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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Sherut Leumi’

Bibi Dissolves Tal Law Committee, Setting Up Potential Government Rift

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

A government coalition effort to craft a revised version of the Tal Law, whereby a sizeable number of draft eligible haredi yeshiva students would be forced to choose between joining the Israel Defense Forces or partake in Sherut Leumi (alternative national service), could become a political quagmire for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as Kadima Party leader Shaul Mofaz is threatening to bolt the unity government over a lack of progress toward finding a solution.

Earlier this week Netanyahu dissolved the Plesner Committee, which was charged with recommending an alternative to the Tal Law, after several key committee members from Yahadut HaTorah, Shas and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home), who represent opposing positions on the issue, refused to partake in committee meetings and summarily resigned.

Members of Kadima, Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and Bayit Yehudi are adamant about creating a legally binding draft law that would roll back the number of draft exemptions in the haredi yeshiva world to levels agreed upon by successive Israeli governments (which included the haredi parties) over 20 years ago. For the moment, political and rabbinic leaders within the Shas and Yahadut HaTorah factions have steadfastly refused the Plesner Committee’s various recommendations despite the fact that a sizeable number of Shas Party voters have served in the IDF. Yahadut HaTorah hard-liners have also rejected many aspects of the Sherut Leumi program.

Mofaz has refused to meet with Netanyahu to resolve the dispute, criticizing the Israeli leader for torpedoing efforts to forge a new national draft law to replace the Tal Law. That law expires on August 1.

Netanyahu is now faced with the task of trying to prevent Kadima, Shas, Yahadut HaTorah and Bayit Yehudi from bringing down the government before July 25, the scheduled end of the summer Knesset session.

According to several Israeli media reports, the IDF’s Manpower Division has already informed Defense Minister Ehud Barak that the army could not absorb large numbers of haredi recruits, while Sherut Leumi would be more than willing to accommodate yeshiva graduates. These haredi recruits could provide needed help to the alternative service’s year-round support staff shortages.

With looming government budget cuts and other austerity measures destined to negatively affect the economic fortunes of draft-exempt haredi students who receive government stipends, Netanyahu government members are perplexed by the hard-line positions of both Shas and Yahadut HaTorah. Those serving in Sherut Leumi receive monthly stipends and, in some instances involving two-year commitments to serve in government, living quarters at no cost and free transportation expenses.

In an effort to maintain government unity, particularly with Kadima, Netanyahu said, “Let us take the reins and bring about a solution. I am committed to a more equitable division of the burden. In January, even before the High Court of Justice ruling [requiring a new draft law], I declared that I would work towards greater equality in sharing the burden, gradually, among the ultra-orthodox and Arab publics, without setting public against public. This has been, and remains, my position.

“We charged the Plesner Committee with formulating an agreed-upon proposal for the government and the coalition in keeping with the High Court of Justice ruling. To my regret, the Plesner Committee did not succeed in reaching agreed-upon outlines due to the withdrawal of several of its members, and it cannot formulate a recommendation that would achieve a Knesset majority. For all intents and purposes, the committee has disbanded. The disbanding of the committee does not obviate our responsibility to deal with the issue of equality in bearing the burden.”

Netanyahu outlined his ideas to try to resolve the problem. He pledged to “invite the heads of the coalition parties to try to formulate a proposal that would receive a Knesset majority. Pursuant to my talks with Shaul Mofaz, I believe that with a joint effort we can achieve the desired result. If by August 1 there is no agreed-upon majority, the Tal Law will be abrogated and Security Service Law [universal draft] will come into effect, applicable to all Israeli citizens.

“I prefer an agreed-upon and gradual solution,” the prime minister continued. “But if we cannot reach such a solution by August 1, the IDF will draft according to its needs, and I believe that it will do so while taking into consideration the various publics so as to prevent a rift in the nation. Since the Security Service Law does not deal with the participation of the Arab and ultra-Orthodox publics in civilian service, we will also work to provide arrangements on this issue.”

The Wonderful Month Of June

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

To all of my friends who are always telling me that I should have a weekly column, this article is for you. The truth is, I love to write and would love to have a weekly column (I do have protekzia [influence] with this newspaper), but I have to be inspired. I am not one of those prolific writers who sit down at the computer and the words just flow. But once those inspirational juices get started, there is no telling where they will take me.

The author with her sister, Hindy Greenwald

June has always been my favorite month. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I was born in June. It is also the month that leads to summer and I am one of those people who always looks forward to summer, even though it no longer automatically means vacation/fun time. Years ago when I was in high school, Regents exams often came out on my birthday, but I never let it spoil my enthusiasm for the month and surely not for “my day.”

My birthday this year is a milestone one and I am very thankful to Hashem that I have reached this age. When my husband was alive he would always wish me a Happy Bloomsday, mentioned in the novel by James Joyce, whose characters Molly and Leopold Bloom toured Dublin on June 16. June 16th forever after became Bloomsday.

My sister Hindy was also born in June, and my son Dovid was born on my sister’s birthday, albeit 20 years later. Granddaughter Esti has is a June birthday and I told her that she was my birthday present 14 years ago, as was granddaughter Tamar, 19 years ago.

June is the month of graduations and this June that same Esti is graduating elementary school, and my grandchildren, Eyal, Daniel and Avigayil are graduating high school. My granddaughter Shira Fuchs Hirtz graduated Nursing school, giving us another nurse in the family.

Eyal Schwartz

I can still remember the excitement at graduation time and the wonder of the unknown as we began the next phase of our lives. It was both sweet and a little sad as we said goodbye to our teachers and some of our friends.

Graduation from high school in Israel is a very different affair than it is in other countries. My grandson Eyal Schwartz will be starting Hesder Yeshiva on Rosh Chodesh Elul. Hesder is the Israeli army program where a young man commits to 5 years of joint yeshiva learning and army service. And granddaughter Avigayil Schwartz will be starting her year of Sherut Leumi, national service.

This June brought me to Israel for the bar mitzvah of grandson Elan Mauer. Elan read the whole Parsha and Haftorah and gave a lot of nachas to all of us: me, his parents, Tzvi and Shana Mauer, and his other grandparents, Dr. Jack and Tammy Rosenblatt. But it was the first bar mitzvah without my husband Ivan and his loss was keenly felt throughout the festivities.

I will also be attending the bat mitzvah of granddaughter Gail Harrison in California this month ,and then culminating the simchasfor me is the forthcoming wedding at the end of June of my granddaughter Rachayli Fuchs to Shaul Klein. I feel like my cup runneth over, as King David said in Psalms.

The author with new kallah, Rachayli Fuchs

As of this writing I am still in Israel. It is the best place on earth to give thanks to Hashem for all of the chesed He has shown me. I look out of my window each morning as I get to the part in Shemonah Esrei where it says Boneh Yerushalayim, and I look out at the cranes and the building, and see every word of the prayer taking place right before my eyes.

It is also a good place to give tzedakah, and the needy that surround one in different parts of Jerusalem, make it easy to do so. I know some people get annoyed by the many people standing near the Kotel with their hands out, but I actually appreciate their presence as I hand them some money.

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…

Wrong Turn?

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

It was 1 a.m. when my daughter Shani and her friend Tehilla took a wrong turn and found themselves traveling along a dark, isolated stretch of road outside Jerusalem. A few moments later, they noticed a young bearded man dressed in a suit and black hat flagging them down. Tehilla was surprised when Shani abruptly stopped the car. Tehilla tried to dissuade Shani from giving the young man a ride, given the late hour.

Shani responded, “You’ll understand in a minute.”

When Shani opened the door, Tehilla was surprised to see that the new passenger had Down’s syndrome. Meir (not his real name) told the friends that he had spent the evening at a nearby wedding hall, and was waiting in vain for a bus to come. He had no cell phone with which to call home.

The two girls, who had become fast friends during their Sherut Leumi service, had plenty of experience working with people with special needs, and so they were able to make Meir feel at ease. This would prove very important, since the ride lasted longer than expected.

Meir told the girls where he lived and how to reach his home. There was only one problem. Meir knew the bus route in the light of day, but he got confused at night. Shani asked other drivers for directions, but only got more lost. Half an hour later, the three found themselves in the middle of a haredi neighborhood, but not the one where Meir lived.

Shani was so frustrated that she pulled over to the side of the road and got out of the car. When Meir saw that my daughter was worried, he said simply with a kind smile, “Don’t worry. It happens in the best families.”

Suddenly, the young man said that he remembered the way. They resumed the journey, following Meir’s directions, and reached his house within seven minutes. He got out of the car and said, “You see? I knew you could do it.”

The young women felt that it was no accident that they had gotten lost down that dark road. Meir told them that all the other cars had passed him by. Hashem had orchestrated events so that the two friends came to his rescue. Meir, in turn, was able to share with them his accepting way of looking at life.

Oh, the people you can meet and the places you can get to in life – while taking the wrong turn!

True Role Models (Part Seven)

Wednesday, January 19th, 2005

This is the seventh part of a series on aliyah and Klita (absorption) stories of American Jews who came to Israel for ideological and religious reasons in the past years.

One of the unexpected dividends of our coming on aliya 20 and 30 years ago is the practically 0% rate of intermarriage of our grandchildren. How many of our yeshiva friends who remained in America, especially those who strayed from Orthodoxy or whose children strayed, can boast this percentage? Even if someone who came on aliyah became less religious, his grandchildren, thank G-d, and his great-grandchildren will remain Jewish.

Today, a religious and Jewish Holocaust pervades American life and decimates our numbers as more and more Jewish youth intermarry (some studies report a 60-75% intermarriage rate). It is time for young couples to realize that only in Israel will they be able to guarantee the survival of our people. Please join us in building Israel and in keeping your (great) grandchildren Jewish.

Zev (Milty) Gerstl came on aliya from Brooklyn. He left the USA after receiving his BSc from Cornell University. In Israel, he completed his PhD and had the privilege of serving in the IDF for 20 years (miluim). Zev raised a family, has four children, and worked his way up from a researcher to the head of the Institute of Soil, Water & Environmental Sciences in the ARO (Ministry of Agriculture).

Today, he is a scientist again, having finished his term as director, and is working on problems of soil and water pollution.

* * *

Yogi and Shulamith Rimel made aliyah in 1989 from Chicago with three small children. Currently, they have five children. Yogi came with a B.A. in Business & Management from Northeastern Ill. University and an MBA from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Before he came on aliyah, Yogi was the director of marketing for a major Chicago amusement company. Shulamith has a B.S. degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She served as a Hebrew school teacher prior to aliyah.

In Israel, Yogi is the CEO of a 120 bed long- term care facility and Shulamith is the office manager for a 215 family Yishuv in the Shomron. Yogi and Shulamith came to Israel for ideological reasons. Yogi did not want to reveal the salaries they left behind. ‘Suffice it to say that we don’t make here today what we made 15 years ago in Chicago!’

Yogi and Shulamith’s eldest son is in the IDF (Kravi – Nachal) and their daughter serves in Sherut L’uemi (National Service) working with olim at Tehilla. Their oldest son Ephraim, 20 – studied in Hesder in Gush Etzion and is now in Nachal. Menucha, 18 – is doing Sherut Leumi in Jerusalem at Tehilla. Tziona 16 – is in the 11th grade Ulpanat Ofra. Yigal, 13 (Bar Mitva 3 weeks ago) is in the 7th grade in Talmon, and Dvora, 8 – is in 3rd grade in Neve Tzuf.

What other details would you like about us?

* * *

Judith Berger came on aliyah in 1976 from Toronto, where she had a wonderful job as a nurse in the delivery room of a large hospital. She was young and single, liked her work very much, and was an integral part of the professional team.

The women of the Orthodox community would often request that she attend their births and she was in great demand. She also enjoyed the social life in Toronto. Judith was very active in Bnei Akiva and NCSY and nonetheless decided to join her fate with the settlers of the Jewish homeland. She left her family, left her friends, left a good job with a good income and came to Eretz Yisrael and did not run away from her birthplace.

Avraham and Judith met and married in Israel. Avraham Berger, from Cleveland, was a successful computer programmer with a Masters degree, his own home, and many friends. When he decided to come on aliyah, his life was going very well but he felt that he wanted to move to the Jewish homeland. He made aliyah in 1977.

Avraham and Judith worked hard and today, they own their own home in Yerushalayim. They have children of whom they are very proud and who are contributing to building up the Holy Land. Avraham and Judith are also foster parents of infants prior to their adoption.

Judith has built a wonderful career in professional nursing. She worked for many years first as a nursing instructor in the maternity and medical departments of Shaarei Zedek Medical Center, and then as a team leader for a medical information service. She is very involved in establishing a special project for teenage girls from religious families at risk.

* * *

Chaim and Naava Livne (Lipnick) came on aliya in 1977. Chaim had a BA in Economics from Brooklyn College and an MA in Jewish Education from JTS. Naava had a BA from Brooklyn College in psychology. They came to Kibbutz Maale Gilboa with a group from Bnei Akiva as soon as they finished university. They did not look for professional employment in the USA because they did not want to make any commitments or to get ‘bogged down.’

Before aliya, both Naava and Chaim were very active in Bnei Akiva, holding at one point or another almost every administrative position that there was, from Rosh Moshava to National Secretary to Rosh Seminar, Madrich and Merakez Snif and Mazkir Galil N.Y. In addition, Naava worked as a librarian in the Yeshiva of Flatbush.

After aliyah, each place where they lived was chosen for ideological reasons, and wherever Chaim went, his youth work and administrative skills served him well.

For seven years they remained on kibbutz where Chaim worked in the orchards, became the manager of the turkey coops, and eventually the counselor for the Australian Hachshara (those who spent a year in Israel).

Naava worked in agriculture and gardening. After they left Maaleh Gilboa, they lived in Tekoa for two years where Chaim became the General Secretary (administrator) and Naava took care of the landscaping.

They spent two years in Beit Yatir in the south Hebron Hills where Chaim worked in the vineyards and orchards and eventually became the general secretary. Together with Moshe Hager, Chaim set up the military preparatory school (Mechina) in Yatir and was the administrator of the Mechina for seven years, until it reached economic viability.

Later, as General Secretary (administrator) of Tekoa, he helped establish the yeshiva of Rav Steinzaltz in Tekoa. At present, he runs Amutat Orot Ezion in Efrat which runs kindergartens and boys and girls elementary schools with an enrollment of 1,000 students. For the past few years, he has also worked as the assistant director and emissary in Camp Moshava 1O.

Naava was also very busy during this time. She worked on Beit Yatir doing landscaping and agricultural work, she was in charge of the grocery store, and started the Regional Library in Har Chevron. She oversees and services each Yishuv library, is the initiator of projects and activities, and has established a regional library in Susia with about 20,000 books. Anyone who has books (in any language) in good condition is invited to donate them to the library.

Chaim and Naava have seven children – their oldest daughter did one year of Sherut Leumi in the Midrasha in Beit Shean, then went into the Army and worked with Noar Raful. Today she works as a social worker (Hebrew U.) and as a tour guide. Their second daughter did Sherut Leumi as a branch director for Bnei Akiva in Afula Ilit. She has a degree from Machon Tal in bio-information and computers and services the Moetza Ezorit Har Chevron website. Their oldest son is at present in the army in a special unit called Maglan.

We had a response by a professor who was willing to be a statistic – but not to be featured by name. She and her husband made aliyah in 1969. She had completed her Ph.D. in psychology, as well as a clinical internship, and was teaching at Brooklyn College. Her husband had also received his PhD and was teaching at LIU. They had a lovely Boro Park home of their own, on the best street, and many good friends. In other words, they had it made – and the sky was the limit.

Here in Israel, they both taught at Bar-Ilan University until retirement, getting the inadequate salaries that such occupation provides. They have, B”H, three sons who have succeeded here despite the difficulties. Their eldest is a professor of computer science with an international reputation at Tel Aviv University. Their second son is a clinical/ educational psychologist who works within the system in Jerusalem. Their youngest (much in the news of late) is a fellow at the Shalem Institute, and a political commentator and campaign manager much in demand.

“‘It hasn’t been easy – but oh, how grand!”

(To be continued)

(Comment may be sent to dov@gilor.com)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/true-role-models-part-seven/2005/01/19/

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