web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Am Yisrael’

Change and Renewal: The Essence of the Jewish Holidays, Festivals & Days of Remembrance

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Title: Change and Renewal: The Essence of the Jewish Holidays, Festivals & Days of Remembrance Author: Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz Publisher: Koren Publishing

Breathe deeply. You’ll need maximum physical and spiritual power to absorb the uplifting lessons in this book. Page 249 explains why some Jews are praised as “fish on dry land,” a phrase that describes Moshe Rabeinu. Am Yisrael began to appreciate his depth of character at kriat Yam Suf, realizing that “he lived in the revealed world as though he were in the concealed world.” Take another breath. You’re in for a spiritual treat as you learn how to do that.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz points out in his preface to Change and Renewal: The Essence of the Jewish Holidays, Festivals & Days of Remembrance that ‘shana‘ means both year and change. Page 44 depicts that dynamic by explaining the Malkhuyot tefilot of Yom HaDin. “There is meaning to the Jewish People’s unique existence as long as it is aware of the function of its existence, as long as it regards itself as a witness,” Steinsaltz comments. “The existence of a chosen people is meaningful only when it is a people of choice.”

The choice is made with a deep understanding of Judaism’s purpose. Page 224 describes generations’ worth of misguided Jews. The first batch and their ideological descendants chose and choose bondage in idolatrous Egypts because of what they idealize: “… exile and life among the nation… to continue being… a servant to the nations and to their values… the blows and suffering inflicted upon us by the nations cease to be something to be complained about… For some Jews, these, too, have become part of the Jewish People’s ‘mission’ – to be exiles… carrying the burden of other people’s lives and work.”

That resignation to suffer from goyim while going through superficial motions of religiosity seems to facilitate assimilation. The abandonment of Jewish values, though, is actually self-inflicted punishment for losing sight of HaShem‘s goals for Am Yisrael. Jews who reject the aliya imperative seem to be included in this indictment; they’re extraordinarily alienated from the Divine mission to live solely to fulfill HaShem‘s will. Preceding paragraphs indict the overall hametz/hunger for assimilation as the cause for other nations to resent the loss of a workforce, hence the rationale for some Jew-hatred [yg: there are others].

The chapter concerning Shavuot may resonate with Torah-aligned Jews. It cites “two decisive elements in the Ten Commandments that turn… their revelation into the great, irreversible turning point.” The first is the giving of the commandments, the second “… is the removal of life’s ideals and supreme values from the realm of the neutral to the realm of serving the Creator.”

Change and Renewal closes with comforting thoughts about teshuva, Jewish life as a do-over. It is justified hope for spiritually-charged futures. Steinsaltz writes that tzidkut rests not on achievement “but on something far greater… the very nature and very existence” of heroes and heroines among the Jewish people, “….attainments are merely extras.”

Succeed as sensible Jews. Read this 432-page hardcover.

http://itsmycrisisandillcryifineedto.blogspot.com/

Mother Of Liberty

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Chanukah and Purim have passed but they are not past, because Jewish history is not only ancient. The message of Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, is that Jewish history is now. Indeed, some of the Maccabees are still alive.

Seventy years ago, British detectives discovered Abraham Stern, a poet who had organized an army to fight for Jewish independence, hiding in Tova Svorai’s Tel Aviv apartment. A British policeman reached for his gun. Tova instinctively jumped between the gun and Stern, declaring, “You’ll have to shoot me first!”

Today, Stern is famous for having founded Lehi, also known as the Stern Gang or Stern Group. Stern and his followers – a few dozen when he was alive and one thousand by 1948 – fought to eject the British from Eretz Yisrael.

Stern was murdered in the living room of Tova’s apartment an hour after he was found. Tova is now 96 years old. She is one of the last links to the modern Maccabees who started Israel’s war for independence.

* * * * *

Tova Hochglick was born in 1915 and brought up in a religious home in Warsaw. Her family moved to Eretz Yisrael when she was eight but returned to Poland when the children got sick. They made aliyah again in 1934. While in Poland, Tova joined Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s nationalist Betar youth movement.

When Tova made aliyah, Betar charged her with watching over a younger member of the movement on the train leaving Poland. Having no ticket, he hid under her seat. Tova was next assigned to supervise a would-be illegal immigrant on the ship that carried her to Palestine.

“Srulik,” she recalls, “a blond, blue-eyed Betari, loved to sing and entertained the travelers and made friends with them all.” Only Tova knew he was a stowaway. As they approached Haifa, Srulik sat in one of the cabins, waiting for all the legal passengers to disembark; when the guards and officials were gone, he was to jump into the sea and swim ashore.

Unfortunately, one of the passengers was delayed aboard the ship and the authorities went looking for him. They found Srulik, who was sent back to Poland.

After the Holocaust, Tova inquired and learned he died fighting as a partisan.

The night before she left Poland to make aliyah, Tova and a friend walked between their homes, unable to say good-bye. Her friend told her about a group in Eretz Yisrael called Brit Habirionim (League of Toughs), whose teenage members had torn down the Nazi flag from the German consulate in Jerusalem. Tova promised her friend she would meet the heroic teens.

In Haifa, Tova met a Betar member named Moshe Svorai and told him she wanted to meet the man who had taken down the flag. He told her, “He stands before you.” They were married a few years later.

In 1936, “after many meetings and conversations in small and dark rooms,” as Tova recalls, she joined the underground Irgun. Moshe, who had been arrested for incitement against the British in the early 1930s, was arrested again in 1939 as a member of the Irgun. While Tova and her Irgun unit were taking their first lessons in firearms, she made weekly trips to Acco prison to visit Moshe – but she was already an Irgun courier, bringing messages to and from the prison.

The Svorais’ first daughter was born a month after Moshe’s release from prison. They named her Herut (Liberty).

* * * * *

After Moshe’s next arrest, Tova made weekly visits to the Mizra Detention Camp, his new place of imprisonment. Now she acted as courier for Abraham Stern’s Haifa underground. She smuggled mail to prisoners; found visitors from Tel Aviv to take intercity messages; and managed to get a gun inside the camp. Tova hid it in a box of honey and says she “stood near the fence as a nice Englishman looked at everything. I smiled even though I was worried because I had a daughter at home. But the gun got to Moshe.”

On other days, while supposedly leading a quiet life with her family, she looked for young people with whom to “talk about the hot subjects of the day, like whether to respond in kind to attacks on the Jews and whether to prepare to establish an army.” She let the underground know when she encountered potential members.

“So even though I was mother to a young girl and the wife of someone under arrest, I felt I was doing something to establish the state we dreamed of,” says Tova.

While being transported from prison to prison, Moshe and his police escort stopped for some beer and Moshe escaped as they drank and used the facilities. He and Tova were soon back in Tel Aviv, an area Abraham Stern then put under Moshe’s command. One night in January 1942 Moshe brought Stern to his apartment and asked Tova if Stern could stay; he had nowhere to hide and was being hunted by the police and Jews who opposed his war against England.

My Own Hashgachah Pratis

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Several weeks ago I started a series on hashgachah pratis, or Divine Providence. Every believing Jew knows that events do not just unfold randomly; the story I told of two brothers named Yaakov and Yedidya clearly testified to that reality in a contemporary setting.

My column about the boys’ experience inspired many readers to share how their own personal challenges had enhanced their awareness of the guiding Hand of G-d in their lives.

What I never expected was that I would be sharing my own story of hashgachah pratis – certainly not under the circumstances I am about to describe.

For many years now, I and members of my family have spent Pesach at various resorts. This year was no exception. I had the opportunity to experience with some of my family the wonderful KMR program, run by the Werner family and featuring caterer Michael Schick, in the picturesque setting of the Park Hyatt Aviara in San Diego.

The program features a beautiful synthesis of entertainment and inspiration. Rabbis and rebbetzins are responsible for the enlightening Torah aspect of the program. In this case the rebbetzin, as you may have guessed, was me.

I was scheduled to speak at the beginning of Yom Tov and during the concluding days. The first days, Baruch Hashem, were wonderful, but the last days gave me a jolt I never anticipated.

On the final day of chol hamoed, in the middle of the night, I fell.

Some might wonder what on earth was I doing at 3 a.m., but those who know me are aware that my hectic schedule prevents me from going to sleep at a normal time. In any event, I fell, and it was not a simple fall. In all my years I don’t think I ever experienced such excruciating pain. My screams woke many guests. My daughter, whose room was nearby, came running with my son-in-law. I couldn’t move, not to the right or to the left. The pain was all encompassing.

Quickly the medics arrived and they called for an ambulance. As I was lifted onto a stretcher my agony became even more unbearable. While this was happening, it occurred to me somewhere in the back of my mind that most likely I would need surgery. Here I was in San Diego, far away from New York where I am familiar with the hospitals and doctors who attend to such acute injuries.

My daughter requested that the ambulance driver take me to the best hospital and, Baruch Hashem, we were not disappointed. I was blessed to receive the finest medical care and to encounter the kindest and most compassionate staff of nurses and physicians at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, led by an amazing CEO, Carl Etter.

The orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Christopher Hajnik, operated with dispatch. Time was of the essence – the evening would usher in Yom Tov.

As I learned firsthand, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas is one of the finest medical centers in the country. Of more than 6,000 hospitals in U.S., it is ranked in the top 100. Even as I write this column from my hospital bed I am in awe of this facility. B’ezras Hashem, I will be soon be transferred to Scripps rehab where the process of learning to walk again will commence.

In the interim, in the midst of my tears, I knew I had to give honor to Hashem – something that my saintly parents – HaRav HaGaon HaTzaddik Avrohom, zt”l, and Rebbetzin Miriam Jungreis, a”h – taught me and that I try to do on all occasions. I spoke words of Torah and I discovered listening ears, minds and hearts. This was evident among the nurses and physicians – and CEO Carl Etter as well.

Prior to being wheeled into the operating room I blessed Dr. Hajnik and prayed that Hashem should send the Malach Rafael – the angel of healing – to guide his hands. I was so grateful to see his reaction. His eyes reflected faith rather than cynicism.

This same faith was seen everywhere. I shared words of wisdom from our Torah with this genuinely warm group of people. Soon I discovered that the calling card of Carl Etter is his humility. He spoke of his genuine faith in G-d. He expressed this by referring to teachings from the Bible. He spoke of truth, compassion, charity, integrity, honor, love and loyalty. He told me of his admiration for the wisdom of the Jewish people, the people of the book.

Carl spoke of his passion to teach and share with others G-d’s Word. He considers himself a wealthy man with many treasures – spiritual treasures all stemming from his faith in G-d.

Then I met the physical therapist assigned to help me. He was humming a tune, and the lyrics made me pause: “G-d brought forth the people of Israel on wings of eagles…” What an amazing song to hear in San Diego at Scripps Memorial from my physical therapist. Of course, we Jews – Am Yisrael – should be singing about wings of eagles – wings that will carry Elijah the Prophet as he announces the coming of Mashiach, soon in our day.

The Ohana Family – Formerly of Neve Dekalim; Now of Ein Tzurim

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

The family: My name is Ora Ohana. My husband Gadi and I have eight children: Odaiya (30) who is married with four children, lives at the Ein Tzurim caravilla site; Eliyasaf (29) who is married with three children, lives in K’far Tapuah; Elyakim (27) is married with one daughter and lives in Pisagot; Hadass (26) is married with two children and lives at the Ein Tzurim caravilla site; Amitzur (21) has finished the army and learns at the Yeshiva Gevoha in Dimona; Benaya (19) will be enlisting in the army; Tamar (16), is a student at Ulpanat Neve Dekalim and No’am (12) is a student at Talmud Torah Atzmona, Shomriya.

Background: We married in 1981, lived for one year in Hertzliya and then in Kiryat Gat for another year. After the evacuation of Hevel Yamit we felt a great need to assist the settlement that was developing in the Gaza Strip. In 1983 we moved to Gush Katif. We registered for the community of Neve Dekalim, but there were not enough houses available so we lived in Gan Or for two years.

I completed my studies at the Talpiot College as an arts and crafts teacher. My husband Gadi is a sofer stam. There was a great demand for homes in Neve Dekalim and we were required to prove that we worked in professions needed there. Without such proof we would not have been accepted to the community! Thanks to Reuven Rosenblatt, the mayor, and Rabbi Yigal Kaminetsky, who both said it was important for the community to have a sofer stam, we were accepted.

Over the years my husband continued to sell mezuzot, tefillin and sifrei Torah. I worked as an arts and crafts teacher at the regional school, after which I switched to independently teaching arts and crafts classes to women and children. I was the educational coordinator for Neve Dekalim from 1990 until the disengagement.

Our house – then: We lived in Neve Dekalim for 20 years. We rented a 75 sq. m. house that had been brought from one of the uprooted Hevel Yamit communities. When it became possible we purchased the house – because our family had also grown we decided to enlarge it. We had a beautiful garden with many fruit trees and wonderful neighbors.

Our house – now: Today we live in the temporary Ein Tzurim caravilla site – with 55 families from Neve Dekalim and approximately 60 families from the communities of Netzer Hazani and Gadid. This is the sixth year! Our house is two caravans attached together, totaling 120 sq. m. The garden is very small and the fruit trees are in large flowerpots. They will move with us to our permanent house, G-d willing.

Day of uprooting from Neve Dekalim: It was a very difficult day, closing a long period of emotional and physical stress.

My husband and I made a number of decisions: 1. We would not pack up the house before the disengagement. 2. We would not actively struggle with the soldiers. 3. We would maintain the strength of the family unit. 4. We would try not to deal with what we didn’t have, but rather with what we did have and to increase the good. 5. We would continue with our personal and national tasks despite the severe feeling of betrayal.

The bus ride [to a hotel] was very difficult and long. There was much crying, anger and concern about the unknown.

What we left behind: A beautiful period of life in a flourishing place, with good people, a life of giving and mutual assistance. A place that gave ample room for a life of spirit and holiness, quality culture, genuine Zionism. It was an example of an ideal community in the Land of Israel.

Feelings toward the State: From the moment that Ariel Sharon declared his Disengagement Plan, and the undemocratic way in which he implemented it, we felt great anger and insult. But we knew to differentiate between “the state” and those in power who were making horrific errors for the people of Israel.

We have no feeling of anger towards the state because the state is us. We have no difficulty celebrating Independence Day or flying the Israeli flag. On the other hand we developed a lack of trust in the legal system, and in our leaders. The feeling is even sharper among our youth. In our home you could say that one son took it harder than the others.

The biggest difficulty: The use of IDF soldiers for the task of the disengagement, lack of trust in governmental agencies, the continuation of evacuations of communities and residents, decline in motivation of the youth to enlist in the army or to contribute to the state, the very drawn-out process of new house construction.

Have you built a house? We are taking part in building a new community, B’nei Dekalim. It will have 600 families. The first stage is a neighborhood being built for 159 families. The community will be the largest and the most central community in Lachish. It will have educational institutions and possibilities for tourism and vacationing.

Purim Afterthoughts

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Purim is the one Yom Tov all Jews can celebrate. Special knowledge is not required and the demands of its observance are easy enough.

There are no restrictions, no prohibitions; we are simply called upon to rejoice and listen to the megillah with its story of the miraculous salvation of our people despite the evil designs of Haman. We exchange gifts, give tzedakah to the poor, dress up in costumes and celebrate at a festive seudah. In short, on Purim, we can experience joy without bounds; we need only plunge into it.

On Purim, the front door to my house, normally closed, is wide open. It simply takes too much time to respond to each ringing of the doorbell. As in all Jewish neighborhoods, young b’nei Torah come collecting for their yeshivas and people of all ages and backgrounds come soliciting for their various tzedakahs.

When the yeshiva boys come to my house and announce which school they are collecting for, I make a demand of them. “Not so fast,” I say. “Make it freilich. Let me hear a good song. Let me see a good dance. Give me a little d’var Torah. Come to the table. I have some cake there so that you can make a berachah and I can say ‘Amen!’”

We talk. I inquire about their families, where they reside, etc. I learned this from my revered father, HaRav HaGaon Avraham Halevi Jungreis, zt”l, who was never content with just greeting people but always engaged every person in conversation and gave him a berachah.

As a young rebbetzin with small babies, I spoke daily at the Pineview Hotel in the Catskills during the summer months. I had the great zechus to have my parents with me every Shabbos. I am not exaggerating when I say it would take us over an hour to make our exit from the dining room, as my father would stop at every table and speak with every individual, giving each a blessing. That awesome legacy left an indelible impression on my soul.

I love all my Yiddishe kinderlach. They are proof positive that Am Yisrael continues to live and thrive. These are Yiddishe neshamalach who devote this day not only to celebrations with their families and friends but to going door to door raising funds for Torah institutions.

Of course, one needs to be wary. This year, a Hispanic-looking man wearing a yarmulke came through my door and announced he was collecting money for himself and his family. He explained that they were in dire need of support.

As I mentioned, I always have a tray of cake on the table and invite all those who come in to make a berachah. On my counter I also happened to have some food I was preparing. Without asking, this man went to the counter and helped himself to the food.

“I didn’t hear you make a berachah,” I said. “I always like to say ‘Amen.’”

He ignored me and just went on eating. I became suspicious and doubted he was a Jew.

“Do you know how to say ‘hello’ in Hebrew?” I asked.

“No,” he replied.

“Do you know what we do as we enter and depart from a house?”

This time he answered “yes,” placing his hand on his lips and making some kissing sounds in the direction of the door.

“What is this called?” I asked, pointing to the mezuzah.

“I don’t know,” he said.

“I don’t think you’re a Jew,” I said. You just want to collect money from Jews.”

Before sending the man on his way I told him, “I will give you a few dollars because it is Purim and we are a compassionate people. But please don’t try to take advantage of our goodness in this way again.”

May Hashem grant that next year we will all celebrate in Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh, where we will eternally celebrate Purim even when Mashiach comes. May we see him soon in our own day.

The Wisdom within the Law

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

The Torah portion of Mishpatim deals primarily with the civil laws that govern communal interaction. The fact that these decrees are given at this point – directly after the Hebrew tribes receive the Ten Commandments – shows a clear distinction between Western religions and Israel’s Torah. In truth, the Jewish nation has no such concept as “religion” in the formal sense of the term, as we reject the notion of anything lying outside the realm of HaShem. It is Israel’s mission to elevate every sphere of Creation by infusing it with kedusha and bringing it to its highest potential in our world.

Western civilization generally views religious observance as something limited to an individual’s private sphere of ritual and prayer. This erroneous perception constructs a false division between private service to G-D and the way a person treats his fellow man. The Torah recognizes no such distinction as all areas of life are intertwined and holiness derives from ethical business dealings and proper military conduct no less than from piety in matters of Torah study and prayer. The Sages teach that a Jew wishing to be live a pious life should be scrupulous in matters of civil law (Baba Kamma 30a). From this it is derived that the seat of the Sanhedrin should be on the Temple Mount, for both the Temple and the Sanhedrin are expressions of HaShem’s Ideal in this world. A judge who rules properly is considered a partner in Creation while one who judges corruptly is called a destroyer of G-D’s world. It is therefore appropriate that immediately after carrying Am Yisrael through the recognition of HaShem’s power, the miracles of the Sea and the revelation at Sinai, the Torah commences with precepts that seem almost mundane in character but are in fact no less expressions of HaShem’s greater Ideal than is the first of the Ten Commandments proclaiming His existence and sovereignty over all.

In the book of Melachim I (Kings 1), the Queen of Sheba visits the Israeli Kingdom of Shlomo. At the commencement of her visit, she expresses great skepticism regarding international rumors of the monarch’s wisdom. But after observing the way in which the Hebrew society functioned, the visiting queen is astounded. She immediately begins to praise Shlomo’s wisdom and HaShem’s supremacy, recognizing kedusha not merely in how Israelis observed Shabbat or brought korbanot to the Temple, but also in the way the realm functioned day-to-day. She expressed immense admiration for every aspect of the Hebrew Kingdom, down to the way in which the servants were dressed. Sheba discovered that Israel’s Torah encompasses all of national and even international existence, including the most seemingly mundane aspects of life.

The Divine Ideal of Am Yisrael existing as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation necessitates the sanctification of every aspect of individual and national life, revealing the unity of HaShem as encompassing all. While any gentile can be a righteous and holy individual, only Israel has the potential to be a holy nation, expressing kedusha in every facet of nationhood. Only through establishing such a holy kingdom can the Jewish people fulfill our collective mission of bringing Creation to its ultimate goal of total perfection and awareness of HaShem.

Reviewing Torah Tapestries: Shemos

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Title: Torah Tapestries: Shemos

Author: Shira Smiles

Publisher: Feldheim

“Deep down in the heart of the bush, even as the fire of our enemies is raging around, is the spark of emunah. It was true of the Jews in Egypt, and it will always be true of Am Yisrael. The emunah is what is behind our power to renew ourselves.”

This fiery sentence on page six of Shira Smiles’s newest sefer, Torah Tapestries: Shemos, brought tears to this reviewer’s eyes. The clear, authoritative thinking that produced this line is a hallmark of the author’s teaching style. It neatly summarizes the evidence she presents to explain exactly why Moshe Rabbeinu seemed perplexed that the sneh was not consumed by the fire within it. It illustrates and resolves the puzzling “ra’oh ra’iti” response by Hashem to Moshe’s “Madua lo yivar hasneh?”: The Creator used a physical anomaly alluding to an eternal “V’hasneh einenu ukval” quality of the newly forging Jewish nation: As a people, we cannot be destroyed.

The text soon segues into an insightful explanation of why some Jews did not leave Egypt. The classic, timeless lesson leads to examinations of the issues of teshuva, blessings, the imperative to speak and teach only truth, to live balanced, lives and more. Discerning readers will reflect on today’s headlines and find within the text the resolution to many doubts about making aliyah in our times.

Smiles’s analysis of Sefer Shemot is supported with classic Jewish commentaries, including Rabbis Chaim Friedlander, Eliyahu Dessler, and Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the Rambam, Rashi, and other important figures of Jewish thought and philosophy. The comments are clarifying, uplifting, and typical of the author’s live shiurim for her students and community groups. Her conclusions are soundly based.

Anyone interested in meticulously researched writings important to the future of Am Yisrael should add 190-page hardcover Torah Tapestries: Shemos to public and private libraries. Feldheim would do well to 1) improve the fonts in subsequent editions, for easier reading by weaker eyes and 2) to use tapestry cover art consistent with the message of the Torah Tapestries book series. The book’s only other fault is that it ends with suggestions on how “to internalize the blessing of Moshe Rabeinu” while remaining aware that Hashem is “the only source of blessing.” Readers will be hungry for more mind- and soul-building information from the author.

The Kalef Family Formerly of Neve Dekalim; Now Of Nitzan

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

The family: Parents Avinadav and Hanna Kalef; son, Ortal; daughter, Kinneret and son, Ronen. All of three Kalef children married while the family lived in Gush Katif and are themselves today, parents.

Background: “We came to Gush Katif in 1993 from K’far Saba because of the Oslo Accords. We wanted to strengthen ‘the Gush’ and we thought that if we went to live there and many others would join, we could stop the ‘Peace Talks’ from continuing. We hoped that Am Yisrael and the world would understand that Gush Katif is part of the Land of Israel and that it’s not possible to relinquish it to non-Jews.

“When we arrived in Neve Dekalim we left behind jobs, family and friends in the central region of Israel. When we came Avinadav began work in Ashdod in his profession, printing, while I [Hanna] stayed at home. Ortal began high school in K’far Chabad, Kinneret studied at Ulpanat Neve Dekalim and Ronen was in seventh grade at Na’ot Katif. After that I worked as a secretary at the Pelemix factory in Moshav Katif. The commute was not easy for either Avinadav or me, but we were happy to merit living in Gush Katif and we knew that it was very important, so that was enough.

“The children were happy to live in Neve Dekalim and it was good for us to live among the wonderful people of the Gush, despite the fact that it was not easy to leave all of the comforts of the central region of Israel.

“We took good care of our house and carefully tended the garden in Neve Dekalim. We planted many trees. Some of them were special trees such as Yemenite etrog and gat that we’d taken from our Saba Hayim’s – Avinadav’s father – garden. Unfortunately we were not able to take them with us during the expulsion.

“Our daughter Kinneret was the first of our children to marry. We held the henna ceremony in the events hall of Neve Dekalim. There was great happiness and the celebration was special. Many guests arrived from within Israel and from abroad and were very impressed with the special community and the wonderful place.

“Our son Ronen married when we were living in Shirat HaYam and the young couple lived in Neve Dekalim. Ortal married while were living in Neve Dekalim. For both of them we celebrated a Shabbat Chatan in Neve Dekalim and the guests were enthralled with the atmosphere and the surroundings.

“In 2000 when there were many terror attacks, including the attack on K’far Darom’s school bus, the government decided to allow Gush Katif residents to move to Shirat HaYam, which until then had been a popular site for the youth to hold Torah classes and marches. The local council asked us to come live there. At that point there were several youth and one family living at the site. We immediately joined them, living in a caravan with no electricity or water. We drove to Neve Dekalim constantly to bring items so that we could remain in the site. At night Roni Tzalach, Hy”d, brought us his generator so that we would have electricity until the local council could arrange for all the necessities.

“Despite the fact that the living conditions in the caravan were not easy (rain leaked onto the beds…) it was a wonderful and special time for us. We felt that we were doing something important for Am Yisrael.

“We lived for four years in Shirat HaYam and when the community grew sufficiently we returned to Neve Dekalim.”

Our house – then: “When we decided to live in Gush Katif we purchased a house in Neve Dekalim. The house was small and when we were able to we enlarged it a bit. When a new neighborhood was founded we purchased a plot and began to build our dream house (the house in which we were living was intended for one of our sons). Unfortunately we didn’t merit completing construction and the destructive hand of the government ‘finished the job’ before we could.”

Our house – now: “We merited, thank G-d, building a new house in Nitzan. The house is pleasant and spacious. Unfortunately there’s a feeling that the house lacks something undefinable, maybe the happiness of activity that we had in Gush Katif, maybe the sensation that in Gush Katif we had a home and here we have a residence. Something of us and our home was left behind and it’s lacking now.”

Day of uprooting from Neve Dekalim: “Our son Ortal and his wife Dafna were expelled two days after the beginning of the expulsion from Neve Dekalim. Avinadav and I were expelled from Gush Katif on the last day of the expulsion from Neve Dekalim. (During the first days we were able to evade the hands and eyes of the expulsion forces.) Our son Ronen, his wife Tzila and their son Yisrael were expelled two weeks later. They had simply been ‘forgotten.’”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/the-kalef-family-formerly-of-neve-dekalim-now-of-nitzan/2012/01/05/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: