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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘aliyah’

Aliyah and the Gifted Child

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

As an education writer for the nonprofit organization, Kars4Kids, and as someone who made Aliyah from Pittsburgh 34 years ago, I decided to write about the challenges of Aliyah from western countries with school age children. See the previous piece in this series, Aliyah and the Special Needs Educator. Today I interview Rachel Moore of Neve Daniel.

Varda: Tell me about yourself, Rachel.

Rachel Moore

Rachel Moore

Rachel: I am 41 years old, expecting my 8th child. I have been working in PR and communications for the past 17 years in government and the non-profit world. I blog, sing, and study Torah whenever I can grab an opportunity.

Varda: When did you make Aliyah? How many children did you bring with you and what were their ages?

Rachel: I made Aliyah in 1995 at 22. However, I left again in 2000 and spent 12 years back in the U.S. for personal reasons, and only moved back in July of 2012.

My second time settling here was truly Aliyah for my children, who at the time were 12, 11, 11, 9, 7 and 4.

My eldest is my stepson, 19, who is a sophomore at Rutgers University in the U.S. He did not move here with us. My other 6 children are now 13, 12 year-old twins, 10, 8 and 5, and I am due with another one – today, actually[Rachel had her baby that evening, a little boy! V.E.].

Varda: Tell me about your children. What are their difficulties?

Rachel: We have at least two children who have been classified as “gifted” outside of Israel, and meeting their needs is a challenge, and also requires learning the system. In addition, I have one daughter who I suspect as having ADHD, but she hasn’t been classified – yet.

Varda: Where do they go to school?

The newest addition to the Moore family.

The newest addition to the Moore family.

Rachel: My 13 year-old daughter attends Orot Etzion girls’ school. My 12 year-old twin boys attend Horev High School (7th grade), my 10 year-old son attends Carmei Yehuda, Mamad Hativa Bogeret boys’ school in Alon Shvut, my 8 year-old daughter attends Shirat Chanan, Mamad Hativa Tzeira in Alon Shvut, and my 5 year-old attends the Mechina of Orot Etzion in Neve Daniel.

Varda: Do your children receive additional help outside of school?

Rachel: My daughter with [suspected] ADHD sees a therapist (in English) outside of school that specializes in children with this disability. My 10 year-old son is now enrolled in a gifted pull-out program in Efrat once a week called Afikim [Eligibility is determined by both written and oral tests and only 1.5% of students are accepted], and is in mitzuyanut [gifted class]within school. We had to get him special permission to take the test to qualify for Afikim at the beginning of 5th grade, because the test is usually given in 2nd grade.

We believe that our 2nd grader would have qualified [as gifted] the year we moved here, but we didn’t know she had the option to take the test in English or with translation help. No one had explained this to us, so she took it with the rest of the class. We may still pursue an appeal so that she can retake the test, but it will probably be an uphill battle.

Varda: What out-of-pocket expenses do you have in educating your children and what is covered by the state?

World-Renowned Pianist Evgeny Kissin to Get Israeli Citizenship

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

The Interior Ministry will grant Evgeny Kissin, one of the world’s leading classical pianists and an enthusiastic Jewish supporter of Israel, Israeli citizenship event though he does not live in the country, the Jewish Agency said Thursday

Kissin, 42, told Jewish Agency Chairman Sharansky a year ago that he was interested in acquiring Israeli citizenship in order to enable him to “fight for Israel not only as a Jew, but also as an Israeli” although he is not permanently based in Israel. Sharansky passed on the request to the government.

“There are other Jewish musicians who reach Kissin’s level of musical talent, but it isn’t every day that so acclaimed a musician joins the fight for Israel so openly and so uncompromisingly,” said Sharansky.

Upon receiving an honorary doctorate from the Hebrew University in 2010, Kissin said, “Wherever we Jews live, our thoughts, hopes, and prayers are always with Israel and with our ancient and holy capital, Jerusalem. We Jews have every reason to be proud of the State of Israel.”

He will arrive in Israel this weekend in order to receive the citizenship and will perform in a one-time benefit concert at Jerusalem’s International Convention Center.

Kissin was born in Moscow and began playing and improvising on the piano at the age of two. At the age of six, he enrolled in the Gnessin State Musical College, and he had his international debut at the age of 12 in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Kissin has been called “one of the great pianists of our time” and has been presented with two Grammy Awards and Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music.

Seventh Hanukkah Candle to Be Lit in Seven Nations Simultaneously

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Immigrants to Israel from seven countries will light Hanukkah candles Tuesday night simultaneously with Jews in seven other countries in a ceremony organized by the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption and The Jewish Agency for Israel.

The candle lighting in Israel will take place at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, where 300 young olim  from France, Ethiopia, the United States, Yemen, Latvia, Latin America, and the Bnei Menashe community of India will be joined by Jews lighting at the same time in Paris, London, Moscow, Kiev, Tashkent and Budapest.

The event will be broadcast live  here at 3:30 p.m. Israel time (8:30 a.m. EST).

It’s Hanukkah, Not Thanksgiving and Not Thanksgivukkah

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

I already have erased the first version of this article, which was preachy and snotty, when I realized I have lived in Israel too long to remember that I lived too long in America before moving to Israel.

All of the rah-rah Israel attitude than landed with me 30 years ago comes out like a tired preacher fed up with his flock of sinners and no longer able to lead them to the path of Truth and Beauty.

So for all of you still in the United States, and in Canada where I lived for eight years, the only way I know to get inside you is to write the news and views the way I see it, and not as the journalist I once was, when I had traded in Judaism for Journalism as The Way of Life.

My trip into idol worship – H. L. Mencken was one of my gods – ended in the news room at a major metropolitan daily in Canada, where I had the fancy title of Senior News Editor with a salary I have not seen again until this day.

That was in 1981, during what was known as the Peace for the Galilee campaign, usually referred to as the First War in Lebanon. I was ripping off UPI and AP copy, poring through the reports and deciding what our readers would read and what would go into the trash bin.

At that time, Judaism was a memory, and Zionism was an embryo, which I did not know existed.

Let’s go back a bit, but briefly. I grew up in a home where my parents of blessed memory became observant when I was almost too young to remember. Fast forward to 1960, when I was 16 and when they already were heavily involved in the Orthodox Union and Hadassah and took their first trip to Israel.

I was going to public high school but was very serious in my religious learning, which I continued at the “afternoon Hebrew school” well after my Bar Mitzvah. My favorite bedtime reading was the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch on Jewish laws.

Israel was never a part of my studies, except for stories about Jews in the days of “Palestine.”

When my parents returned with photographs of Israel, I refused to look at them. I blurted out instinctively, “Israel is not a religious state. I do not want to see pictures from a Jewish state that is not orthodox.”

If you have not gotten the point, I was far from a Zionist. As a cub reporter in a small hillbilly town in Virginia during the Six-Day War, I remember my managing editor calling out, “Hey, do you know what you guys are doing to the Arabs?

I did not know and could not have cared less. I was more interested in pounding the police beat.

But what happened in the news room in Canada during the war in Lebanon tore me up.

Journalism was my Truth, but something did not read right between the lines of the wire copy.

It said that Israeli soldiers were attacking “guerillas” inside Lebanese territory and then noted the “invasion” followed some rockets that had fallen on Israel, killing a few people here and there.

And you thought that the anti-Israel bias on the war against terror in Gaza, Judea and Samaria is something new? Every day, I read about Israel “invading” Lebanon and killing these “guerillas,” with the obvious bias that Israel was to blame for the violence that I could see between the lines was initiated in Lebanon.

I couldn’t take it anymore. My belief in Journalism was extinguished in a flash. I was devastated. After six weeks, I walked into the news room and said, “I quit.”

The bosses were astonished but did not ask for an explanation, and I do not know if I could have answered. Journalism had become  a lie, and there would be no sense telling the gods they have ears and cannot hear and have eyes and cannot see.

Two years later, I took my first trip to Israel – on a one-way ticket, intent to stay, which I did.

So dear, reader, I am trying not to preach to you. I can only let you know of one person’s path to The Truth.

Everyone has his or her own path, and I cannot communicate to you other than through the news and views.

You have your reasons – let’s be honest and call them excuses, in most cases – to remain outside of Israel. I am not referring to those with children. I  mean all of the singles and couples without children and without the financial responsibility that could be a question mark before moving to Israel. We can discuss that some other time.

I cannot persuade you or convince you other than to write through my eyes that see Israel with its warts and puts them in perspective of a Divine Presence that protects this country, and see the warts of American in the perspective of a fading empire whose Jews are living in their hope that there will always be a tomorrow.

All of this comes to mind on what is being called Thanksgivukkah, a name which says volumes.

I am sure Americans have a lot to be thankful about, and I will let each one count his own blessings.

My “anti” stage has long passed; I am not anti-American nor anti-America. I was born there, grew up there, was educated there and worked there.

And I am thankful that Thanksgiving is so far behind me that I don’t have the burden of having to celebrate the Miracle of Lights and the Jewish victory over the Romans  in the home of the Jewish people along with the holiday that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

According to my prayer book, every day is a day of thanksgiving.

Ex-Teva CEO Jeremy Levin Says He Is Staying in Israel – for Now

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Jeremy Levin, who moved to Israel last year to take over the helm at Teva Pharmaceuticals only to be fired last month, say he loves Israel and is staying here, at least for the time being.

Unlike Stanley Fischer, who made aliya to take over the post of Governor of the Bank of Israel and then packed up and left earlier this year, Levin is a lot more outgoing an expresses himself on a more personal level.

“I intend to devote my time in the short term to get to know Israel and Israelis, and to see everything that this country has to offer,” Levin told graduates in the masters program for business administration at Tel Aviv University Tuesday.

“There is special warmth and love in Israel, and I’m proud to be an Israeli,” he added. “Follow your hearts, dream big, learn from mistakes and appreciate the loss in order to learn from it.”

He also said he looking for work.

“As for myself, I immigrated and I’m now unemployed, so if you have some interesting offers…,” Levin told the graduates.

Levine expressed the same views as  Fischer and his successor Karnit Flug that Israel needs to “educate all sectors of society and include all the nations: Christians, Jews, Muslims, groups such as the Haredim, the Druze, everyone. Everyone should be an important contribution to the economy.

Peres and Netanyahu ‘Parlent Francois’ to Hollande

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu practiced out their French Sunday to welcome French President Francois Hollande at Ben Gurion Airport Sunday.

Hollande suffered the Israeli accent, assuming he is like most Frenchmen, who shiver whenever a foreigner tries to pretend he can speak French.

Hollande returned the compliment and told Prime Minister Netanyahu, in Hebrew, that he would “always remain a friend of Israel.”

Netanyahu said, “Vive la France, vive l’Israel, vive l’amitie entre la France et l’Israel” after showering Hollande with praise in English for Paris’ stand against the Iranian and Syrian regimes.”

President Peres went all out and said, “Je suis heureux de vous recevoir en Israel à vous exprimer, au nom de tous les Israéliens, nos souhaits les plus vifs de la plus amicale et la plus chaleureuse des bienvenues. Votre visite, Monsieur le Président, met en lumière et votre attachement à Israel, et l’estime profonde qui lie nos deux peuples.”

The translation, more or less, is, “I am happy to receive you in Israel and to express in the name of all Israelis the kindest and most amiable greetings and warmest welcome. “

Having run out of superlatives, he continued in French, “Your visit, Mr. President, highlights your attachment to Israel and the profound esteem that binds our nations.”

For clinchers, he told Hollande, “The soul of France is equality” and then switched to English to explain, “I can add that the description that ‘equality is the soul of France’ accompanies me almost from birth. That is indeed France. A beating heart that gave to the world three irreplaceable words; liberty, fraternity and equality. The people of Israel owe France a great debt for standing by our side in times of peace and of war. For allowing the development of the Israel’s defensive force. Especially in the first years of the state, when we needed France more than at any other time.

“The gates of the world were closed to the survivors of the Holocaust. The countries that voted in favor of the creation of the State of Israel refused to provide even one gun for our self-defense. It was the France of the ‘resistance’ that broke the embargo which was placed upon Israel and allowed us to bring immigrants to Israel. It was France that stood by Israel’s side during our War of Independence. Enthusiastically, with the support of its citizens, its soldiers, its writers and its leaders France allowed us to defend ourselves as a sovereign state and to build a new society.”

The warm praises that the President and Prime Minister showered on Hollande, and the praise of Israel by the visiting president, contrast sharply with frigid relations nine years ago when then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon openly called on Jews in France to flee anti-Semitism and come to Israel to live.

Things have changed since then, such as the threat of a nuclear Iran even if anti-Semitism remains.

“We are full of admiration for your unflinching stance to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon for mass destruction. Iran seeks to dominate the Middle East with nuclear arms and long range missiles,” said President Peres, sparing Hollande from more ear-crunching French.

But he insisted on concluding in French and said,  “Vive la France. Vive Israel. Vive l’amitié entre la France et Israel.”

US Immigrant to Israel Quits as B’Tselem Director

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

American-born Jessica Montell said she is stepping down as Executive Director of the leftwing B’Tselem organization with satisfaction that the 25-year-old group has grown into a ”large, strong organization.”

She emphasized B’Tselem’s campaign against what she called  “severe violations of human rights in” in Judea and Samaria, referred to by her as “ the Occupied Territories.”

World Orthodox Leaders Honors Rabbi Fass for Promoting Aliyah

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

The World Orthodox Leadership Forum honored Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder of Nefesh B’Nefesh, at its annual dinner in Jerusalem on Monday for his contribution to aliyah to Israel.

Rabbi Fass is a co-founder of the Nefesh B’Nefesh organization, which has helped thousands of Jews from North American and Britain to move to Israel.

Additional honorees at the dinner included former National Religious Party minister Zevulun Orlev and Rabbi Chaim Sabato in recognition of his contribution to Jewish Literature.

Minister of Housing Uri Ariel and former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Shlomo Amar also attended the event.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/world-orthodox-leaders-honors-rabbi-fass-for-promoting-aliyah/2013/11/12/

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