Thursday, December 27, 2012

DAMES 6 - A Tribute to Women

The women of ALL AGES from
my own family! They don't all dance, 
but they ALL inspire!
Our dancing shoes are just "smoking" from use. We're beginning to gather costumes and accessories. We've got to get the poster ready, and "DAMES of the Dance 6 - A Tribute to Women" will be ready to sell tickets for the upcoming performing season. We're all really excited.

This DAMES is a tribute to Women! It is a tribute to our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, our best friends. They are people we love, adore, admire and appreciate.

It is a tribute to their self-sacrifice, their courage, their smile, their love, their empowerment.

It is a tribute to the women who raise the next generation, who instill them with pride and teach them not to fear, who encourage them to try and succeed. It is about the women who are beautiful inside and out, and teach their children to feel beautiful and smart and strong and successful (even when they are not).

It is a tribute to the women who light their Shabbat candles, say Shma in bed with their children, make their challot, feed their families, learn with their little ones, teach them their brachot, support their husbands, inspire their friends and families.
It is a tribute to the women who teach the next generation and the next about love of Hashem, our Torah, our brethren and Eretz Yisrael.

It is a tribute to the women who rise early and work long hard hours, who travel far to make a living, who work at small jobs and large, who run companies and countries, and yet will sit up all night studying with their teenager for a final or rocking or nursing a new baby, or jump out of bed to calm a frightened child.

It is a tribute to women who truthfully make everything in the world happen, while they bolster everyone else and encourage them to make things happen too.

This is what we keep this in mind as we develop our numbers.

This is not just a show. This is a tribute to women, and we must make it A TRIBUTE TO WOMEN.

For ticket information, keep up with our facebook page, .

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

DISGUSTING - Arab Stone-Throwing at Rachel's Tomb

I didn't know whether to title this blog, DISGUSTING or HUMILIATING. But I decided for the former, because that's how today's scene at Rachel's Tomb seemed to me.
I drove, as on every other visit, to Rachel's Tomb to pray, together with my dearest Mother (until 120) and my lovely daughter.
As we exited the car, we noticed groups of people standing around - half on the parking lot side of the street and half in the entrance to Rachel's Tomb.
Two armored police trucks were holding back the worshippers.
Arabs were throwing stones over the giant cement barrier. Smashed stones and shattered glass lay on the street in front of Kever Rachel. Policemen were calling out blurred instructions through their megaphones.
Visitors were told they could enter Rachel's Tomb, the burial place of the Jewish Biblical matriach Rachel if they could "run quickly and keep against the wall."
That is how one comes to pray at the resting place of his grandmother - running for his life, hoping to dodge the stones and boulders lobbed from a few meters away on the other side of the wall?
I was so excited to cap off our lovely family day today with a family visit to
Mama Rachel. My own mother had come 5000 miles to visit her loved ones, and every trip to Eretz Yisrael is made complete with a visit to and heartfelt prayer by the burial place of our beloved Matriarch Rachel.
Jews from all over the world put Kever Rachel - Judaism's third holiest site, after the Kotel and the Cave of Machpelah - on their must-visit list.
But not today.
Everyone stood around waiting, whispering, impatiently trying to show patience, shaking their heads in DISGUST.
My mother cannot run 100 meters, dodging stones and boulders on the way. And even if she could, I would not allow it.
So we stood along with everyone else.
We watched full armored border policemen watching stone throwers. As far as we saw, there was no response - no tear gas, no paint guns, no anything.
Thus goes a sunny afternoon in the little town of Bethlehem, where today, thanks to Arab stone throwers, there is no "peace on earth" and certainly no "good will toward men" or women or children who simply wanted to pray, or unburden their hearts at their grandmother Rachel's side.
I surely hope that on the other side of the wall, soldiers were about to pounce.
We'll never know unless an Arab is injured, and therefore, the incident will make the news.
We turned back to the car, and waited for permission to drive out. They said, "Drive out quickly and carefully." Quickly, I could manage, avoiding rocks aimed at my car was beyond my ability.
We raced out and saw a line of cars waiting to enter.
Sorry, friends. Today, you cannot visit your grandmother.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Gift that Keeps Giving - Light

How appropriate that on this holiday of Chanukah - the Holiday of Lights - the State of Israel, the Israeli Departments of Transportation and Roads, and the Councils of Gush Etzion and Efrat have gifted residents of Efrat and Gush Etzion, as well as all those who drive along Route 60, with THE GIFT OF LIGHTS. Traffic lights.
This morning, as I drove out of the northern entrance of Efrat on the Shayarot (Convoy) Road, I was greeted by brand new traffic lights.
Suddenly instead of the usual mass of cars, bunched up upon one another like guinea pigs seeking warmth, cars were lined up civilly, waiting their turn to drive on to Route 60.
No more inching forward, hoping to make a turn before a speeding vehicle bears down on you. Now on-coming traffic has a red light, while cars from inside Efrat turn carefully on to the road.
This junction on Route 60 has been particularly dangerous, as vehicles speed by from the Beitar-El Khader light going south and the Southern Efrat light going north. Drivers from the Shayarot Road have literally taken their lives in their hands to get on to the highway. Several tragically have lost their lives in the attempt.
Acknowledging the treacherous traffic turn off, Israel's Transportation Minister Israel Katz (no relation to the author) announced last year that he would install a traffic light at the frightening intersection. And he did it.
This gift of lights truly is a gift that keeps giving - because it is giving the local drivers the gift of life and safer driving, IY"H, for many years to come.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What's Up, Efrat? Chanukah 5773

Watch What's Up, Efrat? Chanukah edition, right here:

Or read it here:

Welcome to the What's Up, Efrat Chanukah edition.
There's so much to speak about, we hope this edition will encourage you to check out the Efratone and Gushpanka and find loads of great activities for your family.

First, we'd like to read a letter that we received from the Southern families who sought refuge here during the war.
"Thanks and great appreciation to residents of Efrat, especially the residents of 14 Rechov Yehuda HaMaccabee. Tremendous thanks and appreciation for all you have done for us - families who came from Ashdod to Efrat in the difficult days of the war.
For your contribution in bringing meals, helping with the laundry, the loan of a baby carriage, your shining faces and your sincere desire to help us.
Special thanks to Meir Alipur who donated his apartment to us. Our thanks to the Yad B'Yad gemachim, who helped us on such short notice.
Our blessings as well to Miri  Kelley and family who took care of the logistics,and hospitality, and all the Shabbat meals in her home.
Happy are you to live in a place filled with good people, who have been preoccupied with kindness and helping others. May we meet at smachot."

What's Up, Efrat? went out on location for Chanukah. Here's a peek at what's happening around town. 
The Aseh Chayil School held its Veshinantam Levanecha special parent-child learning recently. The children learned to deal with their fears through learning, sharing, speaking and prayer. Watch for a full video on the event.
The Efrat library will be open on Chanukah on Sunday and Wednesday from 3 PM to 9:30 PM. And on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Friday hours are as usual, 9:30 AM to 12:15 PM.

On Sunday, 25 Kislev, December 9th, the first day of Chanukah, Matnas Efrat is presenting ULTRA MADHIM, a show that will light up your day – 11 AM, at the Matnas.

The cast of ESTHER and the Secrets in the King's Court - Photo by Rebecca Flash Kowalsky, .
On the second night of Chanukah, Sunday, 26 Kislev, December 9, at 8:15 PM, join the women and girls of Raise Your Spirits for their smash-hit musical ESTHER and the Secrets of the King's Court. ESTHER is celebrating its tenth anniversary with an amazing production that has wowed its critics and audiences. To order tickets for Sunday's performance, or the next show on Thursday, December 27th, visit .

Efrat's religious scouts will be going on a camping trip from Sunday to Wednesday. While other youth will be enjoying a leadership seminar from Tuesday to Thursday.  And Bnei Akiva will be holding a Seminar from Wednesday to Friday.
On Monday, 26 Kislev, December 10th, join the One Israel Fun Chanukah Trip with Eve Harow. One Israel is traveling to the Hasmonean Hills to learn about the Chanukah story where it happened – Beit Choron, Neria, Neve Tzuf.
On Wednesday, 28 Kislev, December 12, Efrat residents 50+ are invited to participate in a trip to Jerusalem for an Adult Chidon Tanach, Bible Competition. It sounds great. Contact 9932936.
Or visit the Jordan Valley with One Israel on Thursday, 29 Kislev, December 13. Mevuot Yericho, the Einot Kedem Ranch, and more.
For more information, contact Zahava Englard 052-484-6034.
On Thursday at Matnas Efrat there's a Creative Workshop for Chanukah for children. Contact 9932936.
Zayit Raanan is having their annual pajanuka party on Thursday night, 6th candle, with arts and crafts, music, candle lighting, games, schtick, and a special slideshow of the kids of zayit. All children are invited to this fun evening. More information, Debbie Shohat at
Right after Chanukah, there'll be a three part series for parents of special needs children on Wednesday evenings in the Parent Empowerment Center:
December 19, 26 and January 2. The evenings will be informative and very important. Find out more by contacting Sharona Blank.
Also, there's going to be a Winter Happening for children with special needs and their families on Monday, January 7 from 4:00-6:00 pm in Aseh Chayil School with activities,a  show, dinner and a fire and light show.
RSVP to Sharona Blank 993-9315 at the Social Service Dept. of the Efrat Moetza or email 993-9315,
Also, Matnas Efrat is showing the not-to-be missed film, "Zohar HaRakia" on Motzei Shabbat 9 Tevet, December 22. And join Tzur Hartov on 16 Tevet, December 29th, for a Sing-along.