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August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Bnei Akiva’

Fifty Years In Israel

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

How old does one have to be to be a member of Bnei Akiva? Here in Israel, if we place the word “former” in front of the word “member,” there is no age limit. Several years ago, after the 70th anniversary celebration of Bnei Akiva of North America held in Jerusalem, a small group of former chaverim decided that we would like to maintain our friendship and contacts. It was time to create an organization of former Bnei Akiva of North America members who have fulfilled the dream of living in Eretz Yisrael.

Many of those involved in organizing the group have been living in Israel for 50 years or more and we decided that the cutoff age for membership should be 70 years of age. That meant, of course, that you had to be at least 70 to join our group. The oldest members are in their 90’s. The chairperson of our group is Leah Abramowitz and the committee includes myself, Rachel Karni, Hadassah Klaman, Eli Klein, Rivka Merzel, Pesach Rogoway, Naomi Rotenberg, Shoshana Silbert and Rina Wasserberg.

Our first event was a very successful Shabbat weekend in Jerusalem some three years ago and we have been thinking about our next event ever since then. We finally got our act together and planned a one-day Yom Iyun symposium that was held at the beautiful meeting center of Yad Sarah, in Jerusalem. Leah is a volunteer of Yad Sarah and she helped make the arrangements for the gathering.

Yad Sarah, the largest voluntary organization in Israel, provides free or at nominal cost services designed to make life easier for sick, disabled and elderly people and their families. Yad Sarah has 103 branches throughout Israel and is run by more than 6,000 volunteers. Yad Sarah’s mission is to keep the ill and the elderly in their homes and out of institutions as long as possible. Yad Sarah`sbest-known service is the lending of medical and rehabilitative equipment on a short-term basis free of charge to anyone who needs it – from a stock of over 250,000 items, from crutches and wheelchairs to oxygen concentrators and electronic monitors.

A reservations committee was set up and some 80 seniors, all former North American Bnei Akivaniks, pre-registered. Almost 200 seniors showed up for the event. The first hour of the event was dedicated to socializing and renewing old acquaintances with old friends and fellow chaverim. Kadish Goldberg of Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi, a former rosh moshava both in Gelatt, Penn., and in Canada, was the master of ceremonies who kept everyone laughing with his usual funny monologues. I presented a short memorial for Yoshke Shapiro, ob”m, a former member of Israel’s Knesset, the former director of Tehilah, an organization that helped new immigrants from the U.S. and western countries settle in Israel, and a former emissary to Bnei Akiva of North America, who played a significant role in many of our lives, especially those of us who had been in hachshara in Kibbutz Yavne in the late 1950’s.

Rabbi Dr. Pinchas Kahn presented an interesting d’var Torah that was followed by a light lunch. The keynote speaker of the event was Professor Natan Aviezer, an Israeli physicist who writes on creationism, evolution and cosmology from an Orthodox Jewish perspective. He is a professor of physics and former chairman of the physics department of Bar-Ilan University. He received his doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago, and subsequently held a research position at the IBM Watson Research Center near New York. In 1967, he and his wife, Dvora, made aliyah to Israel. He is the author of more than 100 scientific articles on solid-state physics. In recognition of his important research contributions, he was honored by being elected as a fellow of the American Physical Society (1984) and a research professor of the Royal Society of London (1992). Professor Aviezer gave a very dramatic review of life in Israel and what needs to be done in the future.

Unexpected Downpour Swells Lake Kinneret, Creates Havoc in Israel

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

The sun peeked out just long enough Thursday afternoon for Israelis to see the flooding caused by the “sound and light show” they endured over Wednesday night.

Cracks of thunder and long streaks of lightning interspersed with the downpour that sent sheets of rain down through the skies over Israel, drenching the entire country.

Downpours at this time of year are unusual but not unheard of, meteorologist said. By mid-afternoon Thursday, the skies in southern Israel were once again filled with leaden clouds that appeared once more to be pregnant with rain. It was not clear whether in fact more precipitation was on the way; the forecast calls for the possibility for rain, continuing even into as Friday morning.

Rain is considered a blessing in this part of the world no matter when it arrives. There has been a 2.5-centimeter (one inch) rise in the water level of Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) as a result of the record-breaking downpour.

But some may have seen it as a mixed blessing: Fifteen members of the Bnei Akiva youth group were trapped in a southern Israeli parking lot due to the flooding. They were rescued by special teams and evacuated from the scene by helicopter. IDF vehicles prepared to enter the area to help evacuate remaining hikers who had been touring in the area.

Bezeq phone lines were still down around the Dead Sea area at midday and service was sporadic at best.

Cell phone companies were scrambling to restore service in the central region. In the Jerusalem area, Cellcom customers reported all kinds of difficulties in placing their calls and in sending text messages Thursday afternoon.

The company had not formulated a response to the complaints by mid-afternoon.

Further south, near Eilat, Route 90 was still closed to traffic by late afternoon due to flash flooding that swamped the road after a night of thunder and lightning that swept Israel from north to south. Route 31, which had been closed earlier in the day, is now open.

Aliyah from the US Down13 Percent in 2013

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Only 2,680 Jews moved to Israel from the United States this past year, an 11 percent decrease from the 3.070 who “made aliyah” in 2012, according to information provided by the Jewish Agency and Ministry for Absorption and immigration.

The number of new olim from Canada was virtually unchanged, with 321 moving to Israeli in 2013, two more than in 2012.

The decline of American olim continues the reversal of an upwards trend in Aliyah that peaked in 2008 and raises questions about the future of American Zionism, if it is defined as packing up and leaving “home” to go home. In 2008, 3,300 Jews moved from the United States and Canada to Israel. The number declined slightly to 3,260 in 2009 and then dropped sharply the following two years to 2,801 and 2,575.

No figures were supplied concerning the breakdown of affiliation, but Jews who identify with Orthodoxy have consistently been the largest group, usually between half and two-thirds of new olim.

Aliyah from other countries this past year generally increased, with the most dramatic rise in France, with the arrival of 3,120 immigrants this year, compared to 1,916 in 2012.

The biggest decrease was registered in Ethiopia, which was expected because of the conclusion of Operation Dove’s Wings

“Every immigrant who arrives in order to make his or her home in Israel fills me with joy and I hope Aliyah continues to increase, “said Immigration Minister Sofa Minister Landver.

Chairman Sharansky: “That 19,200 Jews have chosen to establish their lives in Israel is a concrete expression of Israel’s

According to an analysis of the data, Israel experience programs for French Jewish youth and Aliyah encouragement efforts

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky stated, “Israel is the beating heart of the Jewish people. That 19,200 Jews have chosen to establish their lives in Israel is a concrete expression of Israel’s centrality to Jewish life and to Jews around the world. This is an era of Aliyah by choice, rather than Aliyah of rescue.”

Given the assimilation rate of approximately 70 percent in the United States, that statement could easily be argued.

Bnei Akiva Founder Rabbi Avraham Zuckerman Dies

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Rabbi Avraham Zuckerman, founder of the Bnei Akiva yeshiva network and a leader in the national-religious movement in Israel, has died.

Zuckerman, whose Bnei Akiva network included some 60 institutions, died Saturday night. He was 98.

A Lithuania native, he moved to prestate Israel in 1936. Zuckerman studied in Poland and Israel under Rabbi Yaakov Kanievsky, who became one of the leaders of the Israeli Orthodox Lithuanian community.

Four years later, Zuckerman co-founded the Kfar Haroeh Yeshiva near Netanya, eventually introducing secular subjects to the institution’s curriculum. He also was the founder of Yeshivat Hakotel in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Among the institutions in the Bnei Akiva yeshiva network are hesder yeshivas, yeshiva high schools, high schools for girls and women’s seminaries.

The rabbi refused to leave Israel to travel abroad and celebrated the day of his aliyah every year, according to Ynet.

Zuckerman is survived by his wife, five children and more than 150 great-grandchildren.

Kashrut – More Than Just A Symbol On A Box

Monday, September 10th, 2012

When I walk in to the grocery store it is second nature for me to just check to make sure that that bag of chips or that cookie has an OU or other kosher symbol on it. To many Jews, it is just something that they do, and it usually is like that for me. But when this question was asked, I thought deeper. I began to think about how this label gives me a sense of community; and as I made that connection, I thought of our rich heritage, and once that relationship was made I thought about our homeland – Israel.

When I look at the kosher label on a box of cereal or a chocolate bar, it reminds me that this symbol is something bigger than just a letter or a word on the box. It reminds me that I am part of a community – a community bigger than just my shul, or even Denver in general. A community all around the world, a community of Jews. All around the world there are people like me. Someone who won’t eat bacon at his classmate’s birthday party, or who won’t go to that basketball game with his teacher on Saturday. When a terrorist attack happens in India and a rabbi and his wife are killed, we in Denver, Colorado feel the pain and mourn the loss of our fellow brother and sister.

A couple weeks ago I went to a deaf school to learn about the deaf community. One of the teachers asked me what my school’s letters, DAT, stood for, and I told her that they were letters in Hebrew. She pulled out her necklace with the word chai on it and said to me, “I am Jewish, too.” This is what the Jewish community is. It is larger than just me and my friend, larger than just me and everyone in Denver. This is a community all around the world that show and feel a rich connection to a Jewish past; people deaf or hearing, blind or seeing, religious or not.

Our rich history is something that unites us. I often feel that one of the reasons is because in the Torah we see great role models and leaders uniting us. There is Avraham – the original leader; Moshe – who united us and brought us to a great level; and in the future, Mashiach – who will bring us all back to Israel. Unity started when the ‘Father of Judaism’ brought us all together. We know Avraham went around traveling and converting people to Judaism. He showed people there is something greater than just themselves – something bigger than them all in which they can all connect and join together. Moshe brought us out from a time of pain and affliction from the King Pharaoh. He united us, and we all went in togetherness, relying on one another, out of Mitzrayim. We know that in the greatest time of Bnei Yisroel we were all in unity as we heard the Ten Commandments being given. This was what made Hashem so happy, and this is what Moshe brought to Bnei Yisroel. For forty long years he helped us unite when we were in the desert at a hard and rough time. He made sure we were all protected and that we followed the way of Hashem – the ultimate Being that keeps us united.

Finally, I would like to focus on Mashiach. Every day we await and hope for the arrival of Mashiach, who will bring us all back from the galut into Israel. Have you ever thought why this is so important? I think this is so important because all around the world there are people searching for something deep inside with this connection to our history. When Mashiach comes, he will do that. He will bring us all together in oneness underneath the greatness and the awesomeness of Hashem – something that connected us all as one with Avraham.

The third connection that I have to this bottle of apple juice with some letter on it is my homeland Israel and how it came to be. During the Holocaust, six million Jews were killed by terrible people and their entire Jewish identity was threatened. In a sense, to me personally this symbol shows the world ‘we are here; we are here to stay.’ After this tragic event happened, people came together and Israel was formed. When I look at this can, I know that my friend Gali in Israel has the same symbol on her can of soda, too. In Israel today people have come together – Jews everywhere can look at that tiny sliver on the map and say, ‘that is my home.’ Everywhere, people connect to Israel. I am very fortunate to have a community with Bnei Akiva – a youth group centered on Israel – where we learn about Israel and get to experience people with the same fiery passion within for Israel. Israel is our home and on every single kosher symbol we can see that connection to home.

Events In The West

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Events In The West: On September 12 Rabbi Bernie Fox, principal of Northwest High School, will speak at Congregation Shevat Achim in Mercer Island, Washington. His topic: “Why can’t we all be friends? Repentance and healing relationships”… Bnei Akiva’s western regional leadership Shabbaton takes place on the weekend of September 21 in L.A.

Kashrus Update: Costco at the Hickey Blvd. store in San Francisco is now selling Meal Mart Barbecue Beef Ribs (in addition to other Meal Mart products), some chalav Yisrael cheeses, and Golden refrigerated products.

I wish the readers of The Jewish Press a healthy and happy New Year!

AGOURA HILLS, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Engagements: Jonathan Schrage, son of Alvin and Beverly Schrage and Mara Schrage, to Rachel Udkoff, daughter of Drs. Ranon and Rivka Udkoff of Westlake, Village, CA.

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Engagement: Megan Marcus, daughter of Brian and Suzanne Marcus, to Jacob Kamaras of Brooklyn, NY.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Births: Daniel and Rivka Schimel of Clifton, NJ, a daughter (Grandparents Dr. Harold and Magda Katz)… Tzalo and Rebecca Naor, a son (Grandparents Motti and Ayala Naor and Baruch and Bracha Crayk of San Diego; Great-grandmother Fani Teichman)… Natan and Sarah Leah Fried of Kiryat Sefer, a son (Grandparents Dovid and Tikvah Menter)… Jeff and Ashley Woodall, a son (Grandparents Mark and Rachelle Berger)… Jason and Dena Mason, a son (Grandparents Roger and Shelly Parrell… Dr. Avery and Ellen Schwartz, a daughter (Grandparents Dr. Joseph and Brenda Schwartz)… Yoni and Laura Battat, a daughter… Isaac and Leora Orenbuch, a daughter (Grandparents Walter and Esthie Feinblum)… Fivey and Devorah Helfgott, a daughter (Grandparents Elimelech and Bracha Farber)… Jeremy and Aviva Stern, a daughter (Grandparents Larry and Meryl Stern)… Jonny and Rachie Teller, a son (Grandparents Alan and Lisa Stern)… Moshe and Leora Abady, a daughter.

Mazel Tov – Bar Mitzvah: Moshe Nissanoff, son of Dr. Jonathan and Raizie Nissanoff.

Mazel Tov – Engagements: Adam Gleicher, son of Gary and Carol Gleicher, to Torie Kravis… Alex Schiro to Joell Czech… Naftali Fishman, son of Martin and Miriam Fishman, to Tania Rapp of Melbourne, Australia… Lisa Kurtz, daughter of Ira and Debbie Kurtz, to Seth Timen, son of Dr. Sanford and Beth Timen… Evan Cohen, son of Dr. Hart and Debbie Cohen, to Melissa Factor of Toronto, Canada… Avi Zuman, son of Dr. Betzalel and Devorah Zuman, to Rivka Feder of Lakewood, NJ… Chaya Steinberg, daughter of Rachmiel and Tziporah Steinberg, to Joel Mehrel of Boro Park, NY… Shira Lavian, daughter of Yaakov and Sharona Lavian, to Shlomo Khalili of San Fernando Valley, CA… Chaya Sara Klein, daughter of Rabbi Usher and Rochel Klein, to Eli Morgenstern of Cleveland, OH… Michael Dear, son of Rabbi Moshe and Sara Lea Dear, to Rivka Levy of Philadelphia, PA.

Mazel Tov – Weddings: Yitzi Greenbaum, son of Aryeh and Felice Greenbaum, to Aliza Vishniavsky of Boston, MA… Rachel Schultz, daughter of David and Debbie Schultz, to Daniel Small of Teaneck, NJ… Chaim Katz, son of Dr. Harold and Magda Katz, to Dena Shandalov of Chicago… Miriam Hier, daughter of Rabbi Ari and Sandee Hier, to Yehuda Dubin of Teaneck, NJ… Lawrence Dardick to Juliet Schmidt… Tova Klavan, daughter of Rabbi Yehoshua and Rochel Klavan, to Pinchas Shulman of Baltimore, MD… Tamar Rohatiner, daughter of Marc and Lynn Rohatiner, to Chezki Bendheim of Jerusalem… Uri Okrent, son of Dr. Derek and Batsheva Okrent, to Atara Jacobs of Englewood, NJ… Hillary Barak, daughter of Dr. Mark and Michelle Barak, to Aaron Khodorkovsky.

Congratulations: Barry Simon, IBM Professor of Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Caltech, upon receiving a 2012 Henri Poincare Prize from the International Association of Mathematical Physics. The prize was awarded at the International Congress of Mathematical Physics in Aalborg, Denmark.

Welcome: Rabbi Avrohom Morgenstern, new rosh chabura of the Link Kollel.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Wedding: Yael Friedkin, daughter of Jerry and Miriam Friedkin, to Matt Kovner.

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Weddings: Sivan Shachar to Shoshi Weiss… Meira Rubin, daughter of Andrew and Morissa Rubin, to Ezra Wolkenfeld of Los Angeles.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Birth: Sam and Meryn Ellis, a daughter (Grandparents Joel and Faye Snyder).

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

Mazel Tov – Weddings: Avigail Goldgraber to Aaron J. Keyak… Joey Eckstein to Michal Cohen… Rabbi Mattaniah Ahron Breezy to Rebecca Katz… Adam Saitowitz to Menucha Howell.

Bnei Akiva World Convention

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Fifty years ago, when I served as the director of Bnei Akiva of New York, I wondered how my relationship with Bnei Akiva would develop. Today, years later, after coming on aliyah to Israel in 1973, I find that I still cherish my Bnei Akiva past and still enjoy the friendships that were developed so many years ago. Not only are some of my grandchildren involved in Bnei Akiva, but I, too, still feel involved. This past year I was involved in the 75th reunion of Bnei Akiva’s Moshava camps of America, and a few years ago, I helped plan the 70th Anniversary of America’s Bnei Akiva in Jerusalem. I owe so much to the socialization and education that I received in Bnei Akiva, to my year of Hachshara (a Bnei Akiva program) in Israel and to the friendships I developed over the years.


 


I recently attended the World Bnei Akiva Convention in Jerusalem. Delegates from around the world gathered in the Jerusalem Theatre for the Grand Opening. One hundred delegates from 23 countries came to examine the accomplishments of the movement and to decide its future. They came from Europe, the U.S., Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. They toured Israel and were greeted and feted by government ministers and local Israeli leaders.


 


The major event of the four day convention was the grand opening at the Jerusalem Theatre where thousands came to greet the delegates and to honor the Bnei Akiva shlichim (emissaries) from around the world who attended this event. The program included delightful entertainment by the Yeshiva University “Maccabeats” who were flown in especially for this event. Two of the singers, Noach Jacobson and Nachum Joel, are former Bnei Akiva leaders.


 


Part of the program included greetings from Bnei Akiva Hachshara and yeshiva students from around the world who were seated in the audience. To the cheers of all of those attending, one young woman declared that she had just arrived in Israel this morning and had come to settle.


 


Rabbi Chaim Druckman, the director of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva, read the prayer for the State of Israel and the prayer for Israeli soldiers and prisoners.


 


Professor Rabbi Daniel Hershkowitz, the minister of science and technology and a former director of Bnei Akiva, gave a d’var Torah about carefully choosing emissaries. Zevulun Orlev, a former Bnei Akiva member of Shevet Alumim, reminded the audience that just as the parshah speaks of leaving Egypt, all Jews must leave the Diaspora, even if it is comfortable and rich, and come to Israel. “You must remove the Egypt from every Jew.”


 


The keynote speaker at the opening was President Shimon Peres, who declared, “There is no Israel without Judaism, and there is no Judaism without Israel. You have to believe and those who think otherwise are wrong!” He continued, “You are endangering our identity if you speak Hebrew without knowing the Tanach. You are endangering the future of the Jewish people if you learn Tanach without even knowing how to pray. Hebrew and Jewish tradition go together.”


 


Zeev Schwartz, the director of World Bnei Akiva, spoke and mentioned that Yoske Shapiro, the first Bnei Akiva director, was among the many guests and former shlichim that evening. Schwartz praised all of the emissaries and spotlighted the contribution of Arye Kroll, the former shaliach to Australia. Kroll spoke and pointed out that, “Bnei Akiva is not just a movement but it also is a way of life!”


 


Avraham (DuvDuv) Duvdevani, the new chairman of the executive of the World Zionist Organization, the first Orthodox delegate to hold that position, praised those early Bnei Akiva immigrants (like me, I guess) who now have great-grandchildren living in Israel. “Wherever you go today in Israel, you will find former Bnei Akiva members.”


 


Part of the well-organized evening included film clips of greetings from Chief Rabbi Amar, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel Army Chief Rabbi Rafi Peres. Rabbi Peres, a former Bnei Akiva member, explained that he serves today thanks to Bnei Akiva.


 


An interesting film about the Hashmonaim community, which is one of the many communities that have absorbed the thousands of Bnei Akiva immigrants, was shown. Hopefully, it will soon be available on YouTube.                                              


 


Comments welcome at dov@gilor.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/bnei-akiva-world-convention-2/2011/02/02/

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