web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



A Place To Call Home

Pachter-110912-logo

Coming to Kever Rachel one cannot help but recall the traditional domed structure that once stood as a humble memorial to the greatest of women. Unfortunately a fortress like edifice of towering large concrete slabs has now replaced that familiar picture. It was here, at this holy site, that I first met Evelyn Haies, an American mother, grandmother, and globetrotter.

Evelyn spends the better part of each year in Israel working to improve the site. In fact, as soon as we met she invited me to attend a shiur she had arranged in the adjacent previously-owned Arab home.

But first I wanted to know more. I wanted to know what possessed an American mother of five, and grandmother, to leave her family in the U.S. to come to Israel and devote so much time to Kever Rachel.

In lieu of answering, she beckoned, smiling broadly. I followed her into the adjacent structure (the only other building in the complex) where she pointed to a bullet hole in the glass of the window on the second floor. “Arab sniper fire,” she explains.

“I bought this house a number of years ago, in an attempt to increase awareness of the importance of this site, to encourage people to visit, and to learn more about Rachel herself.” She points out the pictures her granddaughter had drawn to hang on the wall.

In a large room on the first floor there is a learning session in progress. A group of avreichim are poring over their sefarim.

In an entirely separate room a shiur for women is about to take place.

“And so what’s a grandmother like you doing here?” I asked, still wondering what it was that first triggered her interest.

And Evelyn, who for years has worked as literature teacher and has published a very popular songbook, took the plunge the year the Twins Towers came down.

“I was part of a group of women from Brooklyn who were looking for ways to help Klal Yisrael, especially our brethren in Israel. We wanted to prove our connection to the land and to our people. We met monthly and I recall one meeting in which we decided to adopt a sister city. Ariel was on our list, as were other cities. And then I had this sudden drive to adopt Kever Rachel. I took the floor and threw my suggestion out to the ladies.

“They loved it and agreed immediately.

“The year was 1995 when the die was cast; thus began my personal lifelong connection with Rachel Imeinu.

“So while I had had this brainwave I wasn’t quite sure how to actualize it. Together we decided that the first way to proceed was to raise public awareness of who Rachel actually was, and her relevance today. To do this we wanted people to research all the relevant sources in Tanach. Thus began the Rachel’s Children Reclamation Foundation.

“We began with the children first, going around to the Jewish girl schools in Brooklyn and advertising a writing competition on the subject of Rachel Imeinu. The best compositions would receive cash prizes.

“The contest was a massive hit. My mailbox was jammed with hundreds of stories; the creativity was simple astonishing and the feedback overwhelming. Teachers and principals offered their thanks and the girls themselves appreciated their new awareness and connection to Rachel.”

Later that year, Evelyn received an excited phone call from a woman who had decided that in honor of her granddaughter’s bas mitzvah the two of them were going to go to Israel and visit the holy sites, especially Kever Rachel.

Evelyn thought that this was a great idea and decided that she too would do the same.

“But I wanted to do more and more and I didn’t know what or how. So I bought a lottery ticket,” Evelyn laughs heartily. “And guess what? I won!”

Evelyn was the lucky winner of $26,000, which she used to finance the writing of a Sefer Torah for the Kever Rachel complex.

The day Evelyn approached a sofer and commissioned him to write the Sefer Torah was one of the most exciting ever. And when it was finally completed her excitement knew no bounds.

The Sefer Torah merited a double “send off” – one in Brooklyn and another in Israel. The U.S. one was scheduled for a rainy day during the week of Parshas Lech Lecha. Amazingly the rain held off while the dancing and singing crowds escorted the Torah to the shul; the minute it was indoors the rain fell once again. Evelyn’s eyes light up at the memory.

About the Author: Sarah Pachter lives in Israel and writes for a number of publications. She is the author of the book "Supermom? (Who? Me?)"


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Place To Call Home”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas speaking in Ramallah, July 1, 2014.
PA Demands Nov 2016 Deadline for UN to Force Israeli Surrender
Latest Indepth Stories

There is not even a hint of recognition that Hamas deliberately fires rockets at civilian targets in Israel while storing arms and rocket launchers among its own civilians in Gaza.

No one with any sanity would dream of rationalizing or justifying the depredations perpetrated on the Arab world by ISIS.

With $2 billion on hand the Islamic State is an extremely well-funded terrorist group that may pose a major international crisis for the U.S. and the world. Learn about their rise to power and the toll they’ve taken thus far.

In the recent Gaza war and its aftermath, we saw a totally illogical reaction from the world.

A., a teacher: “I do not know a single Gazan who is pro-Hamas at the moment, except for those on its payroll.”

Is the global community clear in its response to these extremist groups?

Like our fabled character, Don Quixote, President Obama has constantly spawned his own reality.

Boroujerdi was informed that “the pressures and tortures will increase until he has been destroyed.”

Fatah: Hamas stole relief aid for Gaza and distributed it amongst its followers in mosques.

Can teenagers seriously be expected to behave properly when they are surrounded by so much suggestive material? Is it fair to expose them (and ourselves) to so much temptation and then tell them, “Just say no”?

Washington remains ignorant of the need to dismantle alliances with various Muslim countries.

Defeating IS requires bombing its strongholds and recognizing the violent nature of Islam.

Abbas again used the UN to attack Israel, distort history, and undermine prospects for peace.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority cannot even agree to move their clocks back on the same day.

More Articles from Sarah Pachter
Pachter-013114-Cover

She wrote about everything in a woman’s world, from kids to husbands, and feelings including pain and grief. Writing her book, at least in my opinion, was an incredibly brave statement, one that exposed a truth that must be told.

Pachter-091313

Q: It is unusual to find a doctor who devotes an enormous amount of energy into preventing abortions. What motivates you?

Rosh Hashanah, the start of the High Holidays, was fast approaching. I had promised myself that this year would be different. For years I have followed their activities with a mild interest, just an observer, as though their concerns were not my own, but this year, in the wake of recent media storms and false accusations, I promised myself that I would finally take a stand. I would go down to their Jerusalem office and see for myself. And I did. As I pushed open the doors of their rather nondescript office I took a deep breath – welcome to largest life saving industry in all of Israel – Agudat Efrat.

Those of you who feel the way I do will immediately relate to this: I hate having to listen to pedantic women discuss their Pesach cleaning before Tu B’Shevat is even a blip on the horizon.

I come across Yair Michaeli standing amid the bustle of an Israeli shopping mall, a clipboard in his hand. He appears to be a serious-minded Israeli haredi. What is he doing in a place like this?

Coming to Kever Rachel one cannot help but recall the traditional domed structure that once stood as a humble memorial to the greatest of women. Unfortunately a fortress like edifice of towering large concrete slabs has now replaced that familiar picture. It was here, at this holy site, that I first met Evelyn Haies, an American mother, grandmother, and globetrotter.

Throughout the years, she’d hidden her in the windowless room at the back of the house. I always wondered why we were never welcomed over the threshold. I knew her daughter had been born with a problem, but it was never discussed and I’d only caught a glimpse of her from afar before she was hurried away. Oh sure, people gossiped, as people always do, but Chedva was my friend, and I defended and respected her right to privacy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/a-place-to-call-home/2012/11/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: