web analytics
February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Shuls And Mushrooms

HaRav HaGaon Rav Steinman studying the plans for the shul.

HaRav HaGaon Rav Steinman studying the plans for the shul.

Like mushrooms, shuls of all shapes and sizes are popping up throughout Israel in places where the residents vowed no sign of traditional Judaism would ever find a place. However, unlike mushrooms, which appear overnight with little effort, these shuls are being built only after incredible input by a special organization and inspired individuals.

It all begins with Ayelet Hashachar, a non-profit organization set up in 1997 to work towards bridging the gap between religious and non-religious Jews in Israel. “So many people are searching to build themselves a new identity, even though this identity is shaking the foundation on which their society was built,” says Rabbi Raanan referring to the anti-religious doctrine that resounds through the echelons of secular Israeli society. “We take their embers and make them glow,” he adds.

Rabbi Raanan

Rabbi Raanan

Ayelet Hashachar works on several fronts: offering Shabbatonim with leading speakers; bar mitzvah programs that don’t just offer a fun tour of a yeshiva, but give the boys the chance to really learn; learning partners via phone for men and women; and traditional Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services on secular kibbutzim and moshavim all over the country. In order for prayer services to take place, the organization arranges for a minyan of volunteers to spend the holiday with the community. Volunteers are culled from the full gamut of Jewish life – hesder students, yeshiva bochurim, married men who learn in kollel, Chassidim and Sephardim – and merge into one congregation. In addition, the organization provides prayer books, a shofar, and a sefer Torah. But it’s up to the hosting location to provide the venue. Rabbi Raanan has become an expert at assessing the accommodations available and converting them into a places where G-d can enter. It often begins with a room specially converted into a shul for Yom Kippur. Within a few years, however, the original petitioners often turn to Rabbi Raanan asking for help in establishing a permanent shul that will be used for much more than once-a-year prayer services.

 

Modest Beginnings

The Givat Oz "Slichos Tent"

The Givat Oz “Slichos Tent”

Some beginnings are more modest than others. In northern Israel, for the first time this year, members of Kibbutz Givat Oz, part of the antireligious Shomer Hatzair Socialist–Zionist movement, held Yom Kippur services in a “Slichos Tent” erected in a private yard. The previous year, attempts at organizing a minyan had failed. This year, although efforts were redoubled, a 75 against 64 for vote vetoed the proposed service. Unwilling to give in, yet reluctant to upset members who insisted on holding onto the anti-religious doctrines of the kibbutz establishment, those who had voted for the service came up with an ingenious solution: a private tent in a private yard. In a letter of appreciation to Ayelet Hashachar, kibbutz member Michael Yedid wrote, “Yom Kippur arrived at last. Slowly people began to trickle in – such sweet young men came. The atmosphere turned into one of precious holiness. Kibbutz members came in for Kol Nidre. The excitement and joy took over as 50 people came to join us! What we experienced can only be described as deep joy.”

One Family’s Fire

Typically, some sort of committee comprising people brave enough to call for change turns to Ayelet Hashachar. However, on Kibbutz Kfar Menachem in central Israel, this wasn’t the case. Last year, thanks to the enormous effort made by one couple, Ahuva and Shimon Amiel, the kibbutz, which belongs to the Shomer Hatzair movement, held its first traditional Yom Kippur minyan. The couple moved to Kfar Menacham after having spent three years in Arizona where Shimon had been working on a project for Israel’s Ministry of Defense. The Amiels were the address for anyone looking for a kosher meal. “We were used to living in the Jewish community in Arizona, and Kfar Menchem was very different,” says Ahuva, describing their new home. The previous year, someone had organized a Reform minyan with a woman chazzan. Two days before Yom Kippur, it was obvious that due to lack of support, that minyan wasn’t going to take place again. “That was when we decided to step in,” says Ahuva.

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.

No Responses to “Shuls And Mushrooms”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges
Reducing Iran’s Number of Centrifuges Makes a Bomb More Likely
Latest Sections Stories
Niehaus-022715

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

Mendlowitz-022715-Basket

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

Astaire-022715-Countryside

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

South-Florida-logo

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It captures the love of the Jewish soul as only Shlomo Hamelech could portray it – and as only Rabbi Miller could explain it.

Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.

I’m here to sit next to you and help you through this Purim with three almost-too-easy mishloach manot ideas, all made with cost-conscious paper bags.

Kids want to be like their friends, and they want to give and get “normal” mishloach manos stocked with store-bought treats.

Whenever he did anything loving for me, I made a big deal about it.

“OMG, it’s so cute, you’re so cute, everything is so cute.”

A program that started with a handful of volunteers has grown exponentially to include students from a wider array of backgrounds.

Tutor. Counselor. The doctor too,
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with you.

More Articles from Rhona Lewis
Lewis-020615-Kenya

Jews integrated into life in Kenya to such an extent that in 1955, Israel Somen, who had worked extensively on the Lunatic Line (the colloquial name for the railway that was forged madly through forests and ravines, troops of tribesmen and lions) was elected the mayor of Nairobi.

Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

“I aim for the heart,” says Dvorah, “and I start with feelings, because feelings are universal.”

The gaping hole torn in my heart by my son’s death was too raw to find solace in any of the memorial events planned by others.

“Addiction can be managed, but it isn’t something that can be cured.”

“My husband, the visionary, wanted to target people who had never kept Shabbos; I, the realist, asked how they would do it.”

Keeping my hands on my head, I looked up to see four or five balls of fire exploding in the sky.

“We don’t just care for the children; we make sure they have the best quality of life.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/feautures-on-jewish-world/shuls-and-mushrooms/2013/11/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: