In addition to our ongoing volunteerism with the elderly during Corona, every Thursday, our Haifa coordinator Lidia Shtelmah and a group of volunteers deliver food packages to people in need in the Hadar district. This activity is organized together with one of the Haifa schools, and each group brings five families packages of basic foods and fresh produce before Shabbat.
In October, we launched a new project – a Weekly Parsha Podcast in which we discuss the weekly Torah chapter! In this new format, and approach, we get together every week and discuss relevant issues from a very ancient source! We share insights from three different religious and secular people, Chabad rabbi Yigal Dubinsky, “hipster” Edward, and Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli Haifa Coordinator Lidia Shtelmah. All the content is exciting, and easy to listen to for people from diverse backgrounds.
We continue our series of weekly Conversational Ulpan classes with Olga Klein. Two groups of ten meet once a week in Haifa and discuss current events and topics of interest to the participants as a way to improve their spoken Hebrew skills. The meetings are very lively and everyone enjoys spending time with each other shaping up their Hebrew!
With our good friend and professional Israeli guide physically in Odessa, we enjoyed an amazing organized virtual tour of this legendary city beginning with the 19th century. We began in the Brodsky Synagogue and its Reform Jewish community and then moved to the monument of Itzhak Babel where we learned about the Odessa portrayed in Babel's books. We saw the Mane Synagogue and Karaite Quarter and talked about Chaim Nachman Bialik and his time in Odessa.
We ended our at the entrance of the courtyard that played an important role in the history of Hibbat Zion community – the house where Dizengoff and Usishkin worked, and from where passengers of the Ruslan boat gathered in 1919, to sail to the Holy Land initiate the third Aliya. The lettering on the arch announces that “Modern Israel was born here”.
This is a really cool format and you should do it more often. At the time of COVID-19 it’s a breath of fresh air. After this tour I really want to visit Odessa!.
Mazal tov to Ze'ev and Linda on becoming grandparents!
Mazal tov to our dear Tel Aviv Coordinator Leonid and Polina on their lovely Corona wedding overlooking the Mediterrean. And a Double Mazal Tov to Bat Yam Coordinator Natalia and Yan on becoming parents to beautiful twin boys! May you build strong, healthy families in Israel and may the simchas keep coming!
September 29th- and 30th mark the days of the massacre of Jews in Babi Yar in 1941. We remembered what happened almost eight decades ago, together with master historian and educator Jan Privorotsky.
How could this terrible catastrophe happen in the middle of the 20th Century? Who were the people, the victims, and the executioners? And why is it important to remember in detail so that it never happens again.
On Yom Kippur, we organized community prayer services outside on the street for everyone interested. It was fantastic to see religious and secular people praying together, even during these days of Corona, and keeping a safe distance.
September 14th, Moishe House
Israeli Street Art with Alexandra Levina
We began the lecture by defining the difference between graffiti and street art, and discussed how attitudes to street art have evolved over the past 20 year. For example, one of the events that strongly influenced the development of street art in Israel was "The Walls" festival and other projects of "The Broken Fingers" team of artists.
We discussed how street artists moved from outdoors to contemporary art galleries, through the stories of Know Hope, Dede and others. We ended the lecture with the life story of the artist Solomon, who was born and raised in a religious Jewish family and began his career as a street artist painting portraits in Mahne Yehuda market.
Today he is one of the most famous and significant Israeli artists, also because Solomon he is one of the few artists who uses the letters and symbols of the Hebrew alphabet in his graffiti.
"Thank you so much for such an informative and rich lecture. I have always noticed how much graffiti there is in Tel Aviv and Haifa, and after this lecture, feel like I can recognize the artists and their styles on the streets"
September 24th, ONLINE
Virtual “Slichot Tour" – Back to the Beginning - around the Old City of Hebron, with Arie Turovsky
Number of participants: 32 in Zoom, 730 views in Facebook live
Unfortunately, due to quarantine, we had to cancel our schedule Slichot tour in Jerusalem, but we found an excellent alternative. Israeli guide Arye Turovsky provided a fascinating virtual tour of Hebron especially for us.
We started the tour by reading excerpts from the Torah about Abraham, the Binding of Isaac and the purchase of the Machpela Cave, and the importance of this place in Jewish tradition, including its connection to the Garden of Eden and the story of Adam and Eve. After that we moved to the modern structure of Machpela Cave, learned its history and how it changed and passed from hand to hand over the past two thousand years. We explored its interior decorations (Jewish and Muslim), touched upon the history of the Jewish quarter and discussed the relationship of Jews with their Muslim and Christian neighbors. After that we moved to the famous Abraham Avinu Synagogue in Hebron, its history, its destruction and its rebuilding – much to the credit of a Russian oleh mathematician, Professor Yaakov Tavger.
"Many thanks to Arye for such a detailed and timely tour. I have never been to Hebron, but now I really want to visit. I hope to see more online and offline tours of Jewish sights and cities in Israel with Shishi Shabbat Yisraeli.”
Eliezer Shargorodsky, Content Director of the Jewish Agency for Israel, spoke to us about the difference between secular and religious views. Since the beginning of the last century, Jews massively abandoned their fathers' faith, and the secular founders of the future Jewish state believed that over time, religion, like its bearers, would become a thing of the past.
But reality has proven differently.
Thanks for the lecture, a fascinating perspective on the question. Eliezer is always interesting to listen to.
The Masons are a fraternal organization that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons from the end of the 14th century, which regulated their professional qualifications and interactions with authorities and clients. Freemasonry has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories throughout the years. It is no secret that some anti-semitic groups believe that Jews and masonry groups are the same, and that these groups have power in the economic and political worlds. Recently conspiracy theories have intensified. Guide Max Blau shared with us the history of the Masons, the masonic lodge, their symbols and connections to shadow power, and why some people connect them to the Jews.