web analytics
August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


The Synagogue That Merges Past And Future


Lewis-080814-Path

Every shul has its history. Some, however, have more twists and turns than others. How was a shul ever built in Kibbutz Gvat, a secular kibbutz in the Yizrael Valley (Emek Yizrael) in northern Israel, a short distance from the cities of Afula and Natzeret? How did this tiny, derelict shul become an extension of the Museum of Pioneer Settlement that draws thousands of visitors annually? And how can the Museum Synagogue simultaneously pay homage to the past and serve the future?Lewis-080814-View

Between 1911 and 1951 tens of thousands of immigrants, many of them survivors of the horrors of World War II, arrived in Israel with the dream of resettling their ancient homeland. Many of these young, secular pioneers established kibbutzim. Kibbutz Gvat was founded in 1926 by young secular pioneers with a new vision for traditional values. When these pioneers were followed by their parents, a conflict arose. Were they going to uphold their own, new vision of Judaism, or would they bow to the view of their parents who were determined to uphold traditional Jewish values? Despite their idealism, the pioneers’ desire to honor their parents won out – both a shul and a kosher dining hall were built. In 1954, former residents of Gvat established Kibbutz Yifat, but ties between the two kibbutzim remained close. During the 1960’s, as the older generation passed away, the shul fell into disuse and was even used as a storage area. It was only in the 1990’s that the idea of restoring it began to bloom.

 

The Museum Embraces the Shul

Lewis-080814-PathRabbi Shlomo Raanan, director of Ayelet Hashachar, a non-profit organization set up in 1997 that works to bridge the gap between religious and non-religious Jews in Israel, has become an expert at assessing the buildings and converting them into places where G-d can enter. The organization has established shuls all over Israel: Kibbutz Manara and Kibbutz Sde Nechemyah in the north and Kibbutz Gvar’am and Kibbutz Ruchama in the south are all witness to the tireless efforts of Ayelet Hashachar. But when I spoke with Rabbi Raanan, I was eager to hear about his work in the Yizrael Valley.

“The restoration of Givat’s shul began on an international airline flight!” says Rabbi Raanan. “Years ago, on one of my many flights overseas, I got to know one of the flight attendants. Gilad Stukelman wasn’t only a charming young man; he was also a cousin of my accountant. Our developing relationship came to a tragic end: in August 2006, Captain Gilad Stukelman was killed in the Second Lebanon War. He was twenty-six years old. When visiting his bereaved family who live on Timrat, a yishuv in the Yizrael Valley, I suggested that since there wasn’t a shul on Timrat, we build and dedicate a shul in his memory.” The suggestion was taken up.

When the secretary of Timrat heard that neighboring Kibbutz Yifat was considering renovating the derelict shul in Kibbutz Gvat, it didn’t take long for her to put Avner Galili, treasurer and project manager, in touch with Rav Raanan. Ties between Kibbutz Gvat and Kibbutz Yifat had remained strong. Rav Raanan decided to strengthen them.Lewis-080814-Shul-2

The Museum of Pioneer Settlement on Kibbutz Yifat, established in 1972, draws thousands of visitors annually. The museum tells the story of the chalutzim, the pioneers, who settled in the Yizrael Valley between the years 1911 and 1951. These pioneers dried swamps, dug ditches, worked as stone-cutters, built roads and laid the foundation for what would later become Israel’s world-renowned agricultural accomplishments. The children’s home, dining hall and pharmacy have all been restored. There are photos, clothes and tools, including the first oil-generated water pump that was imported from Germany at the end of the 1920s, to document the past. But there wasn’t a vestige of tradition left.

About the Author:


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.

One Response to “The Synagogue That Merges Past And Future”

  1. GOD BLESS ISRAEL YOUR CHOOSEN LOVING PEOPEL.GOD LOVES HIS BELOVED COUNTRY ISRAEL…
    WE LOVE YOU ISRAEL+IDF.
    WE STAND WITH YOU ISRAEL+IDF.
    FOREVER

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Rabbi Norman Lamm of Yeshiva University
Emes Ve-Emunah: Living Up to the Ideals of Modern Orthodoxy
Latest Sections Stories
book-Lord-Get-Me-High

Even when our prayers are ignored and troubles confront us, Rabbi Shoff teaches that it is the same God who sent the difficulties as who answered our prayers before.

Schonfeld-logo1

I’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions regarding bullies, friendship and learning disabilities.

book-Avi's-Choice

His parents make it clear that they feel the right thing is for Avi to visit his grandfather, but they leave it up to him.

There is a rich Jewish history in this part of the world. Now the hidden customs are being revealed, as many seek to reconnect with their roots.

There are times when a psychiatrist will over-medicate, which is why it’s important to find a psychiatrist whom you trust and feel comfortable with.

On November 22, 1963, Abraham Zapruder created one of the most famous, and valuable, pieces of film and became forever linked with one of the greatest American national tragedies when he stood with his camera on an elevated concrete abutment as President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Exhibited here is […]

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” – Corrie ten Boom I’ve been thinking a lot about worrying. Anxiety is an issue close to my heart – […]

Don’t be afraid to try something different.

Upon meeting the Zionist delegation, General Wu, a recent convert to Christianity, said, “You are my spiritual brothers.

With the assistance of Mr. Tress, Private Moskowitz tried tirelessly to become an army chaplain.

Dr. Yael Respler is taking a well-deserved vacation this week and asked Eilon Even-Esh to share some thoughts with her readers in her stead.

More Articles from Rhona Lewis
Jewish-Soldiers-WWII-logo

Upon meeting the Zionist delegation, General Wu, a recent convert to Christianity, said, “You are my spiritual brothers.

Jewish-Soldiers-WWII-logo

On an ice-cold night in 1942, while taking part in a demanding Palmach training course in Juara in north Israel, Chaviva Reich made the treacherous descent to kibbutz Ein Hashofet to bring back some grapes for her colleagues and raise their morale. She was caught by a kibbutz guard, the grapes were confiscated, and she […]

Anna Henriques, who hopes to one day head back to Jamaica, says, “Rabbi Raskin must be willing to respect what exists in Jamaica. The way to the future is to gently bring in the traditions of the past and at the same time embrace the idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican people.”

With the danger of being discovered always a possibility, the partisans not only moved around in the forest, but also eliminated any collaborators.

HonestReporting’s missions attract a wide gamut of participants, 15% of whom are not Jewish.

“Spot On,” our semi-regular feature on off-the-beaten-track places in Israel, takes us to the Golan

Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.

Commenting on the public’s growing acceptance of challenged individuals, Dr. Hahn says, “Little by little, things are changing.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/features-on-jewish-world/the-synagogue-that-merges-past-and-future/2014/08/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: