelbaum and educator Tamar Hechsher has created the most unique institution, Vivienne said. “They need to be empowered. There's nothing like the Gush for an area where chesed, ahavat chinam (uncompromising love) and everything else good can be showcased.”
In the elementary school 400 kids learn with about five special kids in every mainstream class of 20. The special kids can have any combination of disabilities, she noted. “It’s an interesting combination per class. And the whole idea is that they become part of society.”
More about the school, IY”H. Meanwhile, register at http://www.shvoong.co.il/ or email Swim4sadna@gmail.com.
The excitement in town over Shwekey's upcoming concert is gigantic. In fact, I feel ShwekeyMania overcoming my own family, and it's spreading into the streets. Folks that heard about his concert in Latrun - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlMsRaBAfsE - or Caesaria know that everyone present will always remember those concerts as two of the most exciting and moving performances of their lives. My kids attended the Latrun concert, and said that the evening was so electric, the audience audience was on a humongous high and would have stayed for another two hours if it were possible.
Now Efrat is going to host Shwekey. Yay. He'll be performing in the giant area where we celebrated Efrat's 25th anniversary. Thousands of people can sit comfortably there, so we know it's going to be a B-I-G night to remember.
Shwekey, 33, was born in Jerusalem and lived in Bayit Vegan until his family moved to Lakewood when he was eight years old. He's released about ten albums since his first song, Shomati, in 2001. He's performed in some of the most important concert halls/stadiums in the world.
And thanks to two years of determination by Efrat's own superstar-person Yechiel Fishman, Yaakov Shwekey is performing here. What an incredible coupe for my town!!
Tickets are on sale now by clicking on Efrat Matnas at http://www.matnasefrat.org.il/ or via telephone at 02-993-2935/6 or through Makor Rishon, http://www.makor1.co.il/.
I can't wait!!!
Friday, May 21, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
B"H, I am grateful that I had the opportunitiy to count every day.
I am thankful that I was able to use this Sefirat HaOmer period to reflect on the day behind me and look forward to the day ahead. This made every single day so much more meaningful. I will miss that fullness that I have felt at the end of every day for the past 49.
I even did my best to follow the suggestions made in the very worthwhile book, Sefiros by Rabbi Yaacov Haber with Rabbi David Sedley. I tried to better my behavior toward my fellow man, my G-d and myself through the guidance of Sefiros. I might not have totally succeeded, but I do feel I have improved in my interactions with others and in my appreciation of the world that I have been granted.
Now the Omer period is over. I can't wait to turn on some music!!! But I will miss the Omer when every day counted in a very special way.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
SEVEN MAN-MADE WONDERS
I had remembered as a child learning that King Solomon's Temple was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – lauded for its magnificence and masterful building. But after delving further, it seems that the original list was made by one man as a kind of travel guide for Greeks, "Plato, don't miss this." And the second wonders added the Holy Temple for a while when it added other non-Greek structures.
This new contest for natural wonders is in its third stage in which the wonders will be chosen by about 1 billion votes. The Official Declaration of the New7Wonders of Nature will be on 11.11.11. It features forests, cliffs, volcanoes, waterfalls, canyons and remote islands all over the world. They are each a reason to bless the Creator of the Universe for the breath-taking phenomena that He crafted.
Israel's wonder, the Dead Sea, is currently ranked #9, so it needs your help to move up on the list.
Thus far, the top nine are:
Kilimanjaro - inactive strato-volcano in north-eastern Tanzania. It is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world.
Milford Sound – beautiful site southwest of New Zealand’s South Island.
Mud Volcanoes – a gloopy site in Gobustan, Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea.
Vesuvius - volcano east of Naples, Italy - one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world.
Great Barrier Reef - planet’s largest coral reef system, Papua, New Guinea
Matterhorn/Cervino - most familiar mountain in the European Alps. On the border between Switzerland and Italy.
Black Forest - wooded mountain range in southwestern Germany.
Uluru - one of Australia's most recognizable natural icons.
Dead Sea -This is its description: The Dead Sea is a salt lake between Palestine and Israel to the west and Jordan to the east. At 420 metres below sea level, its shores are the lowest point on Earth that are on dry land. With 30 percent salinity, it is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. – The campaign says that voting for the Dead Sea is a vote for Peace.
Well, I'm for peace (I don't even mind shopping with Arabs in Rami Levi), but I was taken about when I read the description of the Dead Sea, as lying between Israel, Jordan and Palestine. First of all, as far as I know, there's a Palestinian Authority, but no Palestine. Secondly, unless Israel is planning to give away the strategically vital Jordan Valley, just where does "Palestine" fit in here? The Dead Sea lies between Israel and Jordan and doesn't touch any area that could be called Palestine, unless the government is planning yet another surprise for the Jewish People.
A MEDICINAL WONDER
I'm also voting for some wonders NOT in the top ten:
Colorado's Grand Canyon, Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, and the Komodo Islands of Indonesia.
Cast your vote for the Dead Sea and other wonders at: http://www.new7wonders.com/community/en/new7wonders/new7wonders_of_nature/voting
Friday, May 14, 2010
I didn't have time to visit everyone's tables, but I was fascinated by what I did see.
In Maaleh Hever, Joe Zander makes organic chocolate straight from the beans - Holy Cow-coa. He grinds the cocoa beans and processes them himself. Instead of making quick-chocolate, as many other companies do, he processes his cocoa over a period of months. I found out that the longer chocolate is processed, the better it is (kinda like wine). I tasted all kinds of chocolate combinations. I think they were 70% chocolate, 56% chocolate and 52% chocolate with nuts. I bought the latter (OU kashruth certification). Holy Cow-coa is sold in the Duvdevan health food store, Gush Etzion Winery and discrimating chocolate shops.
The Lone Tree Brewery is the beer business of the Levins and Shires of Neve Daniel. I toured the brewery, and got a quick lesson in manufacturing beer from barley. I even got to peek into their "cellar" where the beer is stored. Lone Tree Beer comes in several flavors and is sold straight from the manufacturers and one day soon in fine restaurants everywhere (if they're smart).
Reuven "Titch" Cohen is a man of "spirit and spirits". He's a backbone of the Temple Institute and also has returned Jewish wine to the Old City's Cardo. At the Jerusalem Wine Store, Titch sells wines from boutique wineries (especially those from throughout Yesha). On his table at the Farmers' Market were wines from wines from Shiloh, Pesagot and Tzuba. His store carries dozens of other boutique wineries, including the Gush Etzion Winery. Each one is as different as the climate, altitude and weather of the region in which they are made.
Also at the Farmers' Market were delicious smelling spice plants of all types from Southern Hebron Hills, honey from Sde Boaz, raw food desserts from Maaleh Adumim, jams from Bnei Darom, cookies from Neve Daniel, and much more.
The Farmers' Market returns on Monday, and hopefully throughout the summer. It's a perfect family summer outing. You can even buy lunch.
Voices TV video to come. Stay tuned.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I always admired those bikers. Today I finally found out what it's all about, thanks to Efrat's own security department, which gave our town's residents traffic info for tomorrow's Bike Ride. The Security department said that the Bike Trek was in memory of Yitzhak Buanish, HY"D.
I investigated further. According to the government website, Yitzhak Buanish was killed on November 15, 2002 between Kiryat Arba and Chevron.
He was much beloved by his fellow Kiryat Arba residents, and this incredible trek is in his memory.
Yitzhak Buanish, 46, of Kiryat Arba, was one of 12 people killed -- nine soldiers and three civilians from the Kiryat Arba emergency response team -- and 15 wounded in Hebron when Arab terrorists opened fire and threw grenades at a group of Jewish worshipers and their guards as they were walking home from Sabbath Eve prayers at the Cave of the Patriarchs.
Security personnel came immediately to the scene and were ambushed. They battled for 90 minutes. Three of the Islamic Jihad terrorists were killed, and the Kiryat Arba community lost its most devoted residents and dedicated soldiers.
Buanish was Kiryat Arba's security officer for 12 years. He had set up emergency response units in dozens of settlements. OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky called Buanish "a pillar of the region's security."
Also killed was the legendary commander Col. Dror Weinberg, 38, of Jerusalem, Border Police officer Ch.-Supt. Samih Sweidan, 31, of Arab al-Aramsha; Sgt. Tomer Nov, 19, of Ashdod; Sgt. Gad Rahamim, 19, of Kiryat Malachi; St.-Sgt. Netanel Machluf, 19, of Hadera; St.-Sgt. Yeshayahu Davidov, 20, of Netanya; Sgt. Igor Drobitsky, 20, of Nahariya; Cpl. David Marcus, 20, of Ma'aleh Adumim; and Lt. Dan Cohen, 22, of Jerusalem; and Kiryat Arba emergency response team members Alexander Zwitman, 26; and Alexander Dohan, 33.