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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Neve Dekalim’

The Gangte Family: Formerly of Neve Dekalim; Now Of Nitzan

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

The family: My name is Avin Gangte. I am a member of the Benei Menashe community hailing from the north-eastern states of Manipur and Mizoram in India. I am married to Hagit who is also from the same community and we have five children.

Background: We made aliya in April 1995 and we came straight to Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif. Our destination was prearranged with the local administration by Rabbi Eliahu Avichail, who discovered the Benei Menashe and brought us to Eretz Yisrael.

Both my wife and I hold Master’s Degrees in history from the University of Manipur. In Gush Katif I worked as a gardener and my wife worked in a children’s day care center. We lived in Gush Katif for ten years, until the expulsion.

Today: After four months in a hotel in Jerusalem, we came to Nitzan, where most of the Neve Dekalim people have chosen to resettle. We have been living in a caravilla (a special caravan) up to now. We have received a plot of land here and be’ezrat Hashem hope to build a permanent home soon.

Our house – then: Our house wasn’t much but it was “home”- with green lawns in front, plenty of sand dunes all around and a splendid view of the Mediterranean Sea in the back. It was a duplex that we shared with my parents.

Day of uprooting from Neve Dekalim: We left on the night of the sixteenth of August 2005. The day the soldiers arrived to pull us out was… like a bad dream; a nightmare; soldiers all over, residents and volunteers trying to block their entry, people crying and shouting, groups of people praying, struggles here and there and what not. It will be in our memories for a long time to come, if not forever.

What we left behind: We left behind the place where we began life in Eretz Yisrael. In Gush Katif we left behind a wonderful life, a life “away from the maddening crowd” and many happy childhood memories (three of our children were born there.)

Feelings toward the State: As for the government, the pullout was supposed to stop rocket attacks and other Arab violence; but with what’s going on since then – the nonstop firings, the continued violence, I hope they have started to realize the mistake and the foolishness of it all.

What happened to your community? The majority of the Benei Menashe community that was in Neve Dekalim are now living in Nitzan. A small group has moved to the north.

Something good that’s happened since: The one good thing I can see from the disengagement is that the government, in trying to wipe out Gush Katif has created several “Gush Katifs” all over the country.

The Wechsler Family: Formerly Of Neve Dekalim; Now Of Nitzan

Friday, July 27th, 2012

The family: My name is Liora and I made aliya from Toronto when I was 16. That was 29 years ago and I came without my family. I lived in Neve Dekalim for 18 years. I met my husband Elimelech during my first year of college. He was studying in Yeshivat Hesder Yamit which was located in Neve Dekalim. When we go t married we decided to stay in Gush Katif until we completed our studies.

Back in 1987 when I arrived in Neve Dekalim there were about 80 families living there. It was like living in a little “Legoland.” All the houses looked the same. There were gardens but the sand was everywhere – outside, inside, in the beds and sometimes even in the food. I also started to fall in love with the place and when we decided to buy a home somewhere in the country, it was obvious to us that we were going to invest in Neve Dekalim.

The community was made up of families from different backgrounds; yet, there was a feeling of belonging. Whenever you had a simcha the neighbors and the members of the community prepared the food for you. If it was a brit mila or kiddush you didn’t cater it, the community automatically got together to make up the menu for you, bake the cakes – and it was something taken for granted.

We were all young families. Most of us lived far from our relatives. I saw the community blossom to about 500 families. Our six children were born there.

Our house – then: It was the first house we bought. It was 115 sq. meters. It was not luxurious but it was a very warm home. What meant more to us than the house was the garden around it.

Our house – now: We moved into our home a week before Pesach. It took us almost a year to build. We, more or less, did the planning ourselves. This is a house of my dreams – it’s not fancy but serves our needs and it’s bigger because our family is bigger. Baruch Hashem we have married children and grandchildren. It was very hard for us to take the first step in planning the house because we always hoped to be able to go back to Gush Katif – and we still hope to. I don’t know if it will be in my lifetime or theirs, but we will definitely go back.

The Wechsler’s current home

It was very important for me not to turn my new home into a shrine in memory of Gush Katif. This new home doesn’t resemble my house in Gush Katif. I have been learning mosaic art for the past 2 years and I made a little work of art in memory of the destruction of Jerusalem and Gush Katif in the entrance of my home. And I have shells from Gush Katif on a plate on the coffee table in my living room. When the GK homes were being destroyed, one of my neighbors took photos of it and he brought me a photo of my home being destroyed with the bulldozer on top of it. I asked my eldest daughter who is very artistic to turn the photo into a work of art. She stuck it to a piece of wood, painted around it as though continuing the picture, and added a verse from Yermiyahu, chapter 31, verse 24.

Day of uprooting from Neve Dekalim: We were expelled physically from our home on Thursday, 13th Av (18 Aug 2005). As a family we decided there would be no violence but that we would let our fellow Jews who expelled us know of our hurt and pain. We begged them to let us stay. There was a lot of crying. My eldest children, then teenagers, were physically expelled from our home. We took the younger ones out of the house and put them on a bus a few minutes before so they wouldn’t witness what would take place. I kept going on and off the bus to make sure everybody was okay. I was especially concerned that the expulsion forces were treating my two eldest daughters properly even though they were female soldiers. I was very proud that my girls kept on talking to the authorities in a very stern, emotional way but with respect. We didn’t pack anything – only a suitcase as though we were going on a holiday for a month.

Yehudit Glazer: Formerly Of Neve Dekalim; Now Nitzan

Friday, June 15th, 2012

The family: I was seven years old when I came to Israel from Czechoslovakia. My father had gone to New York in 1939 on a business trip and while he was returning on the Queen Mary ship World War II broke out. The ship changed its course and set sail for England, where my father stayed for the next year. Afterwards he traveled to Tel Aviv. My mother and I were stuck in Czechoslovakia and eventually escaped to Slovakia where my aunt lived, because the war hadn’t reached there yet.

In 1942 my mother got false identity papers and we were eventually exchanged with the German Templers in Palestine. We arrived in Tel Aviv in 1943. I was raised in Tel Aviv. My husband a”h was from the “Tehran children.” His journey took three years -he was eight years old when he arrived in Israel in 1943. He was raised in Haifa. My husband and I met in Shalavim. He was in the IDF and I was doing Sherut Leumi.

Fast forward: We have two daughters, both of whom are married with children. Our daughter Tammy was living in Gush Katif, in Neve Dekalim, and we lived in Haifa. Ten years ago my husband became ill and Tammy offered to help by having us come and live near them. So we rented a house and moved to Neve Dekalim. The people there were so nice and helpful. Two months after we arrived, my husband passed away. I continued living near my daughter and her family for another two years – until the Expulsion. It was nice living near my children and grandchildren. I felt very good living amongst the people of Gush Katif.

My house – then: In Neve Dekalim I rented a big house with two floors because we wanted live-in help for my husband. I got used to Neve Dekalim. It was a different kind of living for me because I come from a city. My whole life I’ve lived in cities. In Neve Dekalim we had a “Golden Age” senior citizen activity center. I enjoyed its activities, and made friends. It kept me busy.

My house – now: I was able to get a 60 sq. m. caravilla because my husband was buried in the Gush Katif cemetery. Otherwise I didn’t have rights to a caravilla because I lived in Neve Dekalim for only two years and rented a private house. Currently in Nitzan I live in a small apartment attached to my daughter’s house. I enjoy this flat even though it’s a little smaller than the caravilla. The grandchildren are here a lot. I’m not alone. I have connections with my friends. The people are nice and try to help with private transportation. It is a nice and pleasant community.

The day of uprooting: I left one day before, because I had a lot of stuff. The soldiers helped me finish packing because it was too much for me. They told me that the first bus was leaving in the middle of the night and advised me to take it. I arrived at the hotel in Jerusalem the following morning.

What I left behind: I rented a large car and took my valuable things to my other daughter in Ofra, so there wasn’t much damage to my furniture or belongings.

Feelings toward the State: I didn’t move to Neve Dekalim because of politics. I never thought it would be possible for Gush Katif to last forever. However, I thought the expulsion was carried out in a very unfair way. The government promised to look after each family… even when we went to the caravillas we agreed to be there for only two years and at the end we were there for six years. Baruch Hashem we moved to a new house last Pesach, but there are a lot of people who are still living in the caravillas. Many do not have jobs and meanwhile there is no solution for them. The government promised a lot but has not delivered. There is a lot of bureaucracy and we have the feeling that sometimes we are forgotten.

The biggest difficulty: My biggest difficulty is transportation – I’m dependent on buses. I do volunteer work at Ashkelon’s Barzilai hospital’s geriatric department. I help feed ill people who aren’t independent. I also travel to Tel Aviv twice a week to visit friends and attend a course in literature.

The Lax Family – Formerly Of Neve Dekalim; Now Of Nitzan

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

The family: I was born in Israel and I’ve never left. My husband Moshe was born in Detroit, MI. His family made aliyah when he was 12 years old.

Moshe and I met in Atzmona, Hevel Yamit. We had both gone there, separately, in response to the Camp David Accords. I went to do my Sherut Leumi (community service) and Moshe went to live there. We lived there until, under instructions from the Israeli government, Hevel Yamit was evacuated. The government then encouraged families to move to Gush Katif. We were married in Gush Katif in the newly re-established community of Atzmona. Our first four children, all daughters, were born in Atzmona and then we moved to Neve Dekalim where five more children were born.

Moshe worked in agriculture and I opened a private daycare for babies. We lived in Gush Katif twenty-three wonderful years – they were the best!

The Lax Family's Home In Nitzan

Our house – then: We had one side of a duplex – a beautiful house with a green garden. It was the house in which we raised our children, hosted many guests and we loved it very much. We had wonderful neighbors and though we didn’t plan it, our house was close to the Beit Knesset complex.

Our house – now: We have a beautiful two-story house which we merited moving into about eight months ago. The house is free-standing so we aren’t as close to our neighbors. We built a small attached apartment for my mother. This is very, very good for her, for us, for our children – the relationship is very good, Baruch Hashem. We didn’t plan it but once again we are close to the Beit Knesset complex. We love our house and we’re trying to get used to the new town and area.

Day of uprooting from Neve Dekalim: It was very, very difficult… We have sad memories. Once we arrived at the hotel we, like many other large Gush Katif families, had a difficult time keeping our family unit together. Several of our children were placed in hotel rooms not near each other. For example, Moshe and I with our two youngest were in one room and our remaining seven children were placed in three separate rooms at opposite ends of the corridor from us. It took awhile but eventually we managed to get our family situated into four rooms next door to each other. Other families had similar problems.

What we left behind: We left behind all the memories of a wonderful community, raising the children, work, the education, the sand and the sea. In short, all of the good things.

Feelings toward the State: We have no other Land. With all of the pain and the anger, we’re trying to continue – and we hope that the same mistakes will not be repeated.

The biggest difficulty: Starting over again: building, work, education – everything, in every area. One day the government took us out of Gush Katif and then it took several months to think what exactly we need. And yet before the Disengagement Plan the government said, “There’s a solution for every family” but they didn’t say when. It has now been six years and many families are still in caravillas, not working, and don’t have a solution. It’s not enough to be in a home – we have to have a livelihood. A lot of us are over fifty years old and nobody wants to hire us.

Moshe has retrained and is now a certified tour guide. He is fluent in both English and Hebrew and enjoys giving tours to Taglit-Birthright Israel programs, the Educational Resource Center in Nitzan, the Gush Katif Museum in Jerusalem, at the communities where Gush Katif residents have been dispersed, and he continues to give private, individual, family, and group tours throughout the country. But even with all this, his work isn’t consistent and he can’t make a living off of his new profession.

Moshe and Tammy with their eldest daughter.

What happened to your community? Currently we are with about half of Neve Dekalim that was in “the Gush.” Approximately 100 families have already moved to the permanent site. More families are building, but some are not building because they have exhausted their funds.

Something good that’s happened since: Our oldest daughter married and we have two granddaughters.

What do you wish yourselves? To settle in, to return a bit to normal, and to look forward…

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.

The Chongloi Family: Formerly Of Neve Dekalim; Now Of Nitzan

Friday, February 17th, 2012

The family: My name is Gershon Chongloi. I live in Nitzan (I was evacuated from Neve Dekalim, may it be rebuilt soon in our days). I am 27 years old, married with two children. I made aliya in 1995 from northeastern India. I came with my family: my parents and my two younger sisters. The older of the two, Chagit is married, has two sons and is living in Ofra. My younger sister, Michal, is single, living with our parents and studying at Emuna College in Jerusalem.

Background: We are members of the tribe of Menashe. We came on aliya through the assistance of the Amishav Organization headed by Rabbi Eliyahu Avichayil. The organization brought us directly from the airport to Gush Katif, to the community of Neve Dekalim. There I attended the Na’ot Katif school and very successfully finished my studies. After completing elementary school I continued on to yeshiva high school in Dimona. During 11th and 12th grade I was a counselor for the Ariel youth movement in Neve Dekalim. After high school, approximately one year before the expulsion, I started the hesder program at Yeshivat HaKotel in the Old City of Jerusalem.

After the expulsion the state housed us in the Sha’arei Yerushalayim Hotel in Jerusalem. We stayed in the hotel for approximately half a year, at which time we moved with the entire community of Neve Dekalim to Nitzan, which is between Ashkelon (to the south) and Ashdod (to the north). After a year and a half of studying at the hesder yeshiva I enlisted in the IDF combat engineering unit – serving for two years as a soldier and a commander. After completing my army service I married and began learning at Yeshivat Neve Dekalim in Ashdod. Upon finishing the hesder track I started to work at the Assis Nurseries as head of the irrigation system and quality control of crops and spraying. I am still employed there.

Our Home In Neve Dekalim

Our house – then: The house that we had in Neve Dekalim was small (90 sq. meters) but fun to live in.

Our house – now: We began building our new house in Nitzan only five years after the expulsion, but, thank G-d, the house is bigger (approximately 120 sq. meters) and there’s more room for everyone.

What we left behind in Neve Dekalim: The house, of course, and the beautiful, carefully tended garden that we had. It wasn’t possible to take the trees we had planted in the garden, because we didn’t know how long it would be until we reached a permanent house.

Feelings toward the State:Before I tell you how I feel about the State, I must preface them with this: The main reason why we came to Eretz Yisrael was because we are Jews, and as such have no place to live in the world other than Eretz Yisrael. Concerning the question, my response is thus: My family knew that living in Israel would not be easy and of course our lives would change in every way from the moment we arrived. Therefore, when we were expelled from Gush Katif we knew that everything comes from G-d, and that there is no reason to be angry at the State or at the soldiers that came to expel us from our house. One must always know, that even with all the problems that our State has, in the end it’s the only State in the entire world that belongs to us, to Am Yisrael. We must always stand by the State, in times of happiness and in times of sadness. Of course all of what I said does not contradict the issue of attempting to improve and to influence the State so that it will get onto the right path.

Our Home In Nitzan

The biggest difficulty: The biggest difficulty that I experienced in the expulsion was looking at our soldiers who came to expel us from our home. I always thought that our soldiers fought only our enemies and not, G-d forbid, us.

Have you built a house? Thank G-d, approximately one and a half years ago (2010) we finished building our new house and we are already living in it.

What happened to your community? One of the reasons why we decided to move to the community of Nitzan was because most of the B’nei Menashe community that was in Neve Dekalim, moved there. Among the Bnei Menashe who live here approximately 90% of the families (about 40 families) have not yet begun to build their houses. However, thank G-d, in terms of work and livelihood, everyone has work and is supporting themselves.

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/

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