This past quarter was an exciting one at the Young Israel of Karmiel. The Young Israel participated with our largest representation at the Nefesh BNefesh Go North Annual Shabbaton in Akko. Rabbi Schwartz spoke numerous times over Shabbos as one of the Scholars in Residence and led a tour through the Old City of Akko. Many new Olim expressed appreciation and interest in visiting Karmiel and our lovely community after the Shabbaton.
This was the first year the Young Israel did not have a communal Purim Seuda. Our community has grown to the point where many families preferred to host other families in the community. We did however have a joint Israeli and American Seuda for the families that did not have a place to go with live musical accompaniment that many from the larger community joined.
We also had our annual Purim appeal for the Shul and as in every year we surpassed our previous campaigns, raising over 9000 NIS in the two week campaign. In addition thousands of shekel were raised and distributed for our Matanot L'Evyonim and Maot Chittim campaign to support our local needy families.
This year as well The Young Israel partnered with Keren Ora in the Yeshivat Bein Hazmanim program in which many of our local yeshiva students came together and studied each day on their vacation and they were given prizes and trips at the end for this highly successful partnership.
Rabbi Schwartz has also had quite a few meetings with the city planners about the legality of our shul building and the process of obtaining the necessary temporary permits to continue using our building until another one is provided. We are scheduled to meet with the mayor once again in the coming weeks to discuss his fulfillment of this pledge to provide us with our own building and quite a few city councilman have stood up and are advocating on our behalf.
IYIM-Israel Region once again has the honor to organize and host the annual Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration Deaf and hearing impaired students in Israel, as part of the IYIM Judaic Heritage Program for Israel’s Deaf and Hearing Impaired. The celebrants come from homes of minimal ritual observance and this celebration provides them with perhaps their first opportunity to visit Jerusalem and for some the only opportunity to celebrate this major Jewish life milestone.
This year we have the pleasure of hosting more than 70 young adults from all over Israel, from Kiryat Shemona in the North all the way down to Eilat in the South. Enrollment for the celebration has surpassed previous years, and we look forward to our biggest event as of yet.
With the big day around the corner, we are securing all the arrangements to ensure that this day is an enjoyable, significant and positive encounter with Jewish Heritage for a lifetime of memories. The celebration includes full ceremony in a beautiful shul in Yerushalayim, seudat mitzvah, distribution of gifts, a tour of the Old City and prayer the Kotel.
We invite you to partner with us for this momentous day!
International Agunah Day is marked yearly on Tan'anit Esther, which falls out on March 9,2017. Through the work Dr. Levmore does in the IYIM Agunah and Get- Refusal Prevention Project it is clear that the the best possible solution to the Agunah Problem at this time in history is to prevent the very possibilty of Get-Refusal. To this end every marrying couple should sign an agreement for the prevent of get-refusal.
Agunah Day at the Knesset:
Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of the IYIM Agunah and Get Refusal Program spoke at the Knesset at a meeting for the Advancement of Women, marking Agunah Day. The focus of this year’s meeting was the creation of the “mamzer” status for children born to mothers who are victims of get-refusal. There was an in-depth discussion of the mamzer status in general with its “blacklist” preventing marriage in Israel, as well as women who are suffering for years as agunot either aborting babies so as not to bring a “mamzer” into the world, or nonetheless bearing children born into that tragic status. Dr. Levmore clarified for the committee, the halakhic policy connection between the two tragedies—agunot and “mamzer” and uncovered a new category of women making the problem more widespread than previously thought. Chair of the meeting, MK Aliza Lavie, summed up the intense, yet fruitful meeting, with practical steps to take.
An Agunah Day Event was held in the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University by IYIM's Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project. Students attending the event “The Agreement for Mutual Respect for the Prevention of Get-Refusal: A Halakhic Tool for Leading Social Change” learned about the prenuptial agreement, its workings and were trained to present it to their peers—young men and women of marriageable age.
Dr. Rachel Levmore, will be presenting in an International Conference at Westen Galilee College whose is: The Jewish Family Confronting Crisis in Modern Times (1800-2017): Divorce, Agunot and Inter-Marriage - International Conference. She will present "Pre-empting the Agunah Problem: Prenuptial Agreements for the Prevention of Get-Refusal"
As in previous years, Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project gave a presentation to the entire student body of the Pardes Institute for Judaic Studies. The students who study there hail from various countries around the world, from all religious streams, with the majority from English speaking countries. As part of their mission upon returning home, the Pardes Institute sees it to be of vital importance that the students understand the agunah problem thoroughly and take upon themselves to promote prenuptial agreements in their society. The presentation was entitled "Prenuptial agreements for the Prevention of Get-Refusal: One solution to the Worldwide Problem".
JERUSALEM March 14, 2017 - Continuing in their annual tradition of providing Purim cheer and Mishoach Manot packages for the brave soldiers of the IDF and and fighters of the Israeli Border police, the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM), the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) – Brooklyn branch, World Mizrachi and Yashar LaChayal spent a full week distributing 9,000 packages to Israel’s defenders, including hand-deliveries on the two days of Purim in Israel.
The packages were donated by partners, friends and synagogues throughout the world, and reached units from the Egyptian border in the South up to the Lebanese border in the North, throughout Judea and Samaria in central Israel and everywhere in between. A lead donation was made by Mr. Rubin Margulis, President of ZOA - Brooklyn Branch, and by Young Israel synagogues in the US, including major donations bv the Young Israel of Jamaica Estates, Young Israel of Forest Hills, and B’nai Israel Ohev Tzedek.
“The soldiers stationed on the Lebanese and Syrian borders were so thankful for the outpouring of appreciation for what they do. Remembering our chayalim on Purim is one great way of showing appreciation for their service,” commented Leon Blankrot, Executive Director of Yashar Lachayal, who oversaw delivery to Northern IDF units.
One of the volunteer distribution days was dedicated to the Israeli Border Police serving the Judea and Samaria region. The units on the bases visited truly represented a cross-section of Israeli society. In attendance were ZOA mission participants from cities across the US, in addition to personnel from all participating organizations. Solly Sacks, Ex-Director General at World Mizrachi, noted that “it was a real privilege being able to give out Mishloach Manot to the Border Police. It gave all of the participants and fighters an incredible sense of unity.”
A successful simultaneous campaign, “10,000 Letters for 10,000 Soldiers,” saw thousands of letters arrive from school children in the US, Canada, Australia and Israel. The letters were attached to the packages of sweets or were hand-delivered by volunteers. Feedback over the years has shown that the letters warm the soldiers’ hearts as much as the treats satisfy their stomachs - and the glowing faces pouring over the hand-written letters and crayon-filled drawings proved no exception this year.
Daniel Meyer, Executive Director of IYIM - Israel Region , noted that IYIM “had the privilege this year as in past years to continue with our partner organizations and worldwide members to bring the joy of Purim to soldiers and fighters stationed away from their families on Purim. These thoughtful - and tasty - reminders that we value their service for the State of Israel gives them strength; the feedback we get from the soldiers in person and in letters following Purim is immense, and makes it all worth it.”
Dr. Levmore, Director of the Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention program, has featured articles in the following news sources:
1.The NY based Orthodox newspaper, The Jewish Press, examines the agunah situation through the publishing of an article by the director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, Dr. Rachel Levmore:
2. The Israeli popular site “kipa” published an article authored by Dr. Rachel Levmore. raising consciousness in the Hebrew-speaking public about the Agunah problem: øçì ìáîåø, " éåí äòâåðä úùò"æ: çùáåï ðôùåú", ëéôä 9.3.17 http://www.kipa.co.il/jew/77211.html
4.A scholarly article authored by director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project was solicited by the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance to be included in a Festscrift honoring Blu Greenberg. It was published in a beautiful volume together with articles authored by leading Orthodox figures both in Israel and in the US: Dr. Rachel Levmore, “Reflections of a To’enet Rabbanit”, You Arose, a Mother in Israel: A Festscrift in Honor of Blu Greenberg, JOFA 2017, pp.79-84. The book can be seen at
5.The popular magazine Segula: a Magazine of Israeli History – in its Hebrew language edition of March-April 2017– published a four page glossy spread interviewing the director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, Dr. Rachel Levmore, describing her as one who makes history. The serious in-depth interview turned out to be fascinating, accompanied by impressive photographs.
A main weekend “Agunah Day Event” preceding International Agunah Day, was held at the Central synagogue of Beit Hakerem in Jerusalem. The community hosted Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of IYIM's Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, over the weekend with a keynote lecture on Shabbat, which was attended by community members as well as Jerusalemites who had seen the promotional material and advertisements leading up to the event. The topic of the weekend was: “Prenuptial Agreements for the Prevention of Get-Refusal: An Imperative or Harmful to Romance?” The attendees expressed fascination and engagement, clearly indicated by their active questions and involvement – including the Rabbi of the entire Beit Hakerem neighborhood who attended and expressed complete identification with the proposed solution to the agunah problem. This was an extremely successful event.
Jerusalem, February 21, 2017- Earlier this month, the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM), with the generous support of the Doppelt family, had the privilege of donating a Sefer Torah to Telem, an Israeli Border Police base located in the Hebron Hills.
The Sefer Torah, given in loving memory of Irving & Ricky Doppelt of Lawrence, New York, was donated by the Doppelts’ children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The IYIM team joined the donor family and their guests to celebrate and take part in a unique and transformative experience.
The group was greeted at Telem by the area Commander, Border Police Rabbinate representatives, officers and the fighters connected to the base. Following some light refreshments and getting acquainted, the guests were treated to a demonstration by the unit and were able to see the Border Police in action. In addition to the special significance of this Torah to the Doppelt family, the base at Telem has long awaited their own Torah, and as such the celebration was met with great anticipation on all sides.
There was much joyous singing and dancing with the visitors and fighters joining together to celebrate. An emotional ceremony followed, in which the area commander and representatives of the Israeli Border Police Rabbinate spoke of the importance of Torah scrolls for the Jewish Nation as a whole and Israeli Defense Forces in particular, and extended their thanks and gratitude to the Doppelt family for their generous donation. “This occasion is one of great significance for the fighters of Telem - one they will take with them for a lifetime,” noted Rav Yitzchak Bleichbard, Rav of the Border Police bases in Judea and Samaria, and key in coordinating the day’s events. “The Torah begins with the letter ‘bet’ and ends with the letter ‘lamed.’ Together this spells the word ‘lev’ [heart] - and we thank you with all our heart.”
Steve Doppelt, son of Irving and Rocky Doppelt, joined by his wife Carol, described the decision for the family to donate a Torah to the Defense forces as “a most fitting commemoration of my late parents’ commitment to the State of Israel and the Jewish people.” He also added that his family saw “the success of the dedication [as] 100% due to IYIM’s coordinating efforts.”
The IYIM Warrior Torah Program provides individual donors and donor communities with an incredible opportunity - restoring an otherwise pasul or unused Sefer Torah to its former glory, and dedicating it towards one of the most important causes in the Jewish world today - guiding and protecting the lives of Israel's soldiers as they defend the Jewish homeland and all of the Jewish people.
The director of IYIM's Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, Dr. Rachel Levmore, participated in and spoke at the meeting of the Knesset’s Constitution and Law Committee, regarding the changes in the regulations of the Ministry of Religious Affairs in the opening up of applications to women for the position of Director of the Rabbinical Courts Administration. Several salient points were pointed out by Dr. Levmore, which were noted by the MK's and taken to heart by the legal counsel of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
A full day of lectures was delivered to the female students studying in the training program of MaTan Hasharon in Raanana - by the director of IYIM's Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, Dr. Rachel Levmore. The topics covered in depth were Jewish divorce law and coercion to divorce; laws of composing prenuptial agreements in Jewish law; an in-depth analysis of the “Agreement for Mutual Respect”; its practical application; romance vs. prenuptial agreements; comparison of the efficacy of various agreements. The reactions of the students were overwhelmingly enthusiastic. As these students are being trained to serve as religious communal leaders, this day of training in the subject of get-refusal and agunah prevention is expected to have widespread affects and is of extreme importance.
A 3 hour seminar was presented for law students at Bar Ilan University at the Rackman Center's Family Law Clinic by Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of IYIM's Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project at the end of January. The seminar included an academic analysis of the legal and halakhic facets in Israel which lead to the problem of get-refusal. Following the analysis, the Agreement for Mutual Respect was presented and analyzed, demonstrating how the agreement resolved the problematic situation. The law students were trained to use this prenuptial agreement for the prevention of get-refusal in a professional capacity. The students received answers to their probing questions and internalized the material. After graduation, as young lawyers, they go on to recommend to all their clients to sign the Agreement of Mutual Respect which can be found at http://www.iyim.org.il/prenup/.
A lengthy presentation was made by the director of the IYIM Agunah and get-Refusal Prevention Project, Dr. Rachel Levmore, to a group of leading Israeli journalists and several actors participating in a leadership program, following their visit to the Jerusalem Rabbinical Court. The roots of the agunah problem were presented; as well as its solutions; explanations of the workings of Rabbinical courts; the mindset of the Rabbinical judges; and the experiences of appointing those judges as a member of the commission for the Appointment of Rabbinical Court Judges. This presentation is considered of utmost importance to this IYIM project due to the fact that the participants are all key, vocal influencers of public opinion.
The director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Pevention Project, Dr. Rachel Levmore, was invited to speak at a meeting of the Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women in the Knesset on Nov, 30, 2016. The subject was the phenomenon of “get invalidation” by the Rabbinical Courts, even years after the divorce was arranged. The director offered an innovative initiative, which would help clarify the conflict between the Rabbinical Courts and the organizations for social change, and resolve the situation. The idea was praised by the committee. It remains to be seen whether the rabbinate will agree to it.
Before they leave on their nightly anti-terrorist raids, the fighters of the Israeli Border Police (Mishmar HaGvul) elite counter-terrorist unit, YAMAS, like to offer a little prayer. They go to the base synagogue for a few minutes of quiet meditation and prayer, and hours later repeat this ritual to give a prayer of thanks for their safe return. On November 16th, 2016, the International Young Israel Movement – Israel Region (IYIM), with the generous support of the Leo V. Berger Fund, had the honor to celebrate a most unique occasion with YAMAS - the inauguration of a permanent, dignified structure for their synagogue (beit knesset). IYIM was approached by Rav Boaz Giladi, of the Mishmar HaGvul Rabbinate, to facilitate the building of a new beit knesset for the YAMAS fighters. Having already had a positive relationship with IYIM, Rav Giladi knew he was turning to a listening ear.
“About a year ago I had the privilege to work with IYIM to bring a Sefer Torah to a fighting unit of the Border Police that protects the borders of Northern Jerusalem and its inhabitants. The donation of the beit knesset was a natural progression in our relationship. The support felt by the fighters from the individuals that donate to their cause is something incredibly powerful. I am very grateful to IYIM and the Leo V. Berger Fund for their generosity towards our heroic anonymous fighters who risk their lives for the security of the Israeli population,” stated Rav Giladi. The base, in an undisclosed location in Central Israel, is a home-away-from-home to the YAMAS officers who perform daily raids and life-saving missions for Israel and her citizens. The officers of the unit are plainclothes warriors, staying far out of the spotlight and deep undercover to help root out terrorism.
With the generous support of the Leo V. Berger Fund the need for a beit knesset was actualized post-haste. The Leo V. Berger Fund donated the building of the Beit Knesset built to the highest standard, and the furniture was donated by an additional donor. Fund President, Harvey Schwartz, together with IYIM’s Executive Director, Daniel Meyer, and a select few attended the inauguration of the synagogue alongside senior representatives of Mishmar HaGvul, including the Chief Commander of Mishmar HaGvul, Yaakov Shabtai; the Chief Commander of the base, Rav Giladi and of course the YAMAS unit that the Beit Knesset would be serving. “A Beit Knesset is an essential part of our army and police force, providing spiritual strength and a place to pray. It is our honor to be able to provide YAMAS with this Beit Knesset, and it is our hope that it will be used by the fighters of this unit for years to come,” stated Fund President, Harvey Schwartz.
IYIM Executive Director, Daniel Meyer, noted, “IYIM is proud of our activities to provide spiritual resources to the Defenders of Israel. The YAMAS fighters are the bravest and some of the most unsung heroes of Israel. We are humbled by the opportunity to be a facilitator for this tremendous gift.”
Israeli law awards sole jurisdiction to the State Rabbinical Courts in matters of personal status of Jews, i.e. marriage and divorce. Nevertheless, the Rabbinical Courts themselves cannot issue a decree of divorce and dissolve a marriage. Divorce in Israel is arranged solely by the mutual consent of both spouses to arrange the giving of a get from the husband to the wife. While the judges have various tools at their disposal, such as the levying of sanctions, there are many cases of get-refusal, most notably creating cases of modern-day agunot – chained wives. Many men simply refuse to heed the ruling of the rabbis to give a get.
The office of the attorney general has issued a new directive, allowing the Rabbinical Courts, to determine that a recalcitrant spouse can be tried in a criminal case for refusal to obey a ruling of a recognized court. Although the director of the Rabbinical Courts has explained that this is applicable to only ten to fifteen cases of get-refusal each year, since the judges will only choose to apply this to cases where the most severe ruling of “coercion to give the get”, each agunah is a world onto her own. The International Young Israel Movement calls upon the Rabbinical Court Judges not to restrict themselves to these cases only, but to apply this directive liberally, in the more common cases of get-refusal.
“A new dimension has been added to the not always effective arsenal of the Israeli Rabbinical Courts in the battle against get-refusal” says Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of the Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project of the International Young Israel Movement and the Jewish Agency, “Until now even those incarcerated by order of the Rabbinical Court for refusal to give the get, were considered ‘civil’ prisoners –a category of prisoners who harmed a private individual. As a result of this new directive, those get-refusers who are already incarcerated by the Rabbinical Court may be tried as criminals with a criminal sentence added to the years already served—reflecting the State of Israel’s understanding that get-refusal is a crime against society, not only a private matter. This is an ethical statement befitting the Jewish-democratic State. Hopefully this will bring about two improvements: as a deterrence and as a vehicle for extradition of those recalcitrant husbands who ran away from Israel. Nevertheless, at the same time as we laud this development, we still expect the Rabbinical Court Judges and the Chief Rabbinate not only to depend on the assistance of the civil State but rather to live up to the authority awarded them when appointed by the public -- by implementing solutions to the agunah problem from within Jewish law. Some are easily implemented such as encouraging marrying couples to sign a halakhic prenuptial Agreement for Mutual Respect for the prevention of get-refusal.” --Dr. Rachel Levemore, Director, Agunah & Get-Refusal Prevention Project
Impressions from the Oneg Shabbat in Arnona Jerusalem for the Shabbat Project 2016 / Daniella Salomon
.It was 8 p.m. Friday night
Most of us had already finished having our festive Friday night dinner.
Why not get out of the house and join an event of unity to celebrate the Shabbat Project!
This was one of thousands of events that took place throughout the Jewish world during the weekend of November 11-12, 2016, Parashat "Lech Lecha".
We gathered at the community center in Arnona Haze'ira, Jerusalem. This is the first time there was an "Oneg Shabbat" for ALL the residents in the neighborhood. At first, we gathered in the small room; and the evening began with greetings from Mr. Ofer Sharon, the community center representative.Soon after, this room filled up, and therefore we relocated to the big hall.I then explained why I decided to hold the oneg on this particular Shabbat. Where the initiative for the Shabbat Project came from... How I got the community center to join me so that this Shabbat would not go by without a special celebration. People continued pouring in. More chairs!
Mrs. Estelle Harris greeted the English speakers, connecting the process of present day Aliya to Avraham and Sara's aliya in the parasha. When they entered Eretz Yisrael, they had the opportunity to share blessings with those around them. We have that same potential.Mr. Efraim Wolff, serving as MC, invited the young and famous singers, Ori & Noam Coltof (from theTV program "School of Music") to sing.They began their performance with the song "Hallelujah" in memory of Leonard Cohen, who had passed away that week.After a few other songs, Mr. Avishai Wohl, head of the secular yeshiva in Jerusalem ("Bina"), spoke about the long and difficult journey Avraham had gone through until he arrived to Eretz Yisrael.
Crowds kept coming in. Singing together, Shabbat songs, a pleasant atmosphere, and many smiles.Ms. Einat Levy spoke about unity and connected it to the parasha, to Sara Imenu, who appears in this parasha, and to Rachel Imenu, whose yahrzeit was that same Shabbat.Ori & Noam sang some more. How delightful!.
Rabbi David Atzmon spoke about modeling the Shabbat in the Jewish tradition, what contents to put in it. The Jewish people were the first to have a weekly day off, intended also for our servants and animals. This idea was later imitated by other peoples. However, they chose a different day, so Shabbat really belongs exclusively to the Jews.
We sang a few more songs to end the evening.Approximately 200 people attended this event. Some participants even inquired "why have such an evening only once a year?!" How blessed we are for spreading unity among our people!
IYIM had the privilege of co hosting a collective Shabbat meal for the world wide Shabbat Project. Executive Director of JICNY, Jodi Samuels, describes the powerful evening. "What an amazing feeling to walk into a room set for 1000 Young Jews who were about to share a collective Shabbat meal. There were Jews from over 30 countries with Israelis and olimuniting. Making it extra special was the fact that this dinner was part of the world wide Shabbat Project. 1059 cities participated and to me Tel Aviv participating and getting 1000 young Jews says so much about the dynamic Jewish Life in the center of the Start Up Jewish Nation. JICNY and Beneinu were among the many organizations that collaborated to bring this fantastic event to reality with the White City Shabbat." #shabbatproject2016 #TelAviv
The director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, Dr. Rachel Levmore, attended a members’ conference of the Beit Hillel rabbinic organization on Oct. 25th, where the two speakers were Chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky and Rabbi Haskel Lookstein. Dr. Levmore entered into a private deep discussion with both of the esteemed speakers regarding relations between the State of Israel and its Rabbinate and Diaspora Jewry especially in regards to conversion, ending off by thanking Mr. Sharansky for supporting the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project.
Yitzhak Ben Yehuda was born in Cairo and currently lives in central Israel. Finding inspiration in the landscape and biblical themes, his mosaic of styles in portraiture, murals, as well as sought-after Ketubot, has endeared him to patrons worldwide.
Geula finds much of the inspiration for her paintings in the multicultural fabric of Jewish life, depicting Ashkenazik, Sefardik, Yemenite, Bucharin and Ethiopian Jews practicing their unique traditions. Geula's art captures the beauty of the Land of Israel, and the warmth and vibrancy of Judaism in its many cultures and practices. Geula's paintings are sold in galleries around the world, and are sought after by collectors of unique and inspirational Jewish art.
In an historic step and in cooperation with the IYIM Agunah and Get Refusal Prevention Project, the Efrat Religious Council has commenced distributing to all couples registering for marriage in their offices, the Agreement for Mutual Respect - Heskem l'Kavod Hadadi - accompanied by a letter encouraging the couples to ratify the agreement in the presence of the Marriage Registrar. The letter is signed by the four local rabbinic leaders: Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Dr. Rachel Levmore (director of the IYIM project) and Rabbi Elyashiv Knohl (both authors of the agreement) as well as Rav Baruch Gigi. The decision of the Religious Council to recommend the signing of the prenuptial to every marrying couple, comes as a result of the IYIM's years-long work towards this goal.
The The Agreement for Mutual Respect is currently available in 5 languages. For more information, click here.
IYIM and JAFI’s director of the Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project was a pivotal influence in a defining moment of Jewish history. Dr. Rachel Levmore, as a member of the Israel Committee for the Appointment of Rabbinical Court Judges voted in the ten appointees to the State High Rabbinical Court in Jerusalem. Nearing the end of three years of deliberations and an hours-long marathon meeting of the committee, just prior to midnight July 12, 2016, ten rabbis were appointed by the committee, which is made up of the two Chief Rabbis, two ministers, two MKs, two Israel Bar Association representatives and Rabbinical Court Advocate Levmore. Declared “an historicacheivment” by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, IYIM’s Levmore drew accolades from around the country.
As a member of the Israel State Committee for the Appointment of Dayanim,director of the IYIM & JAFI Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project--Dr. Rachel Levmore -- attended the swearing-in ceremony of the first and thus-far only appointee to the High Rabbinical Court of Appeals, Judge Rav Eliezer Igra. The ceremony, in accordance with the law, took place in the presence of the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Reuven Rivlin, and at his residence. It was an exclusive event, attended solely by members of the committee, ministers, the Chief rabbis, dayanim and Igra family members.
To read a more in-depth article and for photographs click here.
Jerusalem Shabbat Dinner Under the Stars, June 17th, 2016
Over 120 guests including Young Professionals, Lone Soldiers & New Olim shared a warm and beautiful Shabbat dinner "Under the Stars" at the Achim Chasid Building on Emek Rafaim St.
The atmosphere was warm and the energy was amazing! People enjoyed meeting and mingling over a delicious 3-course dinner with fine wine. The event was Co-sponsored by JICNY and Beinenu.
Jerusalem Rooftop Sunset Drinks, June 26, 2016
Over 60+ guests joined us on a Rooftop overlooking the beautiful Jerusalem sunset for a casual Drinks Party on Sunday night, June 26th. The event took place at the home of Jodi & Gavin Samuels, Co-founders of the JICNY.
Singles met & mingled with while sipping top shelf alcohol, beer and snacks. The Samuels enjoy hosting singles in a warm, relaxed kosher environment. To date, the JICNY boasts of 108 couples who have met & married through JICNY.
Want to join us? For more information on upcoming events, click here.
Continuing our partnership with JICNY (Jewish International Connection New York - Israel Branch) we hosted two fantastic singles events in May:
BIG Jerusalem Shabbat Dinner
On Friday, May 13, 2016, we had a BIG Jerusalem Shabbat dinner at a new venue - Achim Chasid Building on Emek Rafaim St.
Guests included 96 young professionals ages 20s and 30s compromised of Anglos, Israelis, new Olim and 7 Lone soldiers. The dinner had a great vibe and many new friendships and connections were made. Jodi Samuels, Director of JICNY, stated "Due to overwhelming demand, we had to turn away 40 people, but we are planning to host a much bigger & better event for our upcoming dinner on Friday, June 17 - "Jerusalem Shabbat Dinner Under the Stars" and we invite everyone to attend.
For more info or to sign-up for Friday, June 17 - "Jerusalem Shabbat Dinner Under the Stars" , visit: www.jicny.com
Jodi Samuels FAMOUS Cooking Class: Make a Shabbat Meal in One Hour!
On May 16, 2016, in the German Colony, Jodi Samuels, Co-founder of the JICNY took us on a super-speed culinary adventure in her kitchen. Twenty-five guests watched in amazement as Jodi prepared a 3-course meal including salads, appetizers & main course in less than one hour. Jodi said "As a busy mom, wife and business woman, I still need to prepare home-made and healthy-nourishing meals for my family for Shabbat. In 59 minutes and 51 seconds I made salmon, soup, meat loaf, roast beef, olive and rosemary chicken, couscous, blanched beans in sauce, tomato salad, spinach salad and cabbage salad. This included washing and prepping all veggies."
Many new Olim attended the class and Jodi loves introducing new Olim to new people and getting them connected to a community.
To join the JICNY email list about upcoming Israel events, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and write "Israel events email" in the subject line.
Saying Mazal Tov in Sign Language – 54 Deaf Students Gather From Across Israel
Monday, May 16, 2016, was a very special day in the lives of 54 Deaf students from across Israel. Each one approaching their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, preparing to join a long line of generations before them in accepting the yoke of mitzvot joined together to participate in a most unique and moving program.
The Bar & Bat Mitzvah Event is the crowning jewel of the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) - Israel Region Judaic Heritage Program for the Deaf, and carried out in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and The Association of the Deaf in Israel (ACHA). The program is the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of efforts on the side of IYIM staff and the students themselves, as they are guided through preparation for the day’s events, and their coming into the age of mitzvot.
Buses full of celebrants from cities including Be’er Sheva, Tiberias, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem gathered to meet at the majestic Ohel Ari Synagogue in Ra’anana. Local congregants were in attendance, mingling with guests, as well as the members of Kollel Eretz Chemda who graciously joined the ceremony, bringing along their personal tefillin to help the Bar Mitzvah boys perform the mitzvah of donning tefillin perhaps for the first time.
As tradition has had it over the past 20 years of running this phenomenal program, the master of ceremonies, Rav Chanoch Yeres, Director of the IYIM Judaic Heritage Program for the Deaf, opened with greetings of Mazal tov and Divrei Torah connected to the day. Words of mazal tov were also shared by Yakov Sinai of ACHA; Rav Yitzchak Steinberg, head of the Kollel Eretz Chemda; and Aviva Sherman, IYIM Director of Programming, who in addition to continuing the blessing for the families of the Bnei Mitzvah acknowledged the incredible hard work of Rav Alexander Yeres and Rav Chanoch Yeres in making the celebration come to life, and the continued support of JAFI for this yearly event.
The Bnei Mitzvah were called to the Bimah to receive special gifts in honor of their coming to the age of mitzvot – the boys received an embroidered tallit bag, tallit and siddur; and the girls received beautiful handmade Shabbat candlesticks, uniquely decorated shabbat candles and a siddur.
The boys were then guided in the donning of their tallit and tefillin, a very moving experience for themselves and their parents. The energy was that of joy and excitement, photographs being taken from all angles, and the light on the boys’ and parent’s faces apparent.
The boys were called up to the Bimah where they said the blessing on the Torah, and Rav Chanoch Yeres read that day’s portion. Candies and cheer showered them at the conclusion of the reading, and the girls were then brought up to the Bimah where they recited the Shema and special prayer for their Bat Mitzvah, and were met with a similar shower of sweets and joy from their family and friends.
The festive meal followed where all guests were in for a treat: several participating schools had worked hard throughout the year to choreograph performances – in sign language, of course - to share at this joyous occasion.
The day’s activity took the celebrants to the Kfar Saba Heritage Museum where the students were treated to several workshops on mosaics and glass-blowing, and got to take home their very own creations. Families got to sit and connect and tour the museum’s rich history and beautiful layout.
Indeed, parents expressed their immense thanks for the unique opportunity provided by the day’s events – their children getting to meet and connect with other Deaf children from throughout the country, sharing experiences and seeing that they are not alone in their corner of the country, rather quite the opposite: Deaf culture is rich and deep throughout Israel, and they are a part of that. The parents had a similar experience, meeting one another and being enlightened and supported by sharing stories and experiences of raising a Deaf child.
Keren Shmueli, Director of the Tiberias Deaf clubhouse, has been a major positive voice for this event within her community, gathering the families together and getting them to participate. “Each year is wonderful and completely unique, and this year is no exception. The way you are able to match the day’s activity and ceremony to the needs of the students is wonderful. They have such a fantastic time.”
In all, it was a day of joy, excitement, sharing and immense mutual gratitude. As thankful as the families are to those organizations that worked hard to put the day together, so too is IYIM overjoyed to be a part of this incredible annual event, and looks forward to touching the lives of more Israeli Deaf youth in the days, weeks and years to come.
On Monday, May 23, 2016, and joined by hundreds of guests in the auditorium of the stately Knesset building in Jerusalem, Dr. Rachel Levmore, Director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, was among 6 recipients awarded the Sylvan Adams Nefesh B’Nefesh Bonei Zion Prize for 2016.
The award recognizes outstanding Anglo Olim – veteran and recent – who encapsulate the spirit of modern-day Zionism by contributing in a significant way towards the State of Israel. Dr. Levmore was awarded the prize for her outstanding work in helping to free chained women - and men - from unwanted marriages, and for working towards promoting mutual respect in Jewish couples across the globe.
"It was a great honor to receive this award," stated Dr. Levmore. " Not only did Nefesh B'Nefesh organize the event in the best possible manner--there was a "spirit" that was engendered by all those who attended. Alongside the dignified proceedings there was a palpable sense of love of the Land of Israel and the State of Israel. Personally, after being so immersed in politics and cynicism, I felt this spirit and understood that it can only come from a bunch of olim who came because they believe."
A presentation was made to the entire student body and faculty of the Pardes Institute for Judaic Studies by Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of the IYIM Agunah & Get-Refusal Prevention Project. The students who study there hail from various countries around the world, from all religious streams, with the majority from English speaking countries. As part of their mission upon returning home, the Pardes Institute sees it to be of vital importance that the students understand the agunah problem thoroughly and take upon themselves to promote prenuptial agreements in their society. The presentation was entitled "Prenuptial agreements for the Prevention of Get-Refusal: One solution to the Worldwide Problem".
GIFT Israel, in conjunction with IYIM arranged a very successful trip to the Leket fields on isru chag.
80 volunteers came from Jerusalem, Bet Shemesh and surrounding areas to pick the produce to be donated to needy families throughout Israel.
Over 400 kg of kohlrabi was picked which will feed 75 families.
It was amazing to see grandparents alongside their grandchildren,tourists and Israelis,old and young, first timers and repeat volunteers all working and volunteering together.
On Wednesday, April 13, 2016, Rav HanohYeres, Director of the Judaic Heritage Program for the Deaf and Hearing-Impaired, lead a model seder at the Jerusalem Branch of the Association of the Deaf in Israel (ACHA). Participants varied in ages and backgrounds, including even Christian and Muslim participants. The seder included a festive meal and festive atmosphere, much to the participants delight.
Maamakim hosted a very special program for young lone Olim in Jerusalem. We started with a pre-Pesach shiur, and an opportunity to sell Chametz. We followed with a BBQ celebrating the completion of two years army service for lone soldier, Yaakov Marx. Yaakov spoke about what he learned about himself and about Israel. He also expressed his gratitude to Maamakim for constant support and advice before, during and now, after army service. We are very grateful for the very kind donation from IYIM that made the evening possible.
Dr. Rachel Levmore is being honored for her work as the director of the Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project of the International Young Israel Movement and the Jewish Agency for Israel, an initiative which she founded. http://www.nbn.org.il/boneizion/
A video of the Dr. Rachel Levmore's presentation at the conference of the Institute for Studies of Religious Zionism in Bar Ilan called “Women in Religious Zionism: Past Present and Future” was posted on Youtube. Dr. Levmore, director of the IYIM Project for the Prevention of Agunot & Get-Refusal was specifically asked to speak about : “The Agreement for Mutual Respect for the Prevention of the Modern Day Agunah – Women at the focal point of the problem and religious zionist women at the focal point of the solution”.
A two-page article appeared in the glossy magazine “Nashim”, distributed as part of the Makor Rishon newspaper over the Purim weekend, describing in fascinating terms the Postnuptial Signing Party, with accompanying photos. The main part of the article was an interview with Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of the IYIM Agunah and get-refusal Prevention Project. This was very effective publicity and consciousness-raising for the prenuptial Agreement for Mutual Respect as one of the main goals of this IYIM project.
Adetailed presentation was made by Dr. Rachel Levmore, The director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project to a top-level group of students, of the Harvard University –Kennedy School of Government. In a study mission to Israel the group visited Efrat and were extremely eager to here how personal status issues are handled by the Israeli Rabbinical Courts and what role a female advocate plays within it. The students were so fascinated they unanimously agreed to forgo dessert so that they could continue their discussion with Dr. Levmore.
International Agunah Day is marked yearly on Ta'anit Esther, which falls this year on March 23rd. Through the work Dr. Rachel Levmore does in the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project it is clear that the best possible solution for the Agunah Problem at this time in history, is to prevent the very possibility of get-refusal. To this end every marrying couple should sign a halakhic prenuptial agreement for the prevention of get-refusal---The Agreement for Mutual Respect - Heskem 'l'Lavod Hadadi(http://www.iyim.org.il/prenup/).
Here is a list of articles published by Dr. Levmore for International Agunah Day:
The Institute for Studies of Religious Zionism in Bar Ilan University invited the director of the Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, Dr. Rachel Levmore, to speak at an international conference held on March 9th, 2016, called “Women in Religious Zionism: Past Present and Future”. The coordinator was specifically asked to speak about the work in this IYIM project, and did so in a lecture entitled: “The Agreement for Mutual Respect for the Prevention of the Modern Day Agunah – Women at the focal point of the problem and religious-zionist women at the focal point of the solution”. The audience exhibited great interest, with many questions asked and answered, extending the session.
On Motzei Shabbat (28/2/16) the International Young Israel Movement in collaboration with the Women’s Beit Midrash of Efrat and Gush Etzion held a Post Nuptial Agreement Signing Party. The large crowd was addressed by Harav Bruch Gigi,Rosh Yeshiva Har Etzion and Dr. Rachel Levmore, Director of IYIM's Agunah and Get Refusal Program. After these informative addresses, 90 couples lined up to sign the agreements before Halachic witnesses, many of whom were Rabbanim from Efrat and Gush Etzion. The couples ranged from newlyweds to a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary that very night. Dr, Rachel Levmore, described this unique evening “Saturday night, Feb 27, 2016, marked an historic occurrence--in the form of a party”. She described the evening as “alongside music, party food, enthusiastic declarations by rabbis and laymen alike as well as tens of supporters -- over ninety couples signed the Postnuptial Agreement for Mutual Respect - Heskem l'Kavod Hadadi - within joy and the knowledge that they were serving as a personal example for their children, their family, their community and all of Israel. The message was not sent out in words--but significantly--through action. Every marrying couple must sign a prenuptial agreement for the prevention of get-refusal. This was an historic event!”
The Golan Heights is arguably one of the most beautiful areas of Israel. With rolling green hills, a view of the snow-capped Hermon Mountain, wildlife and nature hikes galore, there are few that wouldn’t appreciate the serenity and glory of the region.The Golan Heights also has rich military history for the State of Israel and has many soldiers stationed there protecting her land and patrolling her borders.
Standing barley a mile from the Syrian border, was the perfect opportunity for the Beigel Family of Ontario, Canada. They chose to celebrate their son Adam’s Bar Mitzvah by donating a Sefer Torah to the IDF in partnership with the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) Warrior Torah Program.
Unlike other armies, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) does not operate on physical strength alone, but in the firm knowledge that its spiritual power and resources are just as important as the physical ones. Believing this firmly, the Beigels sought to donate a Sefer Torah to strengthen the young men and women of the IDF, and indeed specifically wanted to donate a Torah to a base which was in the “thick of the action,” and thus decided on the Golan Heights.
On February 17, 2016, The Beigel family and their guests departed Jerusalem for the long ride up North. The excitement building, the group was met by the Commanding Rav of the area and the Beigel family was personally invited to see “their” Torah for the first time. The family was honored with placing the mantle on the Torah, at which point Adam emerged carrying this special Warrior Torah out to the soldiers and his guests, and the celebration began in earnest.
The joyous procession was led through the base accompanied by singing and dancing soldiers of the Bashan Division, and into the Base Synagogue where the celebration reached a crescendo. After visitors and soldiers were honored with readings, and words shared by the Beigels deeply thanking the soldiers for their commitment to Am Yisrael, the Torah was placed in its new home.The group then went on an unprecedented tour of bases and fortifications within the Golan Heights, some just a mile from the Syrian border. Here participants had the opportunity to speak with front-line soldiers while bringing them gifts and good cheer.
“Our family is strong in both our Torah values and in our support for the soldiers that protect our G-d given land,” commented the mother of the Bar Mitzvah boy Yael Beigel. “IYIM gave us an opportunity to not only perform this enormous mitzvah but they let us do it in a way that we, our family and friends will never forget.”
This program is open to Deaf individuals or individuals who have Deaf siblings and are fluent in ASL.
Young adults ages 18-26 are welcome to participate in this truly unique and life-changing program.
Spend ten unbelievable days touring and experiencing Israel, as a free gift from Birthright Israel and in partnership with IYIM - Israel Branch Judaic Heritage Program for the Deaf , Ezra World, and the Jewish Deaf Foundation.
The International Young Israel Movement & American Friends of Yeshivat Sderot were proud to partner on January 27, 2015, for a informational and experiential trip to Sderot. With over 50 participants, our first stop was a walking tour of Sderot and seeing actual kassam rockets that fell during Operation Protective Edge, in summer of 2014.
We were privileged to hear from many of Sderot’s political leaders, including Alon Davidi,the Mayor of Sderot, and Director of the Youth of Sderot, Igal Bracha. The participants of the tour were awed by the growth and strength of the people of Sderot, and the efforts of the city’s leaders to build a resilient and strong city, one that continues to develop and grow despite its many challenges.
The group was graciously hosted by the Sderot Yeshiva for lunch which was followed by a tour of the Yeshiva, including a visit to their Kassam rocket Menorah and their breathtaking view of Sderot.Our next stop was the IYIM Teen Café , where trip participants heard from Teen Café Director Yael Spanglet, and learned about the important work the Teen Café is doing within the community with teens-at-risk and young Ethiopian mothers.
We concluded our visit with a stop at a lookout point onto Gaza, learning about the history and discussing current events within Israel’s relationship to that city. It was a most meaningful way to round out the day.
IYIM looks forward to many more successful and informative trips to communities throughout Israel.Stay tuned for our upcoming trips!
Not every Bar Mitzvah boy receives the once in a lifetime opportunity of being called up to the Torah on an IDF base alongside Israel’s soldiers, of dancing with those soldiers along with his family and friends during a unique Torah dedication ceremony on the IDF base.
Daniel Marks and his family had just such a unique opportunity, in partnership with the IYIM Warrior Torah Program.
On January 25th, 2016, and after months of planning in close coordination with IYIM, the ceremony was set to take place at the Headquarters of the Shomron Regional Brigade. The two busloads of guests were guided to the Shomron, where they were met with music and dancing soldiers, the perfect build-up to this most moving event.
The dancing continued until Daniel emerged under a Chupah carrying “his” Torah adorned with the beautiful mantle of a rich blue and silver, emblazoned with the dedication penned by his parents,.
A joyous procession led the Torah towards the base synagogue, with rain on their faces but simcha keeping them warm and the celebration alight.
Once in the synagogue, the Torah was arranged on the Bima, where a relative, a soldier, and Daniel himself were called up to make the blessings on the Torah portion. The lifting of the Torah had much meaning for the attendees of this special simcha.
“We are excited to give back to the IDF in a meaningful way and we are grateful that IYIM made that possible,” commented Rachel Marks, mother of the Bar Mitzvah boy. “The dedication was a once in a lifetime experience saturated with meaning, emotion and jubilation. IYIM really listened to our wishes and succeeded in executing a wonderful day which will always remain in our hearts and minds. We hope that the Torah will be a source of guidance and strength to the men and woman of the IDF and all of Klal Yisrael.”
Indeed, not every Bar Mitzvah boy gets to experience such a momentous occasion alongside his family and friends, an event that we are quite sure provided a lifetime of memories.
The Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project is thrilled to announce that Canada now has a Halachic Prenuptial Agreement!
Rabbi Michael Whitman of The Adath synagogue, together with experts in the field, has composed the "Halachic Prenup for Canada" for the prevention of get-refusal, in keeping with Canadian law. This is a significant step in the obliteration of the agunah problem.
Daniel Marks celebrates his dream Bar Mitzvah in moving Torah dedication ceremony at the Shomron Regional Brigade base.
Daniel Marks called to the Torah
Daniel Marks celebrated his Bar Mitzvah last week during a once in a lifetime Torah dedication ceremony alongside family, friends, and hundreds of Israeli soldiers.
With the help of the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) Warrior Torah Program, Daniel and his family celebrated the joyous occasion at the Headquarters of the Shomron (Samaria) Regional Brigade.
Two busloads of guests were guided to Samaria for the event. They were met with music and dancing soldiers.
The dancing continued until Daniel emerged under a chupah (canopy) carrying “his” Torah adorned with a mantle of rich blue and silver, emblazoned with the dedication penned by his parents, Rachel and Jonathan, and arranged and printed by IYIM.
A joyous procession led the Torah towards the base synagogue, as IYIM distributed candy to guests to shower on the Bar Mitzvah boy and his family during the procession.
Once inside the base's synagogue, the Torah was arranged on the bima, where a relative, a soldier, and Daniel himself were called up to make the blessings on the Torah portion, which was read by the Commanding IDF Rabbi of the area.
Following the reading, the Torah was placed inside its new home in the ark of the Shomron Regional Brigade.
A celebratory meal followed in which guests mingled with soldiers attending the event. The family was also presented with a special IDF certificate by the Commanding Officer of the region, commemorating the Marks family’s generous donation to the IDF.
Guests also received the opportunity to plant trees on the base, with the help of several soldiers, in honor of Tu B'Shvat.
“We are excited to give back to the IDF in a meaningful way and we are grateful that IYIM made that possible,” commented Rachel Marks, mother of the Bar Mitzvah boy.
“The dedication was a once in a lifetime experience saturated with meaning, emotion and jubilation. IYIM really listened to our wishes and succeeded in executing a wonderful day which will always remain in our hearts and minds. We hope that the Torah will be a source of guidance and strength to the men and women of the IDF and all of Klal Yisrael.”
Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of the IYIM Agunah & Get-Refusal Prevention Project, presented a 3 hour seminar for law students at Bar Ilan University at the Rackman Center's Family Law Clinic. The seminar included an academic analysis of the legal and halakhic facets in Israel which lead to the problem of get-refusal. Following the analysis, the Agreement for Mutual Respect was presented and analyzed, demonstrating how the agreement resolved the problematic situation. The law students were trained to use this prenuptial agreement for the prevention of get-refusal in a professional capacity. The students received answers to their probing questions and internalized the material.
On Tuesday night the 15th December, Yossi Ives and Micki Lavin-Pell teamed up to give two workshops at Merkaz Chiba in Jerusalem. Twenty participants enjoyed meeting one another, first getting to know one another through a game of celebrity heads and then enjoying a Holy bagels dinner, and finally participating in the workshops. Yossi's workshop was very entertaining as he talked about" Making smart dating choices." In the talk he reflected upon how we miss important aspects of people because we sometimes focus on the things that don't really matter. He also talked about how to take charge of the things that we have control over when it comes to making smart dating choices.
Micki's topic was entitled: "Where have all the good people gone." She emphasized the fact that when we are in a negative space we can sometimes overlook people who may be right in front of us. She also reflected upon how to get yourself in the best place possible so that you can attract the right person and make every opportunity a place for finding the one.
On Sunday night December, 13th Beineinu and JIC teamed up to put together a jazz event at the Samuel's home in the German colony. 50 participants enjoyed sufganiyot and international latka bar, an assortment of other tasty delights and of course the many L'Chayim's that the Samuel's have in their home. Yoad Shoshani entertained the guests with his acoustic guitar. Many of the participants hailed from around the globe. For many it was a first time event.
The Gift of Giving – The IYIM and GIFT Chanukah Program
The International Young Israel Movement & GIFT Israel partnered to spread the gift of giving with their “Light it Up: 8 nights 8 giving opportunities” Chanukah program.
Beginning the week before Chanukah with a highly successful toy drive, and presenting 7 additional fantastic and fulfilling programs throughout the holiday,the Light it Up Program brought together people of all ages and backgrounds to give the gift of giving this Chanukah.Over 260 volunteers including families, tourists and gap year students united to pick food, pack food, prepare food, and distribute food and toys to needy families, children, lone soldiers and hospital patients. Volunteers had the opportunity to package food with Yad Eliezer, Pantry Packers, Tachlit Charity, and Chasdei Noami. The many food boxes and packages prepared provided food to hundreds of families for the holiday. On the 5th night of Chanukah, volunteers helped sponsor and cater a special Chanukah dinner for the Lone Soldier Center, for eighty IDF soldiers who are serving Israel a long distance away from their families for Chanukah.The week of giving was topped off with a visit to Shaarei Tzedek Hospital, where volunteers visited sick children and adults, handing out over a hundred candy bags and warm smiles to light up their holiday.
The International Conference on Abuse of TAHEL requested that the director of the IYIM/JAFI Agunah & Get-Refusal Prevention Project, Dr. Rachel Levmore, moderate and present at two separate session. The first: “Community Influences and Strategies for Helping Agunot” was attended by Hebrew English and French speakers, who learned about community actions to prevent and resolve agunah cases, with an emphasis on prenuptial agreements. The second: “Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress-Agunot” clarified the differences and similarities—both in civil law and in halakhic rulings-- in tort damages cases brought in the US and Israel for get-refusal. The participants in both sessions found them illuminating and helpful, arming them with information to take back to their respective communities.
On November 19, Beineinu teamed up with JICNY for our first event, rotating tables. Over fifty men and women in their 20' and 30's joined us for an opportunity to meet in a home in Katamon.
Participants were placed in groups, with different deserts and wine, and given questions about spirituality, politics and religion to get to know the other participants.
They had 10 minutes to discuss a talking point, and then rotated to different tables. There were six rotations in total.
The atmosphere was so light and enjoyable that no one wanted to leave. We look forward to many more events with JICNY...
On International Day for theElimination ofViolence against Women, the IYIM Project for the Prevention Of Agunot and Get-Refusal coordinated with a very significant institution in Israel in holding an event,which will influence policy – The staff of the President of the State of Israel, President Ruby Rivlin. In order to educate, sensitize and influence the President’s staff a VIP screening was held of the film “Gett: The Trial of Vivienne Amsalem”, preceded by breakfast. Prior to the screening, speeches were made by First Lady Nechama Rivlin, Director of the President’s Residence Attn’y Harel Tuvi, legal counsel Attn’y Michal Tzuk and Mrs. Tziona Rosental, director of Special Events and Gender Equality in the Office of the President of Israel. Immediately following the screening a panel discussion was held, organized and chaired by Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of this project. The star-studded panel include Shlomi Alkabetz – the filmmaker– as well as Rabbinical Court Judge Rabbi Shlomo Shtessman – Av Beit Din in Tel-Aviv. During the panel discussion and the audience’s lively participation, it became apparent that the entire event achieved its aim—sensitization of the staff of the President to the plight of Agunot and victims of Get-Refusal.
In November, the director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Program, Dr. Rachel Levmore, lectured in a special program for developing women’s leadership at the Migdal Oz Women’s Beit Midrash. Speaking to a select group of 25 young woman destined to become leaders in Jewish society as they pursue academic studies in the full spectrum of available fields, the director spoke about her personal development based on the four guiding principles in her professional life. Using various stories and accomplishments, including this IYIM project, Dr. Levmore demonstrated how these principles were used and how these young women, too, can make their impact for the betterment of Jewish and Israeli society.
On October 11th, twenty-two new Rabbinical Court Judges were sworn in at a ceremony in the Presidential Residence of the State of Israel, in the presence of President Ruby Rivlin, the two Chief Rabbis, Minister Yuval Steinitz who chairs the Committee for the Appointment of Dayanim as well as members of the Committee, which includes Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of the IYIM Agunot and Get-Refusal Prevention Project.
Prior to the impressive ceremony the hundreds of attendees were witness to the highly unusual sight of black-hatted, bearded dayanim approaching one woman with great warmth, thanking her profusely for seeing to their appointments -- IYIM's own Dr. Rachel Levmore.
Jewish parents are notorious for nudging, begging, and guilting their children to “get married already.” What they don’t realize is getting married in today’s ‘I want it all’ world is not a simple feat. Each year the Pew report shows a greater climb in Jewish people between ages 25-45 remaining single. In 2012, 63.3% of men and 45.8% of women aged 25-29 were single, compared to 54% of men and 33.3% of women who were single in 2000. These high numbers don’t account for marriages that shortly end up in divorce. And there’s no indication that they’re going to drop anytime soon.
Article by Sarah Sasoon, with a fresh look at dating from Micki Lavin-Pell - Dating Coach, Marriage Counselor, and Director of IYIM's Singles Program, Beineinu.
The magazine section of the Simchat Torah edition of the Jerusalem Post published an in-depth report, featuring Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of the Agunot and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, and the project’s accomplishments in the dissemination of prenuptial agreements for the prevention of get-refusal. This article was published in peak distribution to tens of thousands of readers of the holiday print edition. It included mention of this IYIM project and JAFI. See “The plight of agunot: The pen vs the chains”, Amy Spiro, The Jerusalem Post, October 4, 2015
An English-speaking Jerusalem-based law firm published a summary of last month's Ynet article "There are judges in Jerusalem; the problem: no dayanim," authored by Dr. Rachel Levmore, Director of the IYIM Agunah & Get-prevention Project.
As readers even slightly familiar with Family Law in Israel know, in Israel there exists a system of more or less parallel jurisdiction between religious courts (Muslim, Jewish and some Christian groups) and the Family Court. Thus, a Jewish couple seeking a dissolution of their marriage in the State of Israel must at some point go through the Rabbinic Court, which in certain cases may also have jurisdiction to deal with issues of children, spousal support and division of property.
While most court system are plagued by delays, the delays in the Rabbinic Court system are worse than those in the Family Courts; it’s not infrequent to be called for a hearing at 9:00 am and not walk into the courtroom until noon.
Dr. Rachel Levmore recently published an article in Ynet describing the abysmal shortage of Rabbinic Court judges, known in Hebrew as dayanim, in the Rabbinic Court system.*
In the summer of 2014, Israel was at war. What began as a response to the kidnapping and murder of three very special young men, Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaer and Naftali Frankel, became a full-fledged military operation to destroy the subsequently discovered tunnels throughout Gaza. Sadly, 75 people in all - soldiers, civilians, and the 3 kidnapped boys - were killed during Operation Protective Edge (Tzuk Eitan).
Mr. Laurent Amram, from Montreal, Canada, decided something major had to be done in the memories of the 72 fallen soliders and the three murdered boys. Laurent launched and then spearheaded a campaign to have 75 Sifrei Torah written or refurbished and donated to the IDF, soldiers' homes, nursing homes and communities in Israel. Laurent was instrumental in finding 73 donors.
IYIM was proud to be able to provide the final two Torahs in this special series - numbers 74 and 75 - through the generosity of the Leo V. Berger Fund and a private donor.
A very special ceremony will take place at the Kotel on August 12th in the presence of the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Rivlin, IDF Chief Gadi Eizenkottand other dignatries.*
IYIM's new pilot learning program has begun with great success. The Atlas Learning Program was conceived by Rabbis Yarden Atlas and Yedidya Atlas, children of Dr. Hilton H. z"l and Gloria Atlas z"l, as a living memory to their parents. IYIM was honored with the opportunity to set up and operate the learning program, which was launched in July 2015. Rabbi Yedidya Atlas has long been IYIM's liason to the IDF, and we are happy to have the opportunity to work together on this important project, as well.
The Atlas Learning Program is currently being offered to Jerusalem residents only and offers the opportunity for one-on-one or small-group learning in the comfort of one's home, office or shul, on a daily or weekly basis. Topics that can be explored include: gemara, parshat hashavua, tanach, halacha and more. The program provides an essential learning opportunity for retirees, stay-at-home mothers, high school students, individuals that are home-bound or in nursing homes, and others.
English or Hebrew
In-person; we cannot offer phone or skype shiruim at this time
Completely free of charge
Additional details on the flyer below
To learn more about the Atlas Learning Program, or to set up a time to learn with Rabbi Atlas, please contact IYIM:
The Leo V. Berger fund, headed by Mr. Harvey Schwartz of Jerusalem, has been an ardent supporter of IYIM since its inception. The Fund issued a Challenge Grant for the IYIM Sefer Torah program: for every 2 Sifrei Torah that IYIM facilitated as a dedication to the IDF, the fund dedicated an additional Torah.
We are proud to announce that the Berger Fund is now dedicating its fifth and final Sefer Torah to the IDF as defined by the original grant.
But the Berger Fund has generously agreed to extend the Challenge Grant to enable even more Sifrei Torah to be made available to the IDF!
In addition to Sifrei Torah for army bases and units, the IDF Rabbinate has called out to IYIM to help find friends worldwide who will dedicate Sifrei Torah to the reserves for use in time of war. The need is for 90 such Sifrei Torah. The Berger Fund and IYIM are proud that this fifth Challenge Grant Torah will be the first of the 90. For more information on the IDF Torah Campaign, or to donate:
In the summer of 2005 some 8,000 Jewish residents of Gush Katif were removed from their homes, and their communities were destroyed as part of a government withdrawal. Over the past 10 years, IYIM has helped to support the former residents of Gush Katif through a number of projects, such as food for the High Holidays and financial support for building new synogogues.
To mark ten years of this event, IYIM in cooperation with The Friends of Gush Katif and The Katif Heritage Center for the Commemoration of Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron, a very special summer program was launched entitled "10 Buses for 10 Years: Remembering Gush Katif." This program will bring 10 busloads of supporters - both locals and tourists alike - to visit some of the newly settled communities, speak with former residents to show solidarity and to hear their personal stories, and tour the powerfully done Heritage Center in Nitzan.
Beineinu, the singles division of IYIM, has been running programs for five years now. More than just a meeting place at social activities, Beineninu also offers dating coaching, relationship workshops, shadchan referrals and more. Beineninu has become the main address for members of the 28-45 year old singles community in Israel.
As a result of the success of its programming Beineinu has expanded its social media presence and availability. The first step is the launch of the new Beineinu website www.beconnections.org
In order to launch its new website, Beineinu is hosting a virtual FB party.
Ceec Harrishburg (President, IYIM) and Daniel Meyer (Exec.-Director, IYIM) paid a two-day visit to London at the beginning of July. The visit was IYIM’s first foray into the United Kingdom. The purpose of the trip was to lay groundwork for the introduction of our programs to the British Jewish community. Meetings were held with prominent members of the Jewish community and IYIM looks forward to continue building these and new relationships with the Jewish communities in the UK in the future.
On June 14, IYIM was proud to join forces with the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) – Israel in memorializing a Torah giant on the shloshim of his passing. Rav Aharon Lichtenstein was a Gadol B’Torah on every level who inspired thousands of students throughout the world. His last teaching post, which he held for decades, was Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shvut.
The evening in his memory at the Yeshurun synagogue in Jerusalem was organized by Rav Jeffrey Bienenfeld. The large crowd was addressed by: his son and current Rosh Yeshiva of Har Etzion, Harav Moshe Lichetnstein; Rabbi Dr. Daniel Tropper of Gesher and Rav Dov Frimer.
The director of the IYIM Agunah & Get-refusal Prevention Project, Dr. Rachel Levmore, was quoted in a Jerusalem Post article by Jeremy Sharon, titled "“Emunah petitions High court against transfer of rabbinical courts”, on July 2, 2015.
Following the government’s decision on Sunday July 5, 2015 to transfer the State Rabbinical Courts from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, together with the authority to appoint the female Rabbinical Court Advocate to serve as a member of the Committee for the Appointment of Dayanim transferred from the Minister of Justice to the Minister of Religious Affiars, Kol Yisrael Radio’s Chicko Menashe interviewed the present member, Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of the IYIM project and the chief negotiator of the Shas political party who now controls the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
On May 12, 2015, the director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, Dr. Rachel Levmore, gave a presentation entitled "Prenuptial agreements for the Prevention of Get-Refusal: One solution to the Worldwide Problem” to the entire student body and faculty of the Pardes Institute for Judaic Studies. The students at the Pardes Institute hail from all religious streams and various countries around the world, with the majority being from English-speaking countries. The Pardes Institute sees as a mission of vital importance that the students understand the agunah problem thoroughly and take upon themselves to promote prenuptial agreements in their community once returning home.
A screening of the film “Gett: The Trial Of Vivianne Amsalem” was shown at a public event on May 14, 2015, held at Jerusalem’s Old Train Station. The screening was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Haaretz’s top reporter Yair Ettinger and included participants of the highest order: Rabbinical Court Judge Mordechai Ralbag, Prof Aviad Hacohen, Attn’t Kahana Dror and Dr. Rachel Levmore. A truly mixed crowd of hundreds attended the screening and were glued to their seats as the panelists discussed, disagreed and offered solutions to the agunah problem.
In April 2015, Beineinu, IYIM’s Singles Program, hosted a meet-the-authors book event. A pleasant atmosphere and central location was provided by the venue, The Village Green, and the poetry reading at the opening and closing of the event gave the gathering a more cultural air. The spotlighted authors - Yael Unterman, Dan Sofer, and Chananya Weissman – came together to talk about their books, each one being on the topic of “singles.” Many singles attended, interspersed with married individuals, which provided for a more comfortable atmosphere. There was a feeling of the subject being related in a way that wasn't embarrassing or intrusive on the one hand, nor avoidant or irrelevant on the other. In addition, the talks were neither vulgar nor heavy for the audience. Among the authors themselves there was a nice diversity of single and married, male and female, fiction and non-fiction. It turned out to be a great Jerusalem event with everyone benefitting – the audience being given the opportunity to hear the same topic discussed from three very different and fascinating perspectives, and the authors having the opportunity to share their knowledge and insight, get their names out there, and even sell some books along the way.
On the verge of age forty, after years as a housewife, Dr. Rachel Levmore decided it was time for a change. Since then she has managed to solve complex cases of agunot and illegitamate children, turned the tables on get-refusers, and successfully draft a pre-nuptual contract to help solve the aguna problem. An interview with this revolutionary woman.
Gathering at the entranceway to Beit Knesset Hanassi in the Rechavia neighborhood of Jerusalem, 18 deaf and profoundly hearing-impaired children and their families anxiously awaited the day’s event – their bar and bat mitzvah celebration. The program, co-sponsored by the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM), the Jewish Agency and the National Deaf Association, is in its 19th year, and, true to the legacy of past years, was once again a tremendous success.
The children and their families traveled from the greater Tel Aviv region and as far north at Katzrin, Afula, and Tiberias to celebrate their bar and bat mitzvahs in the holy city of Jerusalem. The day that awaited them was filled with excitement – a reception and Torah reading in the main hall of the Beit Knesset followed by a celebratory meal and organized tour through the Old City ending with davening at the Kotel Ha’Maravi.
Beit Knesset Hanassi graciously opened its doors to host the Bnei Mitzvah festivities. Shul President Henry Israel played an active role in the affair, both up front and behind the scenes, and was in attendance with his wife Francis for the celebration. “I did not know what to expect,” Mr. Israel told an IYIM staff member following the event. “But I was amazed by IYIM, the commitment of your colleagues and above all the wonderful happy faces of the Bar Mitzvah boys and girls. It was a privilege to have experienced this with you and hope we can do so again.” Mr. Israel was honored with being among the chosen few to distribute gifts and mazal tov blessings to the children.
“One father told me in tears that when his son was born he was told he would never be able to communicate and here we are at his Bar Mitzvah,” commented Ceec Harrishburg, IYIM President. “This is what we are about: reaching out to population groups in Israeli society that are falling through the cracks. Among the 18 kids today only one came from a traditional family; the rest might have let this important milestone pass by if not for IYIM. This day is truly the highlight of our year-round programming for the deaf population of Israel.”
IYIM was proud to join Standing Together for the annual Yom Ha’atzmaut BBQ for the brave soldiers of the IDF. This annual partnership was able to produce 4000 hot dogs on 13 bases, with 1500 soldiers and 400 volunteers. The volunteers are mainly new immigrants from English-speaking countries who find this to be the most meaningful way to celebrate this special day.
Focusing on one of the bases, we found ourselves on the Har Gilo base, a ten-minute drive south of Yerushalayim. The soldiers on this base are responsible for the security at the southern entrance to Yerushalayim and operate 24 /7/365.
The soldiers on this base (as on every base we visited) expected their Yom Ha’atzmaut to be a bit of a downer. While their friends headed for family BBQs, hikes in national parks or relaxing on the beach, they had to remain on active duty. So when our group (mainly residents of the Gush Etzion yishuv, Neve Daniel) arrived at the base the soldiers greeted us with joy and amazement. No sooner had we introduced ourselves than the grills begin to sizzle. As sausages, hamburgers and chicken were grilled and salads were cut up, the soldiers played games and sports with the children. Two musicians accompanied us as we ate. The soldiers’ Yom Ha’atzmaut was turned into a fun day after all.
Just as we thought the party was coming to the end the base commander announced that it was time for a change in shift. Our soldiers were going out on patrols, to man checkpoints and perform other duties, and a new group of soldiers would be returning to base. So we started all over again and had round two!
Dr. Rachel Levmore, Director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project presented a 3 hour seminar for law students at Bar Ilan University at the Rackman Center's Family Law Clinic on April 20th, 2015.
The Seminar included an academic analysis of the legal and halakhic facets in Israel which lead to the problem of get-refusal.
Following the analysis, the Agreement for Mutual Respect was presented and analyzed, demonstrating how the agreement resolved the problematic situation. The law students were trained to use this prenuptial agreement for the prevention of get-refusal in a professional capacity. The students received answers to their probing questions and internalized the material.
Yom Ha'atzmaut - Israel Independence Day - is a national holiday in Israel. It has become an annual ritual that hordes head to the country's national parks, beaches and any empty lots to have Bar-B-Qs with friends and/or family. However combat soldiers on active duty must continue defending the country, protecting citizens and carrying out security missions. Why should they miss out?
$25 is all it takes to put a smile :) on a brave soldier's face!
Deaf in Ashdod & Ashkelon Learn About Pesach & its Relevance to their Lives
Five days before the arrival of the holiday of Pesach, IYIM sent a member of its Judaic Heritage for the Deaf Program to the Deaf Community Center in Ashkelon to enlighten its members of the laws and customs of the upcoming holiday.
All participated in a "model seder" in which the various seder symbols were demonstrated and explained including the Seder Plate, the 4 Cups of Wine and the Matzot.
The evening was concluded with a beautiful story explaining how G-d watches over the people always, and especially on Seder night – a story so relevant to those living in Ashkelon who witnessed G-d's care during this past summer's war.
And of course, all enjoyed tasting the wonderful pesach foods, courtesy of IYIM.
Two days before the beginning of the Passover holiday, Rabbi Yeres from IYIM came to the Ashdod Deaf Community Center to speak about the holiday, its symbols, practices and laws. The participants received him enthusiastically and turned the table of the meeting room into a veritable Pesach feast with matzot, wine, charoset, eggs, Passover cakes and bitter herbs.
Rabbi Yeres demonstrated how one sits reclining "like a free man" and explained the essence of the Seder meal – to "tell the story of the Jewish people leaving the slavery of Egypt to be free in the land of Israel with G-d's Torah".
The Seder table is full of symbols of both freedom and slavery because the Jewish people were freed at the strike of midnight – half the night being in slavery and half the night being free. All the explanations were in sign language led by the Group Coordinator – Dvori.
The members wished each other and Rabbi Yeres a happy and quiet Pesach in contrast to the war they experienced this past summer.
When the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren (formerly of New York and now Jerusalem) of Rose Wolf decided to honor her life of survival, dedication to Jewish values, selflessness and commitment to Torah and Zionism, they could think of no greater celebration than to dedicate a Sefer Torah to the IDF.
On March 15th, 2015, Rose together with her two daughters, her son, who flew in from New York, children and 16 great grandchildren, gathered with friends and 25 students from the Ashreinu Yeshiva in Bet Shemesh at the Beit Guvrin IDF training base.
There they were met by base commander Colonel N, Rav Lt. Colonel D (Rabbi of the Central command), a number of other generals and soldiers from the Intelligence, Golani, Search & Rescue, Paratroopers and other assorted units.
The joyful procession was proceeded by a small ceremony in Commander N’s office where family members placed a new cover on the Torah which read: “Dedicated in honor of Rose Wolf – a lover of the Land of Israel, the People of Israel and the Torah of Israel”.
The procession accompanied by loud joyful music made its way under a chuppah around the base. The Torah exchanged hands between commanders, soldiers, family members, yeshiva students and guest. The procession ended at the base synagogue where the Torah was placed in the ark.
At the reception, Audrey Samuels, daughter of Rose spoke about her mother's lifelong contributions and praised the soldiers. Ceec Harrishburg, President - IYIM, made a presentation to Rose and then Commander N thanked her and explained how hundreds of soldiers every year pass through the training base and would now have a Torah to use on Mondays, Thursdays, Shabbat and other special occasions.
The event finished with both soldiers and family members thanking each other in the spirit of Am Yisrael Chai.
To watch highlights of this special event click here
For several years – thanks to IYIM's help – 20 Deaf men meet every Tuesday night in the Chatam Synagogue in Rehovot to engage in advanced Judaic learning: Jewish law and customs, the Torah weekly portion and commentaries and Talmudic topics.
This year, immediately after the holiday of Purim, each of the individual Deaf participants read Parshat Zachor (portion of remembrance) from the Torah – a biblical commandment. This is because they are unable to hear the chazan read it in synagogue on Shabbat.
The members of the Synagogue, led by their Rabbi- Rabbi David Stein – happily participated in this milestone event – Deaf men reading from the Torah for themselves and thereby keeping a very important mitzvah.
Purim Party at the Petach Tikva Deaf Community Center
A week before the Purim holiday, IYIM sent Rabbi Yeres to explain the underlying Judaic- philosophical background to the holiday. The hall was adorned with purim decorations and all the participants came in Purim costumes. There was even a magician to add to the festivities!
Rabbi Yeres kept the attendees enthralled by the stories and the explanations of the holiday while involving their children in the interactive lecture.
May we only increase our happiness from day to day!
Purim Party at the Senior Citizen Deaf Club in Tel Aviv
Before Purim, the Coordinator of the Senior Citizen Deaf Club in Tel Aviv requested that IYIM send a lecturer to speak to the elderly about Purim.
IYIM rose to the challenge and its lecturer was so interesting that the participants wanted more and more! He gave a dynamic lecture which was interspersed with stories to keep their interest.
The IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project together with the IYIM Beineinu Project collaborated on an Agunah Day Event held in Jerusalem on March 22nd, 2015.
It was an extraordinary event featuring a young former agunah, Leah, who was interviewed by Beineinu's Director Micki Lavin-Pell with comments and clarifications by Dr. Rachel Levmore, Director of the Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project.
Leah told the story of what seemed to be a regular marriage and how her former husband turned from a "great" guy into a get-refuser due to the circumstances of needing his agreement to go to a Beth Din to arrange for a get.
The emotional journey was described, exploring the interrelationship between those emotions and Jewish divorce law. In conclusion it was agreed that every couple should sign a prenuptial agreement—The Agreement for Mutual Respect—which keeps good people good, preventing get-refusal.
Purim Party for Deaf Children at Beit Zussman, Jerusalem
On Purim evening, Beit Zussman (center for the hearing impaired in Jerusalem) was filled from wall to wall with parents and children who came to celebrate Purim in a party organized by Bekol (organization of hard of hearing people in Israel) and sponsored by the Jerusalem Municipality and IYIM. Over 130 people attended. Children's activities took place throughout the evening led by a wonderful clown and most of the children chose to take part in the activities connected to the reading of the Megillah. The children sang and danced with the clowns, took part in fun competitions and watched a magic show. The eyes of the children remained wide and attentive as their faces were covered in smiles. Every child was given a small Purim present (mask, grogger, crown etc.)
The actual Megillah reading simultaneously translated into sign language took close to an hour. After the reading, there was a Purim quiz with prizes awarded to the adults and children, the children surprised everyone with their knowledge. The evening ended, as it did last year, with a performance by the belly dancing chug of Beit Zussman.
The whole event was very meaningful. Both the events took place in the hall (Megillah reading, Quiz) and everything was translated into sign language. At the same time there were children’s activities taking place outside the hall with clowns being translated into sign language.
The “Aroma” chain sent different flavored hamantaschen and Atals catering sent mousse cake, pies and chocolates.
On the 13th of March, 2015, Beineinu hosted a Friday night games night/ oneg at Kehilat Eretz Chemda in Katamon, Jerusalem. The Oneg was sponsored by Avi Ebenstein in memory of his late grandmother Ruth z"l.
The location was only disclosed to the 80 people who replied in order to create an exclusive feel. A beautiful array of desserts, wine and beer was offered.
A wonderful energy was created as attendees played games such as Settlers of Catan, Taboo, etc...
Some Gush Katif families never recovered from dislocation and unemployment and live in poverty.
IYIM in close partnership with the Gush Katif Residents Committee, American Friends of Yisrael Hatzair and Young Israel of Bnei Dekalim (formerly Neve Dekalim) are aiming to reach as many needy families as possible.
We will be supplying shmura matzot for the week of Pesach. Our aim is to reach as many needy ex-Gush Katif families as possible.
To partner and sponsor a family costs $54. We have already received funding for 170 families, please help us reach our target of 262.
8,000 Mishloach Manot delivered to the IDF 575 Food Parcels to the poor of Sderot 220 Person to Person Mishloach Manot
Thank You to all those kind friends around the world that allowed us to reach these astounding numbers. Thank you to Meir Mishkoff (New York), Ceec Harrishburg, Daniel M. Meyer and Shelley Vogel (Jerusalem)
575 families in Sderot benefited from our annual Matanot Le'evyonim campaign via the Young Israel of Sderot - Doresh Tov community.
In close partnership with Rubin Margules (New York) & Jeff Daube (Jerusalem) of the ZOA, Solly Sacks and Daniel Cohen of the World Mizrachi Movement and Leon Blankrot of Yashar LaChayal we were able to pack & deliver 8,000 packages to the following IDF Units:
Nebi Mousa (megillah reading and concert for 800 paratroopers on Purim night), Kiryat Arba (concert and dinner for 600 soldiers), units on the Syrian and Lebanese border including Mount Hermon, Karkal, Oketz (Dog squad), Tzanchanim 890, Tznachanim 202, Pikud Haoref, Maale Efraim, Lamed Hey, Ducheifat, Shirion (Tanks) 52, Yishai, Aryeh, Hebron, Pinat Cham Gush Etzion and more.
The International Young Israel Movement together with "Beit Hillel" held an extraordinary event marking International Agunah Day in Raanana on Tuesday, February 24th. It was extraordinary due to the openness of the speakers, both intellectual openness and openness of heart and due to their high level of expertise. It was also extraordinary due to the new and valuable insights that were given into both halakhah and its implementation within the Israeli Rabbinical Courts.
Speakers included: HaRav Ronen Neuwirth - Panel chair; Attorney Rav Tzuriel Boublil; The Honorable Dayan HaRav Yair Ben Menachem; Dr. Avishalom Westreich; and Dr. Rachel Levmore, DirectorAgunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project of IYIM and the Jewish Agency. The entire panel discussion was live-streamed on the religious-zionist "kipah" website and will be posted on YouTube. Please see (in Hebrew):
Trees, Cakes & Bushes – The Deaf in Netanya Celebrate Tu B’Shvat
The Jewish Heritage Program for the Deaf & Hearing Impaired was blessed with 70 deaf people attending their Tu B’Shvat (New Year for the trees) gathering in Netanya.
Rabbi Chanoch Yeres, Director of the Program, gave a class about the roots and sources of Tu B’shvat and the connection with the land of Israel. In addition, a contest was conducted amongst the people to create a special homage to Tu B’Shvat. Some of the presentations created by the deaf were a tree, a cake with the seven species of fruit of the Land of Israel and an almond bush. All the participants had a good time and had a chance to celebrate Tu B’Shvat in a meaningful & memorable way.
Dr. Rachel Levmore - "Is 'Gett' a Realistic Portrayal of Israeli Divorce?"
The widely read American newspaper, The Forward, published a film review authored by Dr. Rachel Levmore, Director of the IYIM Agunah Prevention Project. In the article "Is 'Gett' a Realistic Portrayal of Israeli Divorce?", the film "Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem" is related to from the perspective of a rabbinical court advocate who has helped countless agunot receive their get within the rabbinic system in Israel and the Diaspora. See http://blogs.forward.com/sisterhood-blog/214492/is-gett-a-realistic-portrayal-of-israeli-divorce/
Dr. Rachel Levmore Trains Teachers on: "Get-Refusal: Understanding the Problem, its Solutions and its Prevention"
On Tuesday, February 24th, the first lecture of a series was delivered to the Women's Beit Midrash of Efrat by the director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, Dr. Rachel Levmore.
The lecture entitled "GET-Refusal: Understanding the Problem, its Solutions and its Prevention" was delivered to a public which included tens of "Kallah Course" teachers, who are being trained specifically by this project to present the Prenuptial Agreement for Mutual Respect to all marrying couples whom they teach.
The second lecture of the series was delivered in March, marking International Agunah Day. In this event, the subject of presenting the Agreement of Mutual Respect at the height of romance was presented, together with a workshop training the Kallah Course teachers to put their training to work.
Presentation at Hebrew University: "Romance vs. Prenuptial Agreements: The Agreement for Mutual Respect"
The IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project made a two hour presentation to students at the Hebrew University at an event organized by the student group of Neemanei Torah Va'avodah.
The title "Romance vs. Prenuptial Agreements: The Agreement for Mutual Respect. Everything you wanted to know about Get-Refusal, Prenuptial Agreements and why one is needed when there is a ketubbah" did indeed describe the frank discussion which took place with very active participation by the students. They were all encouraged to join this project's facebook groups in order to spread the message amongst their friends. The students expressed their gratitude sincerely to the speaker, Dr. Rachel Levmore, as this is a subject they were aware of and knew that they needed to study.
On Monday, February 23rd, 2015, a group of members & friends of IYIM-Israel took part in the trip: “Modern & Ancient Heroes in Gush Etzion” organized by the International Young Israel Movement – Israel Region in conjunction with Israel Maven Tours and led by tour guide, Ami Braun.
The first stop was a visit to Herodian – the impressive man-made mountain fortress built by Herod the Great. The group watched a film showing a lively reconstruction of its history. Ami also brought the archeological site to life by sharing its history and stories and showing the rooms, mikvaot (ritual baths) and underground tunnels.
Next stop was a visit to Givat Oz VeGaon established in memory of the three teenagers who were abducted and murdered in the summer, established in a forest not far from the place where they were abducted.
After lunch at the Gush Etzion Junction, they visited the Pina Chama (warm corner – a place of respite for soldiers on the way to their bases) and met & showed support for IDF soldiers. The group then went for a walk along the Path of the Patriarchs (Derech HaAvot). This was the road that our forefathers walked on when travelling between Hebron and Jerusalem.
The Lone Tree (near Alon Shvut) in the heart of the Gush Etzion area was the next stop. Ami explained the history & events that took place there in 1948 and 1967. Alon Shvut was constructed next to the oak, which is considered a symbol of renewal and continuity.
The day ended with a Panaromic view from Mizpe HaElef in Neve Daniel.
To be informed of future trips, please email: email@example.com.
On the 14th of February, 2015, Beineinu held an event exploring the history of romance through film. Micki Lavin-Pell, Beineinu's Director reviewed 10 films that spanned from the 1940s until today. Clips from films such as Casablanca, An Affair to Remember, Some Like it Hot, and the Notebook and About Time were shown.
Micki showed clips that depicted different aspects of relationships that brought the couple together and tore the couple apart.
She also explored various patterns that Hollywood uses to build up the romance and compared and contrasted the films' version of relationship building to what happens in reality.
She also looked at how Hollywood has shaped our notion of relationships throughout the last century and discussed the pros and cons.
Micki received wonderful feedback on the event. People felt that they learned a lot about the way Hollywood has manipulated their minds when it comes to their ideas and notions about creating successful and sustainable relationships.
More than 30 men and women attended this event. Each said they would be happy to go to this type of event in the future. They had an opportunity to meet at the end while munching on refreshments.
To find out more about Beineinu's events, check out our website: http://www.iyim.org.il/singles/
In January, Dr. Rachel Levmore, Director of the IYIM Project for the Prevention of Agunaot and Get-Refusal, lectured in the second of a two-part series in the Adult Education Program of Gush Etzion, "Katedra". Entitled "HALAKHIC DIVORCE, PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS & ROMANCE IN THE POST-MODERN WORLD", participants received training for the presentation of prenuptial agreements for the prevention of get-refusal to marrying couples.
On Erev Chanukah, Tuesday, December 16th, 2014 the Pell family of London and Jerusalem donated a Torah to the Givati Infantry Training Base close to the Egyptian border in loving memory of their father David z"l.
The family group was greeted on their arrival by Rabbi T. - Rabbi of the Givati Brigade. The family distributed 200 doughnuts to the new recruits and spoke to and connected with them.
The Torah was then dressed with a special cover recognizing the donation. Then began a joyous procession with hundreds of soldiers, both male and female, dancing along the streets of the base. The Torah was passed from family member to soldier, from soldier to commander, from commander to family member as the base was circled.
At the entrance to the base synagogue various family members and soldiers were honored with reading pasukim (verses) as the Torah made its way to its new home in the base Aron Hakodesh (Holy ark). Gaby Pell, son of David z"l, spoke to the visitors and the soldiers about his father and that it was meaningful to the family to perpetuate his memory in this way. The family members received certificates of thanks from both the IDF and IYIM.
The request for the Torah had come from the Givati Brigade as they needed a Torah to take out with them when they go out on training maneuvers.
Micki Lavin Pell (daughter in law) of David Z"L: "Dear Daniel, I can't thank you enough for such a wonderful Hachnasat Sefer Torah...we were all so thrilled by it. Very moving."
To view the highlights of this special, please click here.
46 Deaf Children Celebrate their Special Day in a Unique Way
They came from Beersheva in the South through to Haifa in the North to celebrate their Bar and Bat Mitzvot and to commit themselves to their people and heritage. That which made this celebration so unique was that each celebrant was born deaf. Today they still have major hearing and educational impediments.
The event at the Young Israel of North Netanya (YINN) was organized by the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) in close partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel and the National Deaf Association. The celebrants and their parents were addressed by Dr. Avital Laufer (Deputy Mayor, Netanya), Rabbi Natan Morowitz (Rabbi Emeritus, YINN) and Rabbi Chanoch Yeres (Director, Deaf Programming, IYIM).
After receiving gifts (tallitot, Shabbat candlesticks & watches) presented by Mr. & Mrs. Gordon Weinberg (Chairman, YINN), the boys were called to read from the Torah and the girls were called up on the Bimah to recite the Shema. This was followed by dancing and a seudat mitzvah (celebratory meal) held in the Synagogue Hall. The large group then continued on to Beit Hatfusot – the Museum of the Jewish people – where they learnt about Jewish history and strengthening Jewish identity.
“Seeing the amount of emotion and tears in the synagogue underscored how importance this event is for the children and parents. It was a day that many of the parents could not have believed would happen when these special children were born. For the children, it was an opportunity to experience an important Jewish milestone in the same way that their hearing peers and siblings do. “We wish them all a big Mazal Tov’” stated Daniel Meyer, Executive Director, IYIM.
On a chilly Motzei Shabbat (Saturday night), 17th January, 2015, more than 60 people joined Beineinu as they held a Casino night fundraiser for the Sderot Teen Cafe for 25-35 year olds at the Nitzanim Synagogue in Baka, Jerusalem. All the usual casino games were featured: Roulette, Craps, Poker, Black Jack…chocolate coins were used instead of chips.
Jazz music filled the room and was decorated with Kings, Queens and Aces…enveloping everyone into the casino spirit. Elie Poch from the Jerusalem Wine Club served a range of high end wine and Deena Buckman catered the event with beautiful finger food.
The casino lent itself as a great space to meet new people as each game was very dynamic and interactive. Even if people knew each other before, this atmosphere enabled people to see and be seen in a new light…learning about different aspects of their personalities and watching as people thrived on the competition.
Ten people graciously volunteered their time by helping to run games, man the door, and made sure everyone was having a fantastic time.
Beineinu hopes to run this event again in the very near future in Tel Aviv. Stay tuned for more details, or email Aryeh at Beineinu3@gmail.com to be sure you don’t miss out!
Dr. Rachel Levmore Lectures to British Women's Fact Finding Mission to Israel
On January 19th, 2015, the Director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, Dr. Rachel Levmore, lectured to a British women's group – Yachad UK—who came on a fact finding mission to Israel.
She described the IYIM project, explained the legal reality in Israel regarding personal status and most importantly she demonstrated how this project impacts the lives of Jewish women in Britain. The British women learned about the agunah problem in their own country and how this Israeli project resolves cases of British agunot and has developed an "Agreement for Mutual Respect for use in England" to prevent get-refusal.
Dr. Rachel Levmore Speaks at the Talmud Progam at Hadarim High School in Hod Hasharon
The IYIM Project for the Prevention of Agunot and Get-Refusal has had an effect on secular youth in a meaningful manner. In January 2015, the leading teacher of the Talmud Program at the Hod HaSharon secular Hadarim High School invited the project's Director, Dr. Rachel Levmore to deliver a seminar to the eleventh graders studying for the 5 unit Matriculation exam in Talmud.
For an hour and 45 minutes, over fifty students studied the sources of divorce law in the Talmud, learned how it is applied today, explored their own thoughts about Jewish divorce and understood the efficacy of prenuptial agreement for the prevention of get-refusal. These students are now trained to be emissaries within their own society of young secular Israelis.
Dr. Rachel Levmore Lectures on "Halakhic Divorce, Prenuptial Agreements & Romance in the Post-Modern World"
In late December, Dr. Rachel Levmore, Director of the IYIM Project for the Prevention of Agunot and Get-Refusal, lectured in the first of a two-part series in the Adult Education Program of Gush Etzion, "Katedra". Entitled "HALAKHIC DIVORCE, PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS & ROMANCE IN THE POST-MODERN WORLD", participants received a deep understanding of the pitfalls of divorce in Israel and the need for the signing of prenuptial agreements for the prevention of get-refusal.
Dr. Rachel Levmore interviewed on Kol B’ramah Israel Radio
An exceptional interview was conducted with Dr. Rachel Levmore, Director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, on the ultra-Orthodox radio station, Kol B'ramah on November 30th, 2014. It was exceptional since this radio station, under normal circumstances, does not broadcast women's voices. However, the station chose to interview Dr. Levmore as a member of the Commission for the Appointment of Rabbinical Court Judges as the date of a crucial session of the commission approaches.
When David and Chani Levin of Raanana, Israel, were thinking of the most meaningful way to celebrate their son Lavi’s bar mitzvah it didn't take them too long!
On Thursday, November 27th, Lavi began his special day and entry into Jewish manhood at the Kotel Hama’aravi (Western Wall) surrounded by his parents, siblings, family from America, family friends from Israel and 40 classmates from his yeshiva. The heavy Jerusalem rain subsided for long enough for the participants to walk from the bus to the tunnel cave under the Kotel. However this was more than a usual Kotel bar mitzvah – Lavi was reading from a Sefer Torah that had been brought from New York to Israel and later that day would be donated by his family to the IDF.
When proceedings were finished at the Kotel and family photos had been taken, the group moved to the Maccabim Base of the Border Police Unit near the city of Modiin. A joyous procession began accompanied by music and lively dancing with Lavi and “his” Torah in the center, as both family members, guests and soldiers took turns in dancing with Lavi and the Torah. The procession arrived at the synagogue on the base where it was placed in the Aron Hakodesh (Holy Ark).
This was followed by a celebratory lunch and a display by the Border Police anti-terrorist unit.
The guests were then addressed by a number of representatives of the Borer Police, Lavi, David Levin (father) and by his aunt, Ora Kornbluth who had flown in from New Jersey and spoke about her late mother in whose memory the Torah was donated.
This special day was organized by the “Torah 4 IDF” Project run by the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) – Israel Region. For further information contact: Daniel M. Meyer, Executive Director, International Young Israel Movement (IYIM)- Israel Region. Phone: 972-2-650-5924/email:firstname.lastname@example.org
To watch highlights from this special event, click here.
Dr. Rachel Levmore Lectures at the International Conference “The Jewish Community Confronts Violence and Abuse”
In the month of December, Dr. Rachel Levmore, Director of the IYIM Project for the Prevention of Agunot and Get-Refusal, was a presenter at an international conference held in Jerusalem: “The Jewish Community Confronts Violence and Abuse”. Attracting mental health professional and family experts in dealing with abuse in the Jewish family, organized by Tahel, Crisis Center for Religious Women and Children, the conference was abuzz with new ideas, deep discussion and cooperative ties. Our IYIM representative presented an inspirational lecture entitled: “Prenuptial Agreements for the Prevention of Get-Refusal: Neutralizing the Ultimate Weapon in Domestic Violence”.
First Lieutenant (Reserve, US Army) Dan Nadel, a 94-year-old resident of Jerusalem and a five-time decorated hero of World War II who led troops in the Battle of the Bulge and in freeing France from the Nazis, was honored by family and friends at the Yishai Base outside Jerusalem on Sunday, November 16th, 2014.
The International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) selected Dan for this honor as a mark of his heroic bravery and on the occasion of his birthday. Dan was a Commander in the US Combat Engineers, so it was deemed appropriate that this Torah be donated to the IDF Combat Engineers who fought so bravely this summer in Gaza, leading the detection and destruction of the terrorist tunnels.
The joyous ceremony began with speeches from General B (commander of the Combat Engineers), Rabbi Yuval (Rabbi of the Central Command) and Dan himself. This was followed by a procession with the Torah changing hands amongst Dan's friends, soldiers and commanders, with musical accompaniment by the IDF Rabbinical choir. The procession ended at the Base Synagogue.
"We are very humbled to be able to honor such a great hero and such a great man." (Ceec Harrishburg, President, IYIM.)
"We are always glad to contribute another Sefer Torah to the IDF. As the army Rabbi stated: Next time this unit will enter Gaza not only with tractors and other equipment but with their own Torah as well." (Daniel Meyer, Executive Director, IYIM).
To watch the short highlights of the event, please click here
The major Israeli newspaper – Haaretz – published an article "Rabbinical judges to watch screening of Gett - a popular Israeli movie that indicts them" in which Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of the IYIM Agunah Prevention Project, was interviewed.
Thousands of Bar Ilan Alumni Learn Valuable Information about Pre-Nuptial Agreements
Tens of thousands of Bar Ilan University alumni received the gala inaugural edition of the online Alumni magazine in Hebrew via email. Featured in the magazine is a thoughtful and thorough description of the IYIM Prenuptial Agreement project under the direction of Dr. Rachel Levmore, highlighting the "Agreement for Mutual Respect". http://www.dmag.co.il/pub/biu/bs01/index.html#16/z
On Friday October 31st, 2014, 180 Deaf people from around Israel travelled to the Helen Keller Center in Tel Aviv, for a special Shabbat with Rabbi Yehoshua Soudakoff, Founder and Executive Director of The Jewish Deaf Foundation in New York (who is also Deaf). The Shabbat was organized as part of the Shabbat Unity Project, the aim of which was for the entire Jewish world to keep one complete Shabbat together.
There was a really unique atmosphere as 180 Deaf people sat together to eat Friday night dinner at the long tables laden with delicious Shabbat food.
The evening began with Rabbi Yehoshua Soudakoff leading an explanatory evening service (Maariv) with the Deaf participants in sign language and answering their questions.
25 Shabbat observant participants, stayed overnight at the Center.
On Shabbat morning, they went to pray the morning service (Shacharit) in the synagogue nearby, and then returned to the Center for a hot delicious lunch which included cholent, discussions on Torah topics and more. The day continued with the afternoon service (Mincha), Seudah Shlishit (Third Meal) and Havdalah.
The participants commented on how much they enjoyed the event and how well organized it was. They spoke of the special atmosphere and unique mix of people which included Deaf families and children and hearing people, all sitting around the same table.
IYIM and the National Deaf Association hope to organize these meals on a monthly basis at different locations throughout Israel. If you would like to partner in this endeavor, please contact us at: email@example.com
Create a Healthy Relationship Before You Meet the One!!!
Two projects of the International Young Israel Movement – Israel Region and the Jewish Agency, Beineinu (Singles Project) and the Agunot Prevention Project collaborated on a first-rate event on Thursday night, October 23rd, 2014. Entitled "Create a Healthy Relationship Before You Meet the One!", the two speakers provided actual practical tools for single men and woman to prepare the foundation for a healthy and trusting relationship.
Agunot Prevention Project Director, Dr. Rachel Levmore, spoke about the need for marrying couples to recognize that by signing the Agreement for Mutual Respect for the prevention of get-refusal on the part of either spouse, the couples are laying a foundation of trust in their particular relationship and participating in Tikkun Olam of Jewish society around the world.
Beineinu director, Micki Lavin-Pell, spoke about "Investing in your relationship before you choose a partner". Over 50% of the participants were men—an unusual success for events of this type. The audience expressed its appreciation for the manner in which these delicate issues were discussed and questions answered.
To view a recording of the event, please click here
The English radio internet station Voice of Israel featured the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project and the upcoming singles event "Create a Healthy Relationship" (a joint project together with Beineinu of IYIM to be held in Matan, Jerusalem, on Thursday October 23rd at 7pm) through the conducting of an in-depth interview with Project Director Dr. Rachel Levmore.
The interviewer in the program "The Big Falafel", Molly Livingstone, and Dr. Levmore discussed the Prenuptial Agreement for Mutual Respect, romance, divorce, agunot, future children for a young couple and Jewish law in a fascinating discussion. The show was aired twice in October.
While the month of Elul is a busy time for Jews worldwide as they prepare themselves spiritually and physically for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot it is an even busier time for Rabbi Chanoch Yeres, Director of the IYIM Jewish Heritage for the Deaf Project and his brother Alex. They spend Elul & Tishrei visiting the sixteen deaf club houses from Beersheva in the South to Haifa in the North and from Jerusalem to Netanya on the sea and many places in between.
Using their knowledge of sign language, the Yeres brothers, with help from club house directors, teach the lessons of Tishrei to the many members of the Deaf clubhouses. Thankfully, many aspects of the festivals are visual (e.g. shofar, apple and honey, simanim, lulav & etrog) and this greatly enhances the educational experience.
IYIM is proud that it is able to bring traditional Jewish education to a population that has a great thirst for these lessons and fill a void that exists in Israeli society.
The pictures were taken in the Deaf Clubhouses in Ashdod and Petach Tikva.
During the summer of 2014, the Nahal Brigade found itself fighting bravely in Gaza alongside other infantry units. Yet an army does not stay static but moves forward. At all times new recruits are being trained for future missions.
The Leo V. Berger Fund, led by its President, Harvey Schwartz, decided that a significant way of acknowledging the bravery of the Nahal fighters was to donate a Sefer Torah to the Nahal training base near Arad, so soon after the ending of hostilities. The Berger Fund chose to make this special contribution through the IDF Torah Project of the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) – Israel, which has so far provided over 200 Torah scrolls to military bases throughout Israel.
On Wednesday, 1st October 2014, IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz, together with the commander of the Nahal Brigade, the base commander, the Rabbi of Nahal, the base Rabbi and other military dignitaries, joined together in a joyous ceremony that took place at the base. New recruits from three different branches of the Nahal Brigade took turns carrying the new Torah in a lively procession around the base that concluded with the Torah being placed in its new home – the ark of the base synagogue.
Both Rabbi Peretz and Commander T emphasized how important it was that this event was taking place during the Ten Days of Repentance. Lt. Rabbi Benjy Levy, another speaker, focused on the outpouring of love and unity witnessed during the 55 days of war this summer.
Certificates of appreciation were awarded to Harvey Schwartz (President, Leo. V. Berger Fund), Ceec Harrishburg (President, IYIM), and Daniel Meyer (Executive Director, IYIM).
The Torah to the IDF was the fourth donated to the IDF as part of the Leo V. Berger Challenge Grant: For every two Torah scrolls donated to the IDF by the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM), the Berger Fund donates a third.
On Wednesday, September 17th, 2014, IYIM were proud to host the Chanukat Habayit of their new offices on Hillel Street in downtown Jerusalem. It had been postponed from the summer because so many of the guests (as well as IYIM) were involved in helping the soldiers and the residents of the Southern communities during “Operation Protective Edge”.
IYIM decided to combine it with a l'chaim, to welcome in the New Year.
During the afternoon, Daniel Meyer, Executive Director of IYIM, addressed the crowd and gave an update as to all the activities that IYIM had been involved in over the summer, especially the “Trips for Teens Under Rocket Fire” Project that saw hundreds of teens from Sderot & deaf children being taken out for fun day trips away from the fear of sirens. Following him, Ceec Harrishburg, President of IYIM, spoke and finally, Henry Lazarus from the Beit Knesset Hanassi in Rechavia.
Everyone raised a glass to toast the newyear and enjoyed the delicious refreshements on offer.
IYIM was proud to sponsor a night/dawn Selichot tour of Jerusalem for 27 students of the pre-army preparatory program, Midreshet Yonathan based on Kibbutz Alumim on the Gaza border.
The students were led on a guided walking tour throughout the night which started in Mishkanot Shaananim, where they sang songs and learned about the Baron Rothschild.
They then continued to the Ben Hinom Valley. From there, they went to King David's grave and just before the sun's first rays rose over the horizon, they entered one of the yeshivot in the Old City and prayed Selichot. They then continued on to the Kotel Ha'maravi (Western Wall) to pray Shacharit. The trip was very spiritual and meaningful.
On September 21st, 2014, the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project Project was showcased on an internet radio station located in Canada.
The popular show, called "The Zelda Show – the Global Jewish Connection on CHIN Radio", hosted the director of the project, Dr. Rachel Levmore, for 15 minutes! A lively conversation took place discussing the agunah problem in Israel and the Diaspora.
Count Down to Rosh Hashana..A Shabbaton to get 5775 Started Right!
On the Shabbat before Erev Rosh Hashana, September 19th, 2014, Beineinu (the Singles Division of IYIM) hosted a singles shabbaton in Neve Ilan, in the Jerusalem Hills. 60 attendees enjoyed an uplifting program put together by Micki Lavin-Pell, Director of Beineinu and Adam Mallerman, dynamic presenter.
Those who arrived early on Friday afternoon were able to take advantage of the many services provided by the hotel including a pool, sauna, and large grassy area filled with swings and hammocks that allowed them to enjoy the beautiful view. After services and a sumptuous buffet dinner, the group participated in ice-breakers, followed by an evening of games, fun and food into the night.
After an uplifting morning service and a delicious Shabbat breakfast, the participants chose between two lectures: one by Adam on the topic of Hishtadlut - making an effort, and the other by Micki on the topic of forgiveness.
After lunch and Shabbat rest, they got together for a talk by Adam, discussing Kedusha, and the idea that in Judaism we say "Be'ezrat Hashem" with G-d's help, meaning, when we put in the initial effort, Hashem helps us the rest of the way.
Shabbat was concluded with Havdala under the stars. Beineinu look forward to many more successful shabbatonim in the future.
How does one describe IYIM’s visit to Tel Hashomer-Sheba Hospital, in Ramat Gan, on Sunday, August 3rd, 2014?
How does one capture the emotions, the laughs and the tears, the hugs, stories and the feeling of humility when at the bedside of true heroes?
Young men who overcame fear and trepidation by focusing on their love of this country and realized at this moment of Jewish history, it was their turn to carry Am Israel on their shoulders.
Young men from the most elite of Israel's fighting units - the creme da le creme - who came from the North to the South, from across the socio-economic & political spectrum, in order to fight as one to defend the country, their country - our country.
Daniel Meyer, Executive Director of IYIM was very fortunate to be accompanied by Lisa Reich of Cedarhurst, NY. They visited in the framework of the ‘IYIM Gift Cards to Wounded Chayalim Campaign’ and the ‘IYIM Letters for Chayalim Campaign’ where hundreds of people from all four corners of the world have sent get well letters sent to soldiers.
They were fortunate to be given a VIP tour by the Officers of Dover Tzahal (IDF Spokesman Unit).
Daniel & Lisa met 37 out of 50 soldiers (others were in treatments) and the parents of every soldier. Everyone had a personal and war story to share. They were truly humbled and inspired. They experienced the uneasiness of soldiers thanking them for the gift cards, but felt that they were the ones that wanted to thank the soldiers on behalf of Klal Yisrael.
IYIM have since received another 750 get well letters, so they will be visiting soldiers in the coming weeks.
Moshav Bnei Darom - More children from the South have a Fun Day Out
On Sunday August 10th, IYIM was able, once again, to put smiles on to the faces of children from southern communities who have spent the last month under rocket attacks.
This time it was the turn of nearly 100 children from Moshav Bnei Darom, south of Ashdod, to get some relaxation and a summer vacation at the Zikit Fun Park in Maale Adumim.
These children have spent most of the past month at home.
One mother explained to Daniel Meyer, Executive Director of IYIM, that every time a child left home to visit neighbors, they would work out where the nearest bomb shelter was, in case a siren went off. It took quite a while until they got to this stage of going out - at the start of the war they would stay in their own bomb shelter all day.
She explained that every child in the Moshav had reacted differently and a number of families have buckets in their shelters as their kids would vomit from anxiety.
Micki Lavin-Pell (Director of IYIM’s Beineinu Singles Program) and Daniel Meyer (Executive Director of IYIM) visited soldiers who were wounded in the recent battles in Gaza, in Haddasah Hospital (Jerusalem) and Soroka Hospital (Beersheva).
During the visit, they learnt a little about them on a personal level, the battles they fought and presented them with gift credit cards and get well letters from all over the world that IYIM have collected (800 so far).
These soldiers represent every sector of Israeli society on the socio-economic level, religious spectrum & location - the commonality between them is that they are members of elite fighting units, they love their country and their people.
IYIM are planning to go to Barzilai Hospital (Ashkelon) and Tel Hashomer Hospital (Ramat Gan) for their next visit.
IYIM together with the National Council of Young Israel undertook a fundraising campaign (which is still ongoing) to supply the brave combat soldiers of the IDF with essential items.
On Tuesday July 22nd, Daniel Meyer (Executive Director, IYIM) together with Leon Blankrot of Yashar L’Chayal went down to the South to meet with soldiers of the various units engaged in battle in order to make an assessment of the immediate needs of the various units and to supply them with underwear, socks and t-shirts. (unfortunately the ice cream truck was broken on that day – it has been distributing 500-1,000 ice creams a day to bring cool relief from the desert summer sun to the soldiers and is now back in action).
Even before Daniel and Leon left Jerusalem, they had a pre-arranged meeting with a soldier from the famed Iron Dome Unit and loaded his car with supplies. The soldier gave them some insight into the intensity of the 24/7 work of his unit and the few seconds they have to respond to enemy fire.
The first stop was in the rocket battered city of Sderot. Here, local shops that have been nearly empty for two weeks were approached to provide supplies for the soldiers. Ice creams in bulk were ordered for the next day. Borekas were bought to bring to units, to give the soldiers a little treat and a taste of home.
The first unit that was met in the field (note all fighting units are now not in bases but in tents in staging areas near the border) was a unit from the Nahal Infantry. Daniel and Leon met up with the soldiers who seemed to be in high spirits and the Chief Logistics Officer of the Nahal Brigade to determine their needs. These soldiers were most thankful for a fresh change of clothing. This encampment was 300 meters form the site of a tunnel opening, where the previous day, 4 soldiers had been killed when terrorists jumped out.
During the entire day of travel, the car phone kept ringing constantly with requests from units, worried girlfriends wanting to send supplies, parents of lone soldiers in America wanting to inquire about the welfare of their boys and from thankful soldiers who had received supplies. There was a phone call from the Commander of a unit to whom head flashlights had been provided and commented that they had enabled his unit to finish their essential work.
Due to the military situation, many areas down South are at present declared closed military zones. Therefore, many times during the day, in response to phone calls, Daniel & Leon distributed supplies to soldiers on highways and major intersections as they could not reach their bases. One of the soldiers thanked them and said that his unit was to enter Gaza three hours later for a twenty four hour period.
They were able to enter a closed military zone, where they visited the tent staging areas of the famed Golani Brigade. They visited Golani 13, who has suffered such great losses, spent time with soldiers from Golani 12, who they found in a field synagogue learning and visited Golani 51. Their day of going from unit to unit was rewarded when they found Hativa 7, where they were hoping to meet a soldier from New Jersey, whose parents had made a special request to deliver him a parcel. He was in Gaza but they were able to leave it for him, for when he came out for some respite.
As they made their way back to Jerusalem, they were relieved that it had been a relatively quiet day in terms of rockets falling. However the phone kept ringing with requests and they knew that tomorrow, more requests would come. Unfettered by rocket fire, members of our team will return to the South to show our appreciation (on your behalf) to our brave soldiers.
Many children and teens in Israel's Southern communities are
spending the start of summer vacation in fear, filled with the tension
of when the next Code Red siren will wail and where the next
rocket will fall.
The American Friends of Yisrael Hatzair and IYIM - Israel are
raising funds to sponsor as many buses as possible to give these
children a fun filled day of rest and respite away from the combat zone
in an amusement park or leisure attraction.
Where is Shefayim Water Park? A day in the life of a Deaf Child from Ashdod
The Southern communities of Israel have been battered intensely by rocket fire over the past three weeks. This outbreak coincided with the beginning of the summer school vacation. Children all over the South were cruelly deprived of summer camp, day trips and much anticipated fun. They had to stay very close to home because they knew that they had to run to the nearest bomb shelter when they heard the Red Code siren.
Meir Mishkoff, President of the American Friends of Israel Hatzair wanted to do something about this unbearable situation and contacted IYIM-Israel. In close partnership, it was decided to raise funds and arrange fun days out for groups of children and teens from these communities. Due to IYIM’s work with the teens in Sderot and the deaf children throughout Israel it was decided to begin with these groups but due to its success, it opened to children in other affected parts of the country.
On July 21st 2014, IYIM were fortunate to spend time at the Shefayim Water Park in Central Israel, with the group of deaf and hearing impaired children and teens, their siblings and deaf parents. These children have been living in constant fear for the past three weeks. The war is particularly stressful for the deaf who cannot hear the sirens and are reliant on vibrating beepers. At the water park, they were able to stretch out and forget the world and its worries for a short while. The biggest stress was deciding whether to go on the giant water slides, jump into the pool, to get wet by the fountains or to lie back in the sun on a couch. The smiles and happiness knew no bounds.
For the first group of teens from Sderot (where there is a 15 second warning of an incoming rocket), it was a once in a life time trip to the Golan. Many of these teens had been referred to the IYIM Teen Café's Directors by the Welfare Department of the city and had never been on such a trip. After a long bus ride from Sderot to the Golan Heights, the group enjoyed a day of kayaking and jeep riding. Lunch was eaten out in the “wilderness” as they did not want to lose any time.
Two weeks into the campaign, IYIM had brought four bus loads of children out of the South. Deaf groups from Ashdod and Beersheva have enjoyed the Shefayim Water Park, and two groups of teens from Sderot enjoyed Kayaking and jeep riding in the Golan. IYIM hosted deaf groups from Ashkelon and Kiryat Gat, as well groups from the Gaza border Kibbutzim of Alumim and Sa’ad.
The IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project has developed a new website in conjunction with Rebbetzin Layah Kranz Lipsker of Boston, MA which has just been launched: Get Your Getwww.getyourget.com. This site aims to inform Jewish women who are in the process of divorce about Jewish divorce in a sensitive manner.
Covering numerous fields such as: personal stories, Prenuptial Agreements, Bet Din Lists, Education, "Ask Advice", Rate a Bet Din as well as a discussion forum—the site is for women, by women and to help prevent women from becoming agunot.
The tremendous amount of thought, work and effort invested in this goal is obvious when viewing the Get Your Get website.
IYIM had invited many members, friends and people they work with to inaugurate their new office at 24 Hillel Sreet in the heart of Jerusalem.
With the outbreak of hostilities, many of the invitees were "drafted" into action to help with various efforts for our soldiers and the Southern Communities. The party was postponed but the Mezuzot were still affixed by Rabbi Chanoch Yeres, Director of our Judaic Heritage for the Deaf Program and his brother Rabbi Alex Yeres who is the Coordinator of the Program.
Erev Limmud – The Contemporary Relevance of Shmitta & Current Situation in Israel
On Sunday July 20th, 2014, IYIM & Torah MiTzion hosted an Erev Limmud on the Contemparary Relevance of Shmitta in Israel & the Diaspora. The event took place at the prestigious Jerusalem Great Synagague and was attended by over 200 people.
The program opened with an introduction by Mr Harvey Schwartz, President of the Leo V. Berger Fund.
The first speaker was Rabbi Dr. Moshe Pinchuk, Director of the Jewish Heritage Center, Netanya Academic College. The topic of his shiur was “Heter Mechira & Prozbul” – Adapting the Current Reality to the Requirements of Shmitta. He delivered an in-depth, text based analysis of the subject. He covered subjects such as; the sanctity of the land nowadays and whether the purchase of the land by a non-Jew can nullify its sanctity.
The second speaker for the evening was was Rabbi Ari Berman, noted Speaker, Educator & Author. He delivered an inspiring, text based shiur about ‘The Subconscious Effects of the Sabbatical Year – A Halakhic Look at the Way Shmitta Shapes and Elevates Our Lives’. He also addressed the current situation in Israel and connected some of his ideas to it.
The evening ended with Maariv and tehillim for the brave Soldiers fighting in Gaza.
To view a recording of the talks:
Part 1, Rabbi Dr. Moshe Pinchuk – “Hetter Mechira" - Adapting the Current Reality to the Requirements of Shmitta, click here
Part 2, Rabbi Ari Berman - The Subconscious Effects of the Sabbatical Year: A Halakhic Look at the Way Shmitta Shapes and Elevates Our Lives, click here
Dr. Rachel Levmore, Director of IYIM's Agunah & Get-Refusal Prevention Project lectured to a graduate program of New York University in Israel on June 20th, 2014. The lecture was entitled "Chained Woman Syndrome: Divorce, Power, and Feminism in Traditional Contemporary Judaism". The presentation was made to an elite group of graduate students from the Social Sciences Programs of the prestigious university.
For the second consecutive year, IYIM and the community of Sderot would like to thank the Emunah women of Jerusalem led by Mrs. Marlene Warner. On May 29th, 2014, the Emunah ladies held their very large bring and buy sale. Thankfully it was successful but all toys, books, music, clothes, linens and more that were not sold were kindly passed on to the IYIM Sderot teen Café and our affiliated Sderot Chesed Center. The items will be used by our teens or will be sold in the second hand store in the Chesed center. Thank you Marlene – Thank you Emunah.
As the first yahrzeit of Yehudit Bobker z”l (Yehudit passed away at the age of 95.5 in Sydney, Australia) approaches, her legacy lives on. Yehudit knitted hundreds of scarves and hats for the brave soldiers of the IDF over the last decade. When Yehudit passed away, there were still boxes of knitted gear. The boxes were transported to Israel and on a recent visit to Israel, her daughter and son-in-law, Hannah and Pierre Meyer proudly presented them to many soldiers who were glad to hear the story of the scarves and wrap them around their necks. Yehi Zichra Baruch.
On Tuesday, May 27th, 2014, members and friends of IYIM-Israel gathered outside the Berman Bakery on Rechov Agripas in Central Jerusalem for the trip entitled: ‘Shavuot in the Shuk - a complete sensory experience – the sights, sounds and tastes of our beloved Machane Yehuda market!’ The trip was organized by the International Young Israel Movement – Israel Region and led by Debra Nussbaum Stepen.
The tour started with a short history of the market and the Berman Bakery which was the first commercial bakery in Israel, along with photos of the founders.
The group then made their way to Uzi-Eli Hezi, also known as the Etrog Man. He is noted for his use of Maimonidean and ancient remedies in his juices and cosmetics, particularly from the etrog. Everyone got a chance to taste some of his famous and delicious juices and to try his creams and sprays.
Next stop was a cheese and fish stall and a chance to taste cheeses and according to the vendor, the best schmaltz herring in town! This was followed by a visit to a spice stall and a chance for everyone to sample, smell and buy some of the tasty spice mixes.
As the group walked through the busy and colorful alleys, Debra pointed out other stalls to buy products, such as fish, fruit and vegetables, and ice cream!
The group was introduced to the Georgian and the Iraqui section of the shuk where along with the stalls and restaurants there, a large group of diverse retired men were playing backgammon and cards, relaxing under the sun.
The group ended the tour with shopping bags full of goodies and smiles on their faces!
Dr. Rachel Levmore, Director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, presented on the topic of "Models of Religion and State" in a panel discussion held for young rabbis and their wives being trained by Ohr Torah Institution's Amiel Program which trains rabbis and educators to serve in Diaspora communities.
A fascinating panel discussion was held on the Shabbat of May 17, 2014 at Ohr-Torah Stone Institutions in Efrat. The topics she brought up were of great interest to the participants, specifically in light of her experience as a member of the State Commission for the Appointment of Judges.
On Thursday evening, 15th of May, Rabbi Alex Yeres of IYIM, spoke to the members of the Deaf Clubhouse of Beer Sheva, Dimona, Ofakim, and Netivot about the importance of Lag B’omer in Jewish tradition. The pictures below show the participants listening to the explanation and the stories. Rabbi Yeres spoke in sign language to the assembled and involved the children of the members in interactive activity connected with Lag B’omer. The presentation was followed by refreshments courtesy of IYIM.
On the 15th of May 2014, Beineinu and Hineini joined together to create a fun and educational evening about miscommunication between men and women at an event entitled; "Realigning the Galaxy- Repairing Miscommunication Between Men and Women”.
The three featured speakers, offered enlightening insight from their professional perspectives. Professor Meni Koslowsky of the Psychology Department at Bar Ilan University, spoke about the psychological differences, Rabbi Eli Deutsch of Hineini spoke about the spiritual and mystical ones and Micki Lavin-Pell,Director of Beineinu, spoke about the practical ones as they appear in dating, engagement and marriage from a humorous, yet down to earth approach. Religious Affairs Reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jeremy Sharon, moderated the event.
After a short break for light refreshments, the participants broke off into smaller discussion groups, facilitated by community trail blazers and discussed situations where men and womens’ differences cause miscommunication. Sixty participants attended this event and it is available to watch on You Tube..
“Yom Ha’atzmaut: Why should Israeli Soldiers miss out?”
Yom Ha’atzmaut is celebrated in Israel as a national holiday. It has become an annual ritual to leave one’s house and find a spot in a national park, beach or empty lot, set up a barbeque lunch and eat as much meat as possible. One sees every color and stripe of Israeli citizen outdoors, young and old, new immigrant and veteran Israeli.
Ironically, the only people not partaking in this annual ritual are the epitome of what the day represents– the on duty soldiers of Tzahal. The Israeli army is one of the only national institutions that does not and cannot close on Yom Ha’atzmaut. For these soldiers, Yom Ha’atzmaut becomes a difficult day as they aware that their families, friends and neighbors are out celebrating without them.
This year, as in past years, the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) – Israel Region decided to try and bring some extra joy into the Yom Ha’atzmaut of some of these soldiers. With funds collected from members and friends worldwide, IYIM organized a Yom Ha’atzmaut barbeque for the soldiers of a unit of the Nahal brigade.
Together with an elementary school group from Cleveland, the bus travelled to a base on a highway near Rosh Ha’ayin. These combat soldiers protect local communities; as well as carry out patrols to ensure safety on the roads.
Upon arrival the group was treated to a display of the unit’s firearms and capabilities as the barbeque was cooking. Soldiers from the base addressed the participants and explained about life as a combat soldier in the IDF. After that, both the soldiers and “civilians” entered the dining room where they were addressed by the Base Commander, and then the eating began, amongst in depth discussions between the soldiers, students and other participants.
One of the highlights, which has become a phenomenon, is meeting the Lone Soldiers, those who made Aliyah from their home countries, leaving family and friends behind to serve in the IDF. They are found in nearly every unit and base, as we have seen on our variousvisits. On this base we met Sam from Connecticut.
As the last hamburger was eaten, the last kebab devoured and the last hot dog was eaten by a solider dressed in khaki green, it was time to say farewell. The usual buzz ensued with the soldiers thanking us for coming and helping make their Yom Ha’atzamut so joyful, and the group thanking them for all their amazing efforts as they serve proudly in the IDF.
Dr. Rachel Levmore Lectures to Law Students at Hebrew University
On Wednesday, April 2, 2014, Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project lectured to Law School students of Hebrew University in a Family Law Seminar. A full training session was provided to these future lawyers, equipping them with the knowledge and tools to provide future marrying couples with protection from get-refusal through the signing of the "Agreement for Mutual Respect" – Heskem L'kavod Hadadi. The hours-long seminar not only provided information for the students, they even put on their thinking-caps and came up with constructive suggestions on their own!
Yom Ha'atzmaut - Israel Independence Day - is a national holiday in Israel. It has become an annual ritual that hordes head to the country's national parks, beaches and any empty lots to have Bar-B-Qs with friends and/or family. However combat soldiers on active duty must continue defending the country, protecting citizens and carrying out security missions. Why should they miss out?
$25 is all it takes to put a smile :) on a brave soldier's face!
On Monday evening, 31st of March, 2014, Rabbi Alex Yeres of IYIM organized a model Pesach seder at the Deaf Clubhouse in Ashdod. The pictures below show the special Pesach foods offered to the participants. During the model seder, Rabbi Yeres explained the meaning of the various stages in the seder service. He also demonstrated leaning on the left side while drinking as a sign of freedom that we show on the seder night. Adding stories and explanations from Jewish sources, the evening enriched the participants greatly and enhanced their own Pesach experience.
The American Friends of Yisrael Hatzair under the leadership of Meir Mishkoff (NY) in partnership with IYIM- Israel were once again pleased to make their annual donation to assist the families of Bnei Dekalim.
Bnei Dekalim is a new community in the Lachish region (close to Kiryat Gat) where former residents of Gush Katif, mainly from Neve Dekalim, are building their new homes. We have assisted them while they were still living in Gush Katif, and have accompanied them on their struggles and it is our pleasure to write that after nearly 9 long years, the first twenty families have moved into their new houses. Many more houses are under construction, as the first 150 families move into Stage A of the community.
Many public buildings are also being built such as the schools, Mikvot and the new Young Israel of Bnei Dekalim, replacing the destroyed Young Israel of Neve Dekalim.
Daniel Meyer (Exec.-Director, IYM) visited the Bnei Dekalim community and presented them with a check which will be used for Pesach food and necessities for the many families still not settled into new homes or jobs.
We invite you to visit Bnei Dekalim - further details at the IYIM office: firstname.lastname@example.org
On Wednesday, March 26th, Director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, Dr. Rachel Levmore, lectured at a major conference in Bar Ilan University at the Institute for Research into Religious Zionism which dealt with "The New Religious Zionism".
The topic discussed was "From Inferiority to Positions of Influence: The Activity of Religious-Zionist Women in the State Rabbinical Courts". The presentation was very warmly received with many participants continuing the discussion after the presentation. See http://www1.biu.ac.il/File/news/file_biu_14_03_09_18_28.pdf
On the evening of Tuesday March 25th, 2014, the participants of the deaf learning group in Rehovot, met at the Chatam Synagogue to experience reading from the Torah scroll - a Jewish ceremony that is usually not offered to them in shul because of their hearing difficulties.
As the deaf Jew cannot fulfill the mitzvah of Parshat Zachor by hearing the Torah reading, he is encouraged to read from the torah by himself.
Therefore, the 17 deaf participants were taught the reading (the Sefer Torah has no vowel signs or punctuation) and later in the evening, with the awing stares of the synagogue members and the encouragement of Rabbi David Stein - one by one, the deaf men went onto the bimah and read the 3 pasukim of Parshat Zachor. Rabbi Alex Yeres of IYIM orchestrated the preparation and the actual ceremony and stood next to each participant as he read from the Torah, offering encouragement and support. (deaf people have difficulty talking loudly because their lungs are not developed from talking). Some of the participants read the Torah out loud while also translating it into sign language.
9400 is the number of Mishloach Manot that were distributed in a massive week-long combined campaign by the Zionist Organization of America – Brooklyn (President: Rubin Margulis), Yashar L’Chayal (Director: Leon Blankrot), International Young Israel Movement (President: Ceec Harrishburg), World Mizrachi Organization (Director: Solly Sacks) and American friends of Yisrael Hatzair (President: Meir Mishkoff).
The packages were distributed to combat soldiers on the Syrian and Lebanese borders, the air force, including drone and missile units, training bases, Gaza border bases (including during missile warning sirens that led to 90 minutes in bomb shelters) and to thousands of soldiers returning to bases all over Southern Israel on Purim morning.
Brooklyn native, Rubin Margulis, who flew in especially to lead the campaign said: “It is a great privilege and honor to be able to distribute these packages to Israeli soldiers, who defend us 24 hours a day, and to bring a smile to their faces." The packages were distributed along with hundreds of Purim greeting letters from Jewish communities worldwide and pictures from Jewish day school children. “The number of soldiers that we met from the US, Canada, England, Australia and South Africa serving in combat units of the IDF was quite amazing,” stated Solly Sacks of the World Mizrachi.
“We would like to say thank you to the hundreds of members and friends who contributed and allowed us to reach this record total. It was a massive campaign that was the result of many individuals saying that they care and appreciate the soldiers defending the Jewish homeland.” (Daniel, M. Meyer, Executive-Director, IYIM).
The smiles on the faces of the soldiers said it all. Whilst on the campaign trail, the deliverers were accompanied by the IDF Rabbinical choir who performed four concerts. “The live music added so much to the joyous atmosphere. Soldiers who had been patrolling the borders all night and those getting out of their jeeps, forgot about their exhaustion as they got up to dance and celebrate Purim.” (Leon Blankrot, Yashar L’Chayal).
90 minutes in an IDF bomb shelter
600 soldiers were sitting in an auditorium in a Gaza border base enjoying their Purim celebrations following an address by Mr. Rubin Margulis (President, ZOA Brooklyn), dancing to the music of the IDF Rabbinical Choir and listening to a standup comedian when the sirens started wailing.
All 600, along with their commanders and some visitors, left the auditorium and walked intently into four bomb shelters. For these soldiers it was a routine that they were familiar and had rehearsed. For their visitors it came as a total surprise.
The visitors were part of a combined delegation of the ZOA-Brooklyn, International Young Israel Movement, World Mizrachi and Yashar L’Chayal Movements that had come to deliver Mishloach Manot as part of their combined campaign to deliver 9400 packages to IDF soldiers. The delegation included: Solly Sacks and Sokal (World Mizrachi), Ceec and Tema Harrishburg (IYIM), Daniel and Yael Meyer (IYIM), Ahava Ehrenpreis (Brooklyn NY), Rubin Margulis (ZOA Brooklyn/Manhattan Beach), Yerachmiel Reiss (Manhattan Beach) & Bernice & Elaine Shickman (NY).
During the next 90 minutes spent in a bomb shelter while over 60 missiles landed 4 miles away, the group was able to meet some of the soldiers such as Shmuel from the neighboring Kibbutz Be’eri and Ayelet, the education officer who had organized the Purim play. Other soldiers included, Baruch – head of the Rabbinical choir who helped maintain spirits in the shelter with his singing, Miriam dressed as Minnie Mouse - an intelligence officer who had been on stage compering the show ten minutes before the sirens and Shlomo the high ranking officer who was in charge of this specific shelter.
These brave soldiers who serve on border hugging bases and installations live with the constant threat of attack. However, all our highly motivated and know that they are defending their country. “It was a great honor to be able to represent so many friends from Jewish communities around the world that participated in this mega-campaign and allowed us to bring smiles to their faces. They wanted us in turn to say thank you for the warmth, the caring and of course the candy”. (Daniel M Meyer, Exec Director, IYIM).
How does one say "Purim Sameach” in Sign language?
On Shushan Purim night, Sunday March 16th 2014, 120 parents and children belonging to the Bekol deaf and hearing impaired club house all came together in fancy dress to Beit Zussman in Jerusalem to celebrate together.
Megillah reading started on time at 6:10pm and lasted an hour.
Throughout the night there were activities for the children beginning before the Megillah reading and continuing during the reading for those too young to "listen". These activities included: Clowns, magicians, competitions and more.
The local "Atlas" catering company donated hamantaschen, cakes and lots of other delicious treats. Every child left with a Mishloach Manot!
It is our hope to do many more joint projects with Bakol as part of IYIM's Judaic Heritage Program for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired during 2014.
The event was co-sponsored by the Jerusalem Municipality.
9,400 Mishloach Manot delivered to the IDF 680 Food Parcels to the poor of Sderot 250 Person to Person Mishloach Manot
Thank You to all those kind friends around the world that allowed us to reach these astounding numbers. Thank you to Meir Mishkoff (New York), Ceec Harrishburg, Daniel M. Meyer and Shelley Vogel (Jerusalem)
680 families in Sderot benefited from our annual Matanot Le'evyonim campaign via the Young Israel of Sderot - Doresh Tov community.
In close partnership with Rubin Margules (New York) & Jeff Daube (Jerusalem) of the ZOA, Solly Sacks and Daniel Cohen of the World Mizrachi Movement and Leon Blankrot of Yashar LaChayal we were able to pack & deliver 9,400 packages to the following IDF Units:
Machane Natan - Beersheva - soldiers returning to bases all over Southern Israel on Purim, bases along the Syrian and Lebanese Border, Nahal Training Bases - Arad, Palmachim Air Force Base, Gaza border bases including Ugdat Azza and Givati Shaked, Tel Nof Air Force Base, bases in the Hebron Hills & Elite infantry units - Bilu
International Agunah Day – Taanit Esther, Thursday, March 13th, 2014
The Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project
International Young Israel Movement – Israel Region & the Jewish Agency for Israel
Director: Dr. Rachel Levmore Dr. Levmore is one of a team that developed “The Agreement for Mutual Respect" - the Israeli prenuptial agreement for the prevention of Get-Refusal. She is a sitting member of the State of Israel Commission for the Appointment of Rabbinic Court Judges.
The IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention project held a major International Agunah Day Event in Jerusalem in cooperation with the Beit Knesset HaNassi synagogue in Rechavia Jerusalem and the Jewish Agency. Extensive promotion preceded the event which drew a full house.
The two speakers who were featured were—
* Rabbi Simcha Krauss, Rabbi Emeritus, Young Israel of Hillcrest -- a leading halakhic authority who is committed to solving the Agunah problem and has recently decided to apply his talents to do so in a very practical manner.
*Dr. Rachel Levmore, Rabbinical Court Advocate and Director of the IYIM Agunah Prevention Project -- an internationally recognized expert on the agunah problem and prenuptial agreements fort its prevention.
Rabbi Simcha Krauss spoke about "Jewish Divorce: The Halakha in action," describing possible solutions that arise from the sources of Jewish Law and the reasons that they are rejected by the rabbis of today, while countering those very arguments.
Dr. Rachel Levmore spoke about "Halakhic Solutions to the Agunah Problem", explaining the causes of the tension that brings about the agunah problem today, while providing the tool of prenuptial agreements into which all couples can enter into in an autonomous manner in keeping with Jewish Law, but without the need for any authority's consent.
The Event attracted a full house, with active audience participation. There is no doubt that, reverberations from this informative, high-level evening will continue to echo, helping to bring about a resolution to the agunah problem.
A most significant event took place in Bar Ilan University, which was a continuation of the "Agunah Summit" in New York which took place previously in June 2013.
"The Second Agunah Summit" took place in Israel on Monday, March 3rd, 2014 to deal with Israel's unique situation dealing with the Agunah Problem. It was entitled "The Second Agunah Summit—Resolving the Agunah Problem: State Solutions vs. Non-State Solutions", the 12 hour summit included the most prominent experts on the agunah problem, its solutions and the relations between religion and State in Israel.
It was organized by Tikvah Center of New York University, JOFA (Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance), the Israel Democracy Institute and Bar Ilan University Law School. Dr. Rachel Levmore, Director of the IYIM Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, was a featured lecturer, speaking about : "Educating the Public to Sign Prenuptial Agreements".
The summit will have an impact on solutions to the agunah problem which can be developed within Israel's State institutions. This project is considered to be a cornerstone of the solution to the Agunah Problem and thus is constantly consulted in discussions of the highest levels.
On Wednesday evening 5th March 2014, people gathered at Shir Hadash Synagogue in Katamon, Jerusalem for the Ultimate FOMO (fear of missing out) Talk, presented by Micki Lavin-Pell, Marriage and Relationship Therapist and Director of Professional Services at Beineinu. The evening began with light refreshments and mingling.
Micki spoke about understanding what FOMO is, knowing who is likely to suffer from its symptoms, learning how to manage its effects, seeing how it can interfere with relationships and learning how to keep it in check. She also talked about the positive aspects of FOMO, and offered suggestions about how one may use FOMO to enrich themselves and expand one’s horizons. The session was interactive and engaging. People asked all sorts of questions about how to determine when FOMO is a natural part of life vs. when to get help. People who attended were very respectful of one another’s experiences and created space for all sorts of sharing.
Micki also distributed materials offering tips and tools for how to deal with FOMO. IF you would like a copy of these tools, you may contact her via her email address: email@example.com
The event was partially funded by the Jewish Agency for Israel and was co-sponsored by IYIM, Beineinu and Shir Hadash.
Dr. Rachel Levmore, director of the IYIM Agunot and Get-Refusal Prevention Project, was invited to speak to dozens of Diaspora rabbis and their wives at the Rabbinical Council of America's Mid-Year Conference in Jerusalem on Feb. 25th.
Speaking on a panel with Vice Minister of Religious Affairs, Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Dahan, she gave a lengthy but fascinating presentation entitled: "Appointing Dayanim: How it Works and Why it Works". In her lecture she drew distinctions between the Rabbinate and Rabbinical Courts in the Diaspora and the State Rabbinical Courts in Israel as the realization of the religious-Zionist dream.
Both in the introduction to her presentation and in the handouts, this project and JAFI's support were described.
"Judging the Judges: Appointing Dayanim for Israel" - Monday February 3rd, 2014
The adult education Rosh Chodesh Club of Efrat's Community Center heard an enlightening lecture entitled "Judging the Judges: Appointing Dayanim for Israel" by IYIM's Dr. Rachel Levmore. The lecture explained the Israeli Rabbinical Court system, how it affects every Jew in the State of Israel and the appointment of Rabbinical Court Judges.
Adult Education Program in Gush Etzion - Wednesdays January 22nd & 29th, 2014
A series of lectures were delivered to the Adult Education program Katedra in Gush Etzion by IYIM's Agunah & Get-Refusal Prevention Project Director Dr. Rachel Levmore, to a group of one hundred participants. The lectures reached the declared aims of empowering the participants to help agunot in their own communities, educating them as to the national legal processes and ensuring that all participants encourage all couples they know to sign the Agreement for Mutual Respect.
"Changes in Jewish Tradition: From the Hearth to Rabbinical Courts" Dr Rachel Levmore at Yad Ben TzviInstitute - February 4th, 2014
An enrichment seminar was presented in the Yad Ben Tzvi Research Institute to a very large group of senior Ministry of Tourism-licensed tour guides by IYIM's Agunah Prevention Project Director Dr. Rachel Levmore entitled "Changes in Women's Status in Jewish Tradition: From the Hearth to Rabbinical Courts."
The topics ranged from the initial prohibition on Torah study for women developing into the licensing of female Rabbinical Court Advocates, to Women of the Wall and Dr. Levmore's position in the Israel Commission for the Appointment of Dayanim.
The senior tour guides, they themselves professional lecturers, reported that the seminar was positively inspiring.
In a most joyous ceremony, Mr. Harvey Schwartz dedicated a Sefer Torah to the Iron Dome unit presently located in Haifa on behalf of the Leo V. Berger Fund that he chairs, in the presence of the Chief Rabbi of the Air Force, Rav Chagai Velosky.
The Iron Dome needs no introduction and its successes are well known. The Base Commander took the ceremony participants on a behind the scenes tour of the base and gave them an understanding on just how vital the Iron Dome is for Israel’s protection. This particular “base”, which was not there two weeks before, protects Israel’s Northern border.
The Leo V. Berger Fund has partnered with the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) to ensure that every spiritual need of the brave soldiers of the Israeli army, navy and air force is met. The Berger Fund has facilitated a Challenge grant. For every two Sifrei Torah dedicated through the Ruby Davidman z”l Sifrei Torah Project of IYIM, the Berger Fund will dedicate a third.
IYIM is proud of its close association with the IDF Rabbinate and apart from its ongoing projects is gearing up for its annual mega-Mishlaoch Manot distribution.
The Luban Polansky Gemach (free loan society) has been serving the people of Israel for over 18 years. In this time, hundreds of interest-free loans have been distributed and repaid that have enabled families to overcome unforeseen short-term financial difficulties.
The Gemach was set up in memory of Rebbetzin Penina Luban, wife of the founder of Young Israel in Israel, Rabbi Chaim Luban, formerly Rav of Young Israel of Forest Hills, and was subsequently augmented by a gemach set up in memory of Solomon Polansky via the Young Israel of North Bellmore in New York.
The Gemach is administered by volunteers, former Young Isreal members from North America who have made Aliyah, and bears no overhead costs. It runs according to standard accounting practices and Israeli law. If you would like to find out more information about this important Gemach, please contact Nachman Kupietsky at: 02-561-1347.
There are some 5000 Lone Soldiers serving in the IDF today. Lone soldiers include men and women who have immigrated to Israel alone, or are Israelis who no longer have regular contact with their families due to economic, social or religious reasons.
Whilst the IDF endeavors to provide for the soldiers every need, there are many times that a soldier has requirements that need urgent attention.
IYIM in partnership with the Michael Levine Lone Soldiers Center has decided to assist in one specific area - dental care. Many times, soldiers on home leave need supplemental or emergency dental care. A group of American trained dentists under the leadership of Dr. Sheldon Abramson have agreed to provide the Lone Soldiers with the dental care they require as part of this program. At present the program is based in Jerusalem.
10 pairs of newly written tefillin were presented to the IDF Rabbinate as part of IYIM's commitment to ensure that the spiritual needs of IDF soldiers are met. The tefillin were kindly donated in loving memory of Yehudah Chaim Ben Avraham and Eta z"l by their daughter who lives in Yerushalayim.
At present, more traditional and observant soldiers are joining the IDF, as well as those who increase their commitment to Judaism while in uniform. Therefore the demands on the IDF Rabbinate's already strained budget are ever increasing. IYIM is happy to be a partner by facilitating the dedications of Sifrei Torah, tefillin and other religious items to the IDF.
On Wednesday, January 29th, 2014, excited members and friends of IYIM-Israel boarded a bus in Jerusalem on a beautiful sunny Jerusalem day to take part in the trip: ‘Grand Winery Tour of the Shomron’, organized by the International Young Israel Movement – Israel Region and led by Eli Poch of the Jerusalem Wine Club.
The tour began in the Psagot Winery in the Binyamin Region. The group gathered in the winery’s barrel cellar to hear more about the history of the winery and to watch an interesting video about the history of the Binyamin region. The group took part in an interactive trivia game and participated in a special wine tasting experience.
In between stops, the guide Eli Poch, gave a comprehensive explanation of the wine industry in Israel and answered many questions from the group.
Next stop was the Gvaot Winery, in the Shomron, where tables laden with wine glasses were awaiting the participants. Eli pointed out some areas of interest from the beautiful view, such as Shilo, the place where the Mishkan stood. The group enjoyed some of the winery’s premium wines, followed by a tasty lunch.
The last stop of the day was the Tura Boutique Winery, located in the village of Rechelim. The group sat around a table in the charming wine cellar and heard from the owner of the winery, Vered Ben Saadon. They were treated to taste the winery’s full bodied, fruity wines aged over years to improve their flavor. The group watched a short video of the history of Rechelim and had a chance to buy wines, premium olive oil and handmade chocolates.
A good time was had by all! Watch this space for our next tiyul!
Tu b’Shvat, the 15th day of Shvat is recorded in the Mishna and the Talmud as the New Year for Trees.In the 16th century, the Kabbalists of Tzfat compiled a Tu B'Shvat "seder," somewhat similar to the seder for Passover. The Seder involves the eating of different fruits and drinking of four cups of wine.
Last night Netanya celebrated Tu b'Shvat with its Deaf Community. Fifty celebrants came out to participate in the Tu B'shvat seder with stories and song led by Rabbi Yeres of the IYIM Judaic Heritage Program for the Deaf & Hearing Impaired.
A 3-hour academic seminar was delivered to the Bar Ilan University Law Students on Tuesday 6th January, 2014, in the framework of the Rackman Center Family Law Clinic. The lecture and discussion covered: The Heskem L'Kavod Hadadi: Solving the problem of get-refusal", including background, analysis of Israeli civil law, mechanism of the agreement, international applicability and presentation to marrying couples. The questions and discussion were intelligent and lively, as can be expected from top tier Israeli law students!
‘The Agunah Crisis’ – Rachel Levmore tours the USA and Canada
Rachel Levmore, Director of the IYIM Agunah & Get Refusal Project arranged a very intense week-long trip to the United States and Canada for the purpose of education about the agunah problem and its solutions, as well as key meetings with American organizations.
Scholar-in-Residence at the Lincoln Square Synagogue, New York
The first venue was a position as Scholar-in-Residence at the Lincoln Square Synagogue, located in New York City's Upper West Side on Friday 6th and Shabbat, December 7th, 2013. Dr. Levmore delivered three presentations under the title: ‘Judging the Judges: Israeli Rabbinical Courts, Changes in the Courts and Women Appointing Rabbinical Court Judges in Israel’.
The response of the community members was overwhelming. Seats were filled to capacity as the audience hung onto every word. Aside for the enthusiasm of the general public, several women with their daughters in tow came up to the Director exclaiming how wonderful it was, that their daughters had the opportunity to see and learn from a learned woman who is a religious leader.
Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance Conference, New York
The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance held its international conference in New York on Sunday December 8th, 2013 with an attendance of 1,000 participants.
In sync with the vibrant atmosphere, Dr. Levmore delivered two presentations: At the first session entitled ‘First Ladies’, Dr. Levmore spoke about her work in the IYIM project as a Rabbinical Court Advocate resolving personal cases of agunot at the same time as developing halachic solutions to the agunah problem—which brought her to the historic position as a member of the State Commission for the Appointment of Rabbinical court judges.
At the second presentation, entitled ‘Breaking the Chains: Making a Difference in the Agunah Fight’, Dr. Levmore entered into a fascinating dialogue with Rabbi Jeremy Stern, Director of ORA-Organization for the Resolution of Agunot, both speaking about their experiences resolving agunah cases, principles individuals and communities should follow and promoting the signing of prenuptial agreements.
Drisha Institute for Jewish Education, New York
The Drisha Institute invited Dr. Levmore to speak to their students at a special session entitled: ‘Women Rabbinical Court Advocates within the Israeli Rabbinical Court System—Historical Change in the Making’. The students were fascinated by the description and lessons Dr. Levmore imparted, holding her there for an additional 45 minutes of questions, beyond the original full lecture.
Young Israel of Hillcrest, New York
An evening event was held for the community of the Young Israel of Hillcrest on Tuesday December 10th, where Dr. Rachel Levmore lectured about ‘The Jewish-Democratic State—Agunot Straddling the Hyphen’ . Community members were fascinated at the very well attended lecture, as they began to understand the complexities of democratic principles meeting Jewish Law in the State of Israel as compared to the United States, and how it plays out in the State Rabbinical courts and affects agunot.
Shaarei Shomayin Congregation, Toronto
Rabbi Jay Kelman, of Toronto's "Torah in Motion", organized a panel discussion held in the Shaarei Shomayin Congregation of Toronto. This serious, high-level discussion Dr Rachel Levmore, Sharon Shore, an attorney representing women in family law; Rabbi Jeremy Stern, Executive Director of ORA; and Rabbi Shlomo Weissman, Director of the Beth Din of America. The panel was moderated by Dr. Elliott Malamet asking incisive questions, all three panelists related to the subject ‘The Agunah Crisis: New Opportunities to Solve and Old Problem’, each contributing from their expertise. The event proved very successful as the attendees resolved to resolve the agunah problem within the Toronto community.
December 9, 2013, was a very special day for 63 very special Israeli children.
On this day, boys and girls from all over Israel gathered under the auspices of the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) – Israel to celebrate their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. While this milestone of Jewish adulthood is a significant one for every twelve- and thirteen-year-old, this Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony was a unique one. Every one of its 63 participants was deaf or hearing impaired.
This year’s ceremony took place at the elegant Beit Yaakov Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Ramat Eshkol neighborhood. The atmosphere was a lively combination of excited exclamations and equally animated signing, as the children, some with hearing aids, some with cochlear implants, others with no visible signs of the challenges they face, filled the seats of the sanctuary.
IYIM – Israel in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel is the primary organization in Israel providing Jewish identity programming and Torah education for the State’s hard-of-hearing youth population. The Movement’s Judaic Heritage Program for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired, directed by Rabbi Chanoch Yeres and Daniel M. Meyer, works in partnership with the National Association for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired to provide services and activities particularly suited towards this extraordinary group of youngsters. The Judaic Heritage Program has even had to invent new signs for Jewish terms, including the blessings for Shabbat candle lighting and Kiddush, for use by Israel’s deaf community.
But the highlight of the year is always the day when dozens of these young people, primarily from traditional and secular homes, join together, along with their parents, siblings, and grandparents, to celebrate the fact that they too can play integral roles, as committed adults, in the Jewish nation.
The ceremony was opened by Rabbi Chaim Wasserman (President, CYIR), Liat Wizman (JAFI) and Bentzion Chen (Chairman, ACHA), each one of whom addressed the crowd. Whether in speech or in signs, all of them expressed their pride in the young people before them – pride in all they have achieved until now, pride for what they will certainly go on to accomplish in the future.
The boys were then aided by invited guests, members and friends of IYIM in putting on tefillin for the first time. Explanations had to be made in a challenging combination of demonstration, motions, and words, but the patience of the men and the enthusiasm of the boys crossed all communication barriers.
Then the actual ceremony began. All of the boys were then called up together, and recited – for the very first time – the blessing for being called to the Torah, their interpreter signing the bracha alongside them. Then it was the girls’ turn to come on the bimah. Rabbi Yeres addressed the girls with inspiring words about the woman’s power and role in Judaism. Then they recited together a pledge of commitment to the responsibilities of a Bat Mitzvah. This was followed by a shower of candies.
But the day was far from over. The entire assembly then headed down to the shul’s social hall, where they were hosted to a festive meal, accompanied by musical performance by each group of students. The rest of the afternoon was then spent on an inspirational tour of Jerusalem’s Old City, culminating in the opportunity for prayer – for the first time as adult members of Am Yisrael − at the Kotel Hama’aravi.
On Friday 3rd January 2014, 65 people between the ages of 28 and 38 years from all over Israel arrived at the beautiful Holiday Inn Hotel on the lovely sea front of Ashkelon for the Ashkelon Freedom/Kick Off 2014 Shabbaton organized by Beineinu, the singles division of IYIM.
On this sunny Friday afternoon, the group enjoyed a sunny walk along the beautiful marina of Ashkelon. The Shabbaton began with a tuneful Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv service at the hotel. The Executive Director of IYIM, Daniel Meyer, welcomed the group and delivered an inspiring Dvar Torah. The group then enjoyed a sumptuous Friday night buffet dinner with Divrei Torah and singing. After dinner the entertainment included ice breakers and games such as Celebrity Heads, “Whose line is it anyway” and an oneg Shabbat, where people had a chance to get to know each other while playing games in a relaxed atmosphere.
The next morning, following Musaf, the group enjoyed a delicious breakfast. Fagie Reves – the Beineinu Shadchanit gave a dvar torah on the grass outside the hotel on the subject of “A new look at the 10 plagues in Egypt”. The group then headed to a workshop led by Micki Lavin-Pell, Director of Beineinu, on the subject of “Freedom & Relationships”. A lively debate took place as to whether and how the two can co-exist. Lunch followed along with singing, divrei torah and a lively, friendly atmosphere. Many people connected and even began to pair up at this point.
Following Maariv and Havdalah, the group gathered together for “Bira V’Nashira” (beer and singing) led by Shabbaton participants David Kilimnick on the guitar and Atara Newberger. Beer and snacks were flowing while the group sang many beautiful, popular Israeli songs. It was a great way to end a very full and enjoyable Shabbaton.
For more information about Beineinu events, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or see http://www.iyim.org.il/singles/.
I want to thankyouon behalf of myselfand the deafclub for your contributionto the success ofChanukah partyat the club. 'The words of the wiseare heard pleasantly'.Theyvery much appreciated that you took the trouble to pass on the message ofChanukah to them.
Happy Hanukkahto youand your family.
Tzivya Katz, Social Worker NetanyaBranch Coordinator
On Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013, a packed bus of members and friends of IYIM-Israel took part in the Chanukah trip, “In the Footsteps of the Maccabees” organized by the International Young Israel Movement – Israel Region and led by Rabbi Mottle Wolf of the Mizrachi World Organization.
The tour began in the Beit Horon Valley located between Jerusalem & Modi'in where the guide told and showed the group the site where one of the Maccabee battles took place.
Next stop was the graves of the Maccabees, where the guide continued the fascinating story of the Maccabees and then they were on their way to Neot Kedumim - the Biblical landscape reserve in Israel. There, the group saw the interesting "Bameh Madlikin" exhibition of the different types of oils and wicks that are and not allowed to be used to light the Chanukah menorah according to Rabbinic sources.
The participants also visited an ancient oil press and watched it being operated by a donkey as it was in biblical times!
Then, the group visited the heart of the magnificent Canada Park, near Latrun. In the center of the park, near the water source and the little lake, are the remains of the ancient Hellenistic town of Emmaus. This is the site of one of the Maccabees' most brilliant battles, when a few brave Jewish fighters defeated the mighty Greco-Syrian army.
Elazar, in the Gush Ezion area in the Judean Hills was next on the agenda, where Mottle told the group the story of the death of Elazar the High Priest, son of Mattityahu, who was crushed by an elephant during the Maccabean revolt.
The final stop of the day was a visit to the modern day Maccabees, our IDF soldiers, at the Lamed Hay base in the Gush Etzion area. There, the group kindled the Chanukah lights together with the soldiers and distributed delicious donuts to lighten up their Chanukah. Jeremy Gimpel, of the Mizrachi World Israel Movement delivered words of inspiration to the soldiers.
It was truly a meaningful day of Chanukah for all involved.
A two hour lecture was delivered by Dr. Rachel Levmore at the Midrasha for Women in Migdal Oz. Presented to the high level Talmud class, it was entitled "The Religious Laws of Divorce: the Bottom Line". The thirty participants, who were all professional women (social workers, psychologists, educators, etc.) asked incisive questions.
The methodology was unique in that it was based on selected texts from the sources which formed an immediate basis for the description of what occurs in real life in divorce suits in the State Rabbinical Courts.
Harvey Schwartz, President of the Leo V. Berger Fund dedicated, once again, a Sefer Torah to the IDF Rabbinate through the Young Israel Sifrei Torah for the IDF Project.
The Torah which is small in size has found a unique purpose in the IDF.
The Torah will be used by army delegations sent throughout the world to programs such as the March of the Living, strategic alliance conferences and search and rescue missions. When the delegations pack their uniforms and gear for their trips, this Sefer Torah will be an important addition.
Mr. Schwartz noted that the Torah was part of a series of Sifrei Torah that have been given to the IDF through a Challenge Grant given to the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM). For every two Sifrei Torah that IYIM facilitates to be given to the IDF, the Leo V. Berger Fund will dedicate a third.
The next Berger Fund Sefer Torah will be dedicated to the Iron Dome Unit on Chanukah.
On 1st of November 2013, Beineinu in conjunction with Chiburim hosted a games night oneg at Ramban shul for dati singles in their 20's and 30's. Prior to the oneg we had registration of 90 people (even amounts of both men and women). However on the night itself we had a show of 150 people, even though there was another oneg for singles just around the corner.
The oneg itself took place in the Byzantine room of Ramban shule in Katamon. All the participants brought dessert and drinks in lieu of payment. The tables were set up so that people could play different games around the room which included Apples to Apples, Bananagrams, Settlers of Katan, Perpetual Commotion and Taboo. Each game appeals to a different type of person, some more extroverted and some more introverted and each game brings people out in different ways, which enables them to be seen in a different light. The participants were encouraged to move around rather than just stick to one game all night in order to meet more people. Loads of mingling took place and there was a break in the middle for a dvar torah given by Rabbi Jonathan Goldstein.
Many people shared with the hostess, Micki Lavin-Pell that they had met many new people on the evening. Several people sought her help for meeting people after the event.
IYIM – Israel is delighted to welcome back Dr. Lorell Blass (PhD.) after a nine month hiatus to once again head up the Young Israel in Israel Counseling Center. Since 1990, the Young Israel in Israel has offered free, short term, one-on-one, professional counseling and therapy to individuals in need of assistance and support. The Counseling Center specializes in and assists with emotional and procedural issues related to conversion, shalom bayit, personal relationships, rabbinic court decisions and other matters of concern.
Staffed by Hebrew and English speaking professional therapists and rabbis, the Counseling Center deals with halachic issues and helps individuals and families cope with such issues as:
Divorce (get refusal)
This service is free and open to the public- Appointments can be made by calling 02-650-5924, Sunday through Thursday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Our offices are located at Heichal Shlomo, 58 King George Street, Jerusalem
After three years of dynamic and successful programming for the singles population in Israel, the Beineinu division of IYIM has upgraded its services and facilities. A recently launched shidduch database exclusive to Beineinu members has seen a very high response rate. Further, Fagie Reves has joined our staff as a Shadchanit and facilitator. Fagie has already made 8 shidduchim and hopes to make many more in her role at IYIM. Fagie is currently busy carrying out in person and Skype interviews with registered members.
This is a quote from someone who met with Fagie recently:" I met with Fagie Reves yesterday at the Young Israel offices and she is really sharp (on the ball, asks good questions, gets a sense of who the person is, what they are looking for, etc.) Kol hakavod for bringing her aboard."
Beineinu continues to grow with our Facebook page registering record numbers and our database continuing to grow. The next two events scheduled are an oneg Shabbat in November in Yerushalayim and a mega-shabbaton in Ashkelon in December.
On Sunday, October 27th, 2013, a full bus of members and friends of IYIM-Israel took part in the trip entitled “Grab the Galilee” -
‘An investigative field trip of the Bedouin Arabs in the Galilee, Northern Israel’, organized by the International Young Israel Movement – Israel Region and led by Ari Briggs of the Regavim Organization.
The tour began in the Dotan Region in the Northern Shomron where the group visited Neve Ilan, named after Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, a religious community established in 2005. The group met a family who live there and enjoyed their hospitality.
In between stops, the guide gave a great deal of commentary and showed illegal Arab building sprouting in many towns and villages - some right next to major highways.
Next stop was Park Hagalil in Karmiel, where the participants met Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz, the Rabbi of Young Israel of Karmiel and heard about the activities of this growing community while enjoying a hot meaty lunch.
The last stop of the day was Peki’in, a predominantly Druze town in the upper Galilee. The group visited the cave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his son, Elazar, where they hid from the Romans for 13 years. According to the story, they fed off spring water and the fruit of a miraculous carob tree, (which the group saw), during their years of hiding, and passed the time by studying Torah.
The group then had a very special opportunity to meet Margalit Zenati, the last survivor of a Jewish family who has lived continuously in Peki’in since Roman times. She addressed the group and showed a video of the fascinating history of the area.
The participants were very thankful for a very enjoyable & informative day.
IYIM-Israel was proud to be the lead sponsor of the “Concert for Orly” that took place on the eve of Hoshanah Raba in the courtyard of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue.
On Kol Nidrei night in Florida, USA, Orly and her mother were hit by a car on there way to synagogue. The mother was killed instantly leaving Orly an orphan, and Orly received multiple serious injuries. Orly’s friends and camp counselors presently in Israel decided to hold a fundraising event and turned to IYIM for funding an event planning advice. The timeframe to organize the concert was six days.
The result was a rocking concert featuring: Lenny Solomon (Shlock Rock), Naftali Abramson, Shlomo Katz, Chaim Dovid & Aryeh Kustenler all of who volunteered their time and voices. Over 500 young people attended this outdoor concert and danced and danced for Orly. The concert was live streamed back to the US to allow Orly and family to watch.
We are proud that on the night 30,000 shekels was raised for this important cause.
IYIM-Israel remains ready to spring into action when called upon. This concert follows the tribute concert IYIM held for the Carmel fire victims.
On Sunday Chol Hamoed Sukkot, September 22nd, over 100 members and friends of IYIM – Israel made their way to the Tzrifin army base where they presented a Sefer Torah to the main IDF Medics training base. It is on this base that 1500 different soldiers from every unit of the three branches of the army come to be trained as unit medics.
The uniqueness of this Sefer Torah was that it had been saved from the ashes of the Holocaust in Romania. A global fundraising campaign was undertaken to pay for its repair and restoration. Lead donations were kindly presented by Maureen Kushner, Marc & Tzippora Zwebner and Shevah Samuel.
On arrival to the base the participants were treated to a simulation exercise of a badly wounded soldier and how he would be treated in the field.
This was followed by a very lively procession as the Torah was led under the chuppah by the soldiers, participants and students from the Lev HaTorah Yeshivah. As the procession entered the base synagogue, dancing took place for well over half an hour led by the soldiers.
The Torah was then placed into the base synagogue and a festive meal was held in the (enlarged) base sukkah.
Participants included, Ceec (President, IYM) and Tema Harrishburg and Rozanne Polansky (Board Member, IYIM).
On Sunday Chol Hamoed of Sukkot, Sunday, 22nd September, the leadership of the International Young Israel Movement led by Mr. Ceec Harrishburg (President) and Mr. Daniel Meyer (Executive Director) attended the annual international religious Zionist leadership lunch hosted by the World Mizarchi Organization, in the Sukkah of the Ramada Hotel, Jerusalem.
In attendance was the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rav David Lau, Knesset Ministers, Chavrei Knesset, Rabbi Shaar Yeshuv Cohen (Chief Rabbi of Haifa), Rabbi Yosef Glicksman (Chief Rabbi of Givatayim), deputy-mayors and leaders of religious Zionist organizations from Israel, America, Canada, South Africa and more.
This important annual gathering allows for informal brainstorming, networking and planning.
Pictured below Ceec Harrishburg with a) Naftali Bennett (Minister of Economics, Minister of Religion & Minister of Diaspora Affairs) and b) Uri Orbach (Minister for Pensioner Affairs).
Things may be heating up in the North of Israel along its borders, but that is not stopping the newest wave of Olim to the great city of Karmiel. It has been an exciting summer in Karmiel for the Young Israel community. This summer brought a new wave of Olim who having heard about the beautiful community that has formed in the lovely hills of Galilee. Families arrived from Atlanta, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Toronto as well as many young anglo families who have "moved up" from the center of the country.
Over the past 3 years, Karmiel has grown from the original two anglo families that moved here and started the Young Israel of Karmiel to a beautiful shul and community with over 50 members each Shabbat that join us, as well as over a hundred people that join for the various minyanim each day. The community has also opened an Anglo Kollel this past year that is available for people to learn with its lay leaders.
At a recent community Friday night dinner that welcomed all the new families, many expressed how privileged and excited they were to be a part of this warm and inspirational community. The Young Israel of Karmiel is proud of the diversity of our shul which has members from all backgrounds and religious orientations; Chareidi, Religious Zionist, Secular, Ashkenazi, Sefardi, Anglo Olim as well as native Sabras. The Young Israel has a nice slice of the entire spectrum of Jewish life in Israel. That which draws this diverse group together is a love of Eretz Yisrael, an appreciation of Torah and its values and the desire to really serve as a model of brotherhood, respect and a Kiddush Hashem for the entire country. Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz, the founding Rabbi of the YI of Karmiel and his wonderful Rebbetzin Aliza, serve as models of that inspiration and vision, and IYIM is honored to be a part of this exciting olim and community revolution in the North of Israel.
While the month of Elul is a busy time for Jews worldwide as they prepare themselves spiritually and physically for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot it is an even busier time for Rabbi Chanoch Yeres, Director of the IYIM Jewish Heritage for the Deaf Project and his brother Alex. They spend Elul visiting the sixteen deaf club houses from Beersheva in the South to Haifa in the North and from Jerusalem to Netanya on the sea and many places in between.
Using their knowledge of sign language, the Yeres brothers, with help from club house directors, teach the lessons of Tishrei to the many members of the Deaf clubhouses. Thankfully, many aspects of the festivals are visual (e.g. Shofar, apple and honey, simanim, lulav, etrog etc.) and this greatly enhances the educational experience.
IYIM is proud that it is able to bring traditional Jewish education to a population that has a great thirst for these lessons and fill a void that exists in Israeli society.
Dr. Rachel Levmore, Director of the Project for the Prevention of Agunot and Get-Refusal of the International Young Israel Movement and the Jewish Agency, has been appointed by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni to the State Committee for the Appointment of Rabbinical Court Judges.
Dr. Levmore is ideally suited for the difficult task of the appointment of dayanim-- Rabbinical Court Judges. In this time of fractionalization of Israeli society, Dr. Levmore is a unifying presence. She has worked tirelessly since her ordination as a to'enet rabbanit, helping individuals from all walks of society – women and men; young and old; impoverished or well-off; religious, traditional, hareidi, secular and unaffiliated – to negotiate the difficult process of Jewish divorce. Dr. Levmore is a bridge between worlds—rabbinic (as an expert toenet rabbanit), academic (PhD in Talmud and Jewish Law from Bar Ilan University with her doctoral dissertation analyzing changes in rulings of the Rabbinical Courts in divorce suits in the past decades), and social activism (as director of the IYIM & JAFI Project for the Prevention of Agunot and Get-Refusal) --joining them together as she is universally respected in all of these spheres, to work towards the eradication of the blight of iggun and get-refusal from Jewish society the world-over.
In the IYIM-JAFI Project for the Prevention of Agunot and Get-Refusal, Dr. Levmore resolves cases of iggun and get-refusal as well as develops halakhic solutions to the agunah problem—with particular emphasis on the dissemination of the prenuptial Agreement for Mutual Respect for the prevention of get-refusal. Whether through individual counseling, the publication of popular and academic articles, the engagement of rabbinic forums in Israel and abroad, lectures around the Jewish world or academic presentations – Dr. Levmore has actively brought about the spread of the acceptance of prenuptial agreements as a successful preventative tool to the problem of the agunah – the chained woman.
IYIM has full confidence that through this appointment to the State Committee for the Appointment of Rabbinical Court Judges, Dr. Rachel Levmore will have a positive influence in molding the Israeli State Rabbinical Courts to answer the great need of the general Israeli public for a responsive and compassionate Rabbinic Court system.
The International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) invites you to partner with those who love Israel worldwide as we join to repair a Sefer Torah saved from the ashes of the Holocaust and dedicate it to the brave soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces.
Help us complete this important mission – Target = $18,000(USD)
IYIM was delighted to sponsor an evening with students of the World Mizrachi Summer Internship Program (SIP). 20 students from North America have come to Israel for six weeks of work internships in their chosen field, fun and education.
On the night of July 24th 2013, the group was addressed by Dr. Rachel Levmore in Jerusalem. Rachel's topic was Preventing Agunot and how signing a pre-nuptial agreement can prevent much pain and anguish in the future, if a marriage should break down. Rachel charged the students with being ambassadors to futher educate others regarding options open to newly engaged and married couples.
On Sunday July 14th 2013, Dr. Rachel Levmore (Director, IYIM Agunah and Pre-Nuptial Program) and Daniel Meyer (Executive Director, IYIM) met with Member of the Knesset Dov Lipman in his office in the Knesset. The aim of the meeting was to discuss ways to put the Pre-Nuptial Agreement on the national agenda in order to ensure it is used to prevent the horrors of becoming an agunah.
The wide ranging discussion included rabbinic backing for the agreement, the various sectors of Israeli society in which it could be implemented and the proposal of legislation to be brought before the Knesset plenum.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Dr. Levmore presented her scientific halachic work to MK Lipman entitled: Min'ee Einayich Me'Dimah: Heskem Kdam Nissuin L'Miniat Seruv Get"
On Thursday, June 27th 2013, 30 young professionals arrived at Heichal Shlomo in Jerusalem to play Fresh Biz, the game that has been rocking the entrepreneurial world and is now changing the way people create interpersonal relationships.
Josh Weiss and David Litke offered a creative & entrepreneurial thinking presentation through a slide show and video presentation.
The game is played in 90 minutes. Some of the themes that arise from the game include collaborative process and group thinking. Unlike other games, Fresh Biz is about winning as a team, rather than kill or be killed. This is a crucial point as so many who are dating see the process as I verses you. The idea is that if we change the way we think about dating we can make the whole process more effective and more enjoyable for everyone. Rather than thinking just about whether the person before us is the one, but instead how can each of us gain from and contribute towards each dating experience. With this new way of thinking we can shape and change the dating experience so that it is more positive for everyone involved.
The room became abuzz as all the teams started to play. The teams became very involved in the game and lots of serious fun was had!
After the time was up, the teams discussed the lessons that they learned from the game, facilitated by the presenters. Micki Lavin Pell, Director of Beineinu, explained how the game could be applied to interpersonal relationships.
Other topics discussed included: Is dating a competition or can it be collaborative to help everyone meet their right partner? How do I communicate what I want? How can I do more smart work and less hard work in the dating and relationship world? What makes a good partnership? 50/50, 75/25, or 100/100?
It was a great way to meet, gain new insights into dating and relationships and have fun…Using Fresh biz speak, I guess you can say it was a Win, Win, Win…
For more information about how you can take part in Beineinu events check us out on: www.iyim.org.il/singles.
Most people think that dating is a fairly intuitive process, and for many it is. The interesting this is that many people, and believe it or not some of the most suave, easy going, successful and extroverted among us even struggle with different aspects of dating.
So let’s start from the top, what is it that dating coaches actually do? What could people reasonably expect? Dating coaches help people in many aspects of the dating/ relationship process. They may help people better understand their dating history, as people often repeat patterns and go for the same kind of person, or create a similar unsatisfactory relationship over and over. When it comes to better understanding dating history, a dating coach can help people become more aware of the patterns they have created and help them break poor habits and choose to date different types of people, or choose to behave and interact differently so as to develop the relationship differently. Part of this is understanding what is upholding the pattern and keeping it going, along with obtaining the skills in order to be able to make the change on their own.
Dating coaches may help people better understand what it is that keeps them from getting the kind of responses they are looking for from the opposite sex. Many people are simply unaware of the energy or the behaviors that they are putting out that is keeping the right people from connecting with them, and they continue the same habits over and over. For example, a guy who while very eligible, handsome, with a great career, tests every potentially eligible woman he meets because he becomes suspicious about whether he can trust her. He thinks, he is simply checking out whether she is “good enough” and wants to know what she is made of. She is meanwhile thinking, “what a jerk, why is he giving me such a hard time.” This relationship model is clearly a non-starter, however many people adopt this practice (both men and women alike).There are many such examples where we think, we are just doing “x”, without thinking of the effect on others, or the consequences.
While many people believe that they really wish to find the right one and get married, deep down they are experiencing a tremendous amount of fear about getting hurt, losing themselves, wasting their time, recreating their parents relationship, to name a few. Without actually tabling and dealing with these fears head on, the right one can be sitting on a person’s head and they won’t notice them. Ambivalence, is a huge barrier to creating a successful relationship. When ambivalence isn’t dealt with it becomes a barrier that keeps us from allowing the right one in. For those of us that do find the “right one,” if ambivalence hasn’t been dealt with we may do something to sabotage the relationship. Sabotage of course will keep the relationship from ever being successful and satisfying for both sides. There are many deep underlying reasons that may be causing the fear, so simply willing it away will prove fruitless. Coaching however can help a person to feel safe to identify their fears and deal with them.
The issues mentioned above are the primary things that dating coaching can help with. The other major things coaches do is help to pinpoint at what stage a person may be getting stuck so they can move through it. Lastly and most importantly the coach can help a person identify all of the things they need to know about themselves before choosing a partner, so that they can choose the best way to invite the right one in and create the best relationship practice from the start. As every Marriage and Family therapist is taught, how a couple begins is largely indicative of how they will continue. So getting a relationship off to a great start even before there is a relationship is a crucial piece to creating and sustaining a successful relationship for the long haul.
Micki Lavin-Pell, Director of Beineinu, is a Marriage and Family Therapist and Dating Coach. To find out more about Beineinu-Division of IYIM and how membership can help you meet your soul mate and create a fantastic relationship, check us out: http://www.iyim.org.il/singles.
Dr. Rachel Levmore spent Shabbat in the Philadelphia community of Lower Merion. On Shabbat afternoon, Dr. Levmore delivered a lecture to the members of the shule on a sensitive topic - which had never before been brought up entitled " The Yearning for a child" Dr. Levmore uncovered the philosophical underpinnings of the halacha's relationship to various states of childlessness -- from yibbum (levirate marriages) through artificial insemination and divorce on the grounds of barreness through the utilization of a deceased man's frozen sperm to single women choosing to bear children. Both the women and men of Lower Merion expressed their interest and gratitude to Dr. Levmore for bringing to light these issues which they had never studied within a halachic framework.
On June 6th, 2013 - the anniversary of the six day war and more specifically the middle day of the three day battle for Jerusalem, fifty members and friends of IYIM went on a tour of Southern and Eastern Jerusalem led by Chaim Silberstein of the Keep Jerusalem Organization. Areas visited sit on the seam line, armistice lines and in both Jewish and Arab neighborhoods built in the last 46 years. During the tour, Chaim made reference, many times to actions that took place during the war.
The trip began in Jerusalem’s Southern most neighborhood, Gilo where participants looked into Beit Lechem and witnessed firsthand where the "shootings" from Beit Jala into Gilo took place during the intifada. It was at this scenic position that the security barrier could also be seen. From here it was on to Kever Rachel (Rachel’s Tomb) where the group heard an overview of the holy place's history from biblical to modern times. Of course, time for praying was also allotted.
It was then on to the Jewish neighborhood of Har Homa, where building started in the year 2000 and today has approximately 2000 apartments of a planned 6000. The journey continued through the Arab neighborhoods of Sur Bahir and Jabel Mukaber where many of Jerusalem’s Arab residents live. At the exit, we entered into the Jewish neighborhood of East Talpiot where many Jews reside. We continued onto the Governors Palace, and Antenna Hill, the United Nations border post in 1967 and today still a United Nations compound. The scenic view at this point allowed us to look out towards the Old City, Mount of Olives and Abu Dis. Our final visit was to the mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhood of Abu-Tor.
There was no greater way to commemorate the 6 day war than to actually travel through united Jerusalem on the day it returned to Jewish sovereignty.
Shavuot is Zman Matan Toratenu – and the Torah was given to Klal Yisrael. There is no Jew who should not have access to Limud Torah or to the Chagim. Passing on the Moreshet Yisrael to the Deaf and Hearing impaired in Israel is what the IYIM – “Judaic Heritage Program for Israel's Deaf and Hearing Impaired“ project is all about.
On May 12th, Rabbi Yeres of the project went to a gathering of the Deaf community in the seaside city of Bat Yam where he joined a delightful Shavuot celebration. He enlightened the participants of the importance of learning and cherishing our holy Torah, using stories and midrashim in order for them to understand better the essence of the holiday. His presentation was accompanied by sign language translation commendably handled by Yehuda Malka the coordinator of the Moadon Chershim- of Bat Yam- Deaf Community Social/Support Group.
On May 27th, 2013, 30 members and friends of IYIM-Israel boarded a bus to take part in an interactive day trip to the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot & shopping trip in the Bilu Mall organized by the International Young Israel Movement – Israel Region.
The tour began at the Clore Garden of Science - a unique, entirely outdoor science museum, the only one of its kind worldwide. Its 800 square meters of green lawns are home to nearly 80 hands-on exhibits large and small. The guide demonstrated some of the highlights of the garden to the group.
Next stop was a guided tour of the Weizmann House - the residence of Dr Chaim Weizmann, first President of the State of Israel. The group viewed the breathtaking gardens, the impressive rooms, the elegant furnishings and heard many stories and anecdotes about the life and times of Chaim Weizmann.
A hot gourmet dairy lunch was then served at Café Smadar, located inside the Institute.
The last stop of the day was the Bilu Shopping Mall, where the group were able to spend some money in the many outlet stores situated there!
The group were very thankful for a very enjoyable & informative day.
Sderot is a southern Israeli town on the Gaza border - a location of frequent rocket attacks from Hamas. The Doresh Tov-IYIM Teenage Café operates for the moderate to high risk teenagers of the city, from low income homes. The café aims to provide a gathering place for these teenagers where they will be empowered to achieve through educational enrichment, community service, tools for dealing with stress & trauma and the development of self esteem/interpersonal skills.
This Shavuot give them a break - send an Ice Cream(s) or a Pizza Pie(s)
Last week I went down with the Gelb family of Connecticut to visit our Young Israel community and Teen Cafe in Sderot.
I cannot explain what great joy and pride it gives me to see how far this young community -- our IYIM-Israel partner -- has come in a few short years.
I take particular pride in seeing the Sderot Teen Cafe slowly being filled with the equipment it needs -- coffee and food for snacking, comfortable furniture and a ping-pong table for recreation.
I am happy to report that our dream, and the dream of our community in Sderot, to assist teenagers across the ethnic and religious divide, is starting to become a reality. Two nights a week the Cafe is buzzing with excited teenagers who come to forget the daily struggles of living so close to the Gaza border, to deal with normal teenage issues, and to be guided by our counselors as we build them into upstanding citizens and great human beings.
Over the past eight months, our cadre of trained adult volunteers from the community has been reaching out to the teenagers where ever they can be found "hanging out" -- whether in parks, in pubs, or on street corners -- to befriend them, earn their trust and then invite them to make the Teen Cafe a place of their own.
I would like to thank Yael Spanglet, a mother of five who travels to study four days a week in Yerushalayim, who has spearheaded the Teen Cafe in a voluntary capacity since its inception.
We have many more dreams for the Cafe and we hope you can help towards making them a reality. From purchasing needed equipment and bringing in computers with relevant educational software to supplement the teens' education, to hiring a social worker and full-time youth director, hosting events on the chagim, and holding seminars to bring together teens from across the city's ethnic spectrum -- there is so much more we yearn to achieve.
I invite you to visit Sderot, our community and our Teen Cafe. Please be in touch and I will be happy to arrange your visit.
With thanks, Daniel Meyer, Exec.-Director, IYIM -Israel
Dr. Rachel Levmore presents: The Prenuptial Agreement for Mutual Respect
By: Yael Ehrenpreis Meyer
On the evening of April 25, 2013, a cross-section of men and women from Efrat and the Gush Etzion region assembled as the Women’s Beit Midrash hosted Dr. Rachel Levmore for her lecture on “The Prenuptial Agreement for Mutual Respect.”
As director of the Young Israel in Israel Agunah & Get-Refusal Project, Dr. Levmore is well-known throughout Israel for her tireless efforts to assist women and men who are being denied a halachic divorce by a recalcitrant spouse. Indeed she not only gave an overview of this complex issue, which exemplifies the Jewish-Democratic “dual personality” of the State of Israel, but also provided personal examples from her wealth of experience in battling on behalf of victims of get-refusal – who have sometimes waited in legal limbo for seven years or more before finally being able to move forward with their lives.
Having seen firsthand the tragic consequences of these situations, Dr. Levmore then described to her fascinated listeners a potential solution: The Heskem l’kavod hadadi: The Agreement for Mutual Respect. Developed by Dr. Levmore together with two rabbinic experts, this unique pre-nuptial agreement seeks to prevent incidences of get-refusal by encompassing the halachic, legal, sociological, and psychological elements that contribute to the issue. The parents in the audience, particularly those whose children are on the threshold of marriage, appreciated the fact that Dr. Levmore then focused on the practical side of the matter, providing concrete guidance on how to educate young adults about the importance of signing a prenuptial agreement and how to ensure that they do so. All the participants left with both a greater understanding of the realities of get-refusal and the hope that “mutual respect” will become the watchword of the future.
On Motzei Shabbat, May 19th 2013, 60 people came to the Fuchsberg Center in Jerusalem ready for a night of fun and frivolity, at the Unite for Europe Party!
Each person was assigned a participating country upon arrival. That country became their chance to win some money in the voting sweepstake that was awarded at the end of the evening.
The evening was the night of the 58th Eurovision Song Contest, live from Sweden. Participants enjoyed light refreshments while watching the competition and rating each song whilst chatting and mingling.
Following the songs, came Eurovision trivia with lots of questions about European and Eurovision history and culture. Questions included: what is the capital of Azerbijan, what year did Abba win the Contest, and how do you say Thank You in Norwegian?! Prizes were awarded for correct answers!
Then came the scoring, with an entertaining commentary from the Master of Ceremonies, Gaby Pell!
The winning song was Denmark, with the Danish team very happy to have won the sweepstake. It was a party with European Flavor and a night to remember.
3000 IDF Soldiers + 18 Army Bases + 750 volunteers = How many hot dogs?
Bringing BBQs and Joy to the IDF on Yom Ha’atzmaut
The International Young Israel Movement (IYIM)–Israel Region / National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) & Standing Together made sure that soldiers who had to remain on active duty did not miss out on Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations this year. As hordes of Israelis headed for the national parks, beaches and any empty pieces of land to hold their annual BBQs, these soldiers would have been left forlornly on their bases. But then their visitors arrived!
“I now know what military logistics is all about,” stated Standing Together Director of Development Miriam Gottlieb, after she coordinated a BBQ “operation” that involved 750 volunteers visiting 18 bases throughout Israel. Miriam coordinated the volunteers, the food, the drinks, the BBQ grills and so much more.
Our BBQ farthest to the North took place on a Golani base in the Golan Heights, where the man on the scene was Rabbi Ephraim Schwartz of the Young Israel of Karmiel. He was joined by volunteers from Ra’anana in bringing cheer, inspiration, solidarity – and most importantly, lots of meat – to our soldiers. With over 200 soldiers in the division the volunteers had their work cut out for them. Grills were set up, watermelons, pitas, and homemade cookies piled up on the tables, and the fun began! To make sure the soldiers built up an appetite, the visiting teens and children challenged them to some American football, hockey and frisbee. Rabbi Schwartz pointed out to the soldiers that many of their visitors were new Olim who never had the privilege to serve our country in the armed forces. “This is one way that we Olim show our soldiers how much we care and honor their dedication,” Rabbi Schwartz told members of the base.
At a Southern base, near Tel Arad, Miriam Gottlieb brought her extended family and a community from Ramat Beit Shemesh. This training base had over 200 soldiers who couldn’t believe their eyes as car after car rolled into the military compound. “The volunteers BBQ’ed like veteran Israelis! It was so heartwarming to see that these people who left America, England, and Australia did not leave their Zionism and volunteerism behind,” stated Daniel Meyer (Exec.-Director, IYIM) who was also at the base. As she watched the soldiers eating, Miriam Gottlieb commented: “Yom Ha’atzmaut is a celebration of a strong Jewish Nation living in their Homeland. This is best symbolized by the brave soldiers of the IDF. That is why we feel it is so important to be with them on this day, because who deserves the BBQ more than they do?” Elsewhere in the South, a group of 30 students studying in Israel on a one-year Yeshiva program hired a bus to take them to a base on the Gaza/Egyptian border.
At one of the bases in the center of the country, Ceec Harrishburg (President, IYIM) was joined by another 40 volunteers. Despite the day being so cold and windy the grills stayed alight, and the volunteers stood by their “posts,” barbecuing constantly in order to have everything ready when their very surprised, very hungry and very appreciative soldiers arrived. “I have never seen so many volunteers grill burgers and hot dogs, whip up salads, cut pitas in half, pop open cans of pickles, open those ketchup squeeze-tops – and then set everything out on the tables for the main event – so quickly,” observed Mr. Harrishburg.
The project’s greatest feedback is the warm smiles and enthusiastic thank yous of the many soldiers who had assumed they would be spending a rather dreary Yom Ha’atzmaut on their bases. Seargent Nir on the Golan base described just how meaningful it was for all of the soldiers to be remembered and valued on this special day. Avi, a soldier from New York, told the participants: “It is awesome to hear and see my fellow English-speaking immigrants show how important Yom Ha’atzmaut is to them by spending it with us. My family is in the States but this group of volunteers reminded me that we are all family over here.”
In fact the numbers are astounding – 6,000 hot dogs, 3,000 hamburgers, hundreds and hundreds of pitas, oodles of different salads, cans and cans of pickles, bottles and bottles of drinks and large quantities of humus and ketchup. All that food, combined with hundreds of willing volunteers, added up to a wonderful day for thousands of IDF soldiers.
A special evening in commemoration of the Rav Solveitchik’s 20th Yahrzeit
IYIM was one of the sponsoring organizations at a special evening in commemoration of the Rav Solveitchik’s 20th Yahrzeit on Wednesday April 10th at the Yeshurun Central Synagogue, Jerusalem.
Hundreds of people attended the program which began with greetings by Rabbi Dr. Aaron Adler, Rav of Kehilat Ohel Nechama. This was followed by words from Dr Tova Lichtenstein, Rav Soloveitchik’s daughter with a personal account of her father and his life. Rav Mayer Lichtenstein, grandson of the Rav, then addressed the crowd on the topic: Implications of the Rav’s Worldview for Contemporary Israeli society.
We would like to thank Rabbi Reuven Tradburks, Director of RCA Israel for all his efforts.
Leading Religious Zionist candidate for the upcoming elections for the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Harav David Stav addressed a capacity crowd of over two hundred people, in English on Wednesday 3rd of April, 2013. The event took place at the Beit Knesset Hanasi - Young Israel of Rechavia and was sponsored by the synagogue and the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) - Israel Region. Rav Stav addressed the issue of "The future of the Chief Rabbinate: A National Rabbinate or a Sectoral Rabbinate?" The Rabbi discussed many of the topical issues facing the Chief Rabbinate today. The talk was informative, thought provoking and was very well received by the audience. It was followed by many interesting questions to the Rav from the audience.
Please check our website for future talks by leading speakers in the Jewish world today.
On Wednesday April 3rd 2013, 50 family members and friends of the Shebson Family travelled to the Hatzerim Air Force Base, near Beer Sheva, for a special Torah Dedication. The Torah was dedicated by Lionel Shebson and family in memory of his dear sister, Freda Rosenfeld Z”L.
Upon arrival the group was met by the Rabbi of the base, Rabbi Yisrael Stoller and was taken on a guided tour of the planes of the Air Force Museum. The tour ended with the participants sitting inside a plane and watching a video about the history of the air force.
Following this, Lionel and some close members of the family, met with the Base Commander to place the Sefer Torah cover on the Torah. The Commander explained that the Torah will be used both on the base and as a travelling Torah in times of war.
The group then made their way to the Binui Unit (the unit in charge of repairing planes). Music played as the many guests and soldiers accompanied and took it in turn to hold the Torah to the Beit Knesset under the Chuppa (canopy). Upon the arrival at the Beit Knesset, the music, singing and dancing continued. Following the placement of the Sefer Torah in the Aron Hakodesh (ark), Lionel shared some moving words about his sister, followed by the Base commander.
At the celebratory lunch that was held in the Officers’ dining room, Ceec Harrishburg, President of IYIM addressed the crowd and presented members of the family with a certificate of thanks. Ilana Braude, daughter of Freda Rosenfeld Z”L, spoke about her mother and thanked her uncle for initiating this most fitting tribute to the memory of her dear mother.
FOR IDF COMBAT SOLDIERS SERVING IN THE GUSH ETZION AND HEBRON REGIONS
Yom Ha'atzmaut - Israel Independence Day - is a national holiday in Israel. It has become an annual ritual that hordes head to the country's national parks, beaches and any empty lots to have Bar-B-Qs with friends and/or family. However combat soldiers on active duty must continue defending the country, protecting citizens and carrying out security missions. Why should they miss out?
On a visit to New York, Daniel Meyer, Executive Director of IYIM, was invited to the Nachalat Zion Synagogue in Brooklyn, New York where a joyous brit was taking place on Erev Pesach. Daniel was greeted by Chaim Polack – Treasurer of the Synagogue who had told Daniel to come and collect a few Torah scrolls to be donated to the IDF.
Daniel was greatly surprised, when the dynamic Rabbi of the Synagogue, Gil Friedman told him that they were giving him 20 Torah scrolls!
After meeting various Board members, congregants and veterans of the IDF, the Torah scrolls were laid out on tables in the main sanctuary. The Rabbi (a trained scribe) and Daniel inspected each one. The smallest of the Torah scrolls which is designated for the Israeli Navy, returned with Daniel to Israel. The options of the bringing and distribution of the other nineteen scrolls to Israel are now being investigated so that they can be placed on bases as part of the IYIM Redeem a Torah project. (www.redeematorah.org).
IYIM-Israel in conjunction with the American friends of Israel Hatzair chaired by Mr. Meir Mishkoff once again ran a successful internet Kimcha D’Pischa/Maot Chittim Campaign.
All funds collected were distributed through the Young Israel of Bnei Dekalim, the new community that has grown out of the destroyed Neve Dekalim in Gush Katif which boasted a beautiful Young Israel synagogue, and is presently being rebuilt in the Lachish region. We are happy to announce that the first permanent structures there are now taking shape.
The funds were used to purchase shmura matzot for 175 families that are presently residing in Ein Tzurim and include ex-residents from 3 Gush Katif communities. Thanks to Mr. Shlomo Yulius – President of Young Israel of (Neve) Bnei Dekalim.
One of the things that you quickly learn when dealing with the army is that plans change from day to day. IYIM-Israel had arranged for a Mishloach Manot distribution to the sailors of the Israeli navy. A week before the distribution the Navy told us that the Commander of the Navy had ordered all ships out on the water for a 3 day exercise and we could still come and meet with all the land based soldiers. The day before our trip, the Navy called to say the ships would be returning to shore whilst we were in Haifa.
On the 20th February, 2013 – 40 members and friends of IYIM-Israel, ZOA and Mizrachi – spent an hour packing the bus with 1300 Mishlaoch Manot before we departed to Haifa. On our arrival we were greeted by the Chief Rabbi of the Navy, Rabbi Lior Barda who was to be our host for the day. After a brief introduction, he took us to the docks where the ships were sailing in at the conclusion of their maneuvers. As they walked down the gang planks, our joyous group was there to meet them with smiles and Mishlaoch Manot. Amazing interactions took place between the sailors and the group. We were also addressed by one ship commander, were allowed to board the largest ship in the Navy and be addressed on board by one of the Officer’s. The packages were distributed on eight ships.
After a scrumptious lunch in the dining hall it was time to visit another secret base on a hill overlooking Haifa harbor and then to leave some packages with Rav Barda to give to the Navy frogmen who we were not allowed to meet.
Both the sailors and the participants agreed it was a once in a lifetime experience.
5800 Mishloach Manot delivered to the IDF 750 Food Parcels to the poor of Sderot 400 Person to Person Mishloach Manot
Thank You to all those kind friends around the world that allowed us to reach these astounding numbers. Thank you to Meir Mishkoff (New York), Ceec Harrishburg, Daniel M. Meyer and Shelley Vogel (Jerusalem)
750 families in Sderot benefited from our annual Matanot Le'evyonim campaign via the Young Israel of Sderot - Doresh Tov community.
In close partnership with Rubin Margules (New York) & Jeff Daube (Jerusalem) of the ZOA and Solly Sacks and Daniel Cohen of the World Mizrachi Movement we were able to pack & deliver 5,800 packages to the following IDF Units:
2400 to soldiers at Natan Base - Beersheva
1200 to Sailors at Haifa Naval Docks
1000 to Lone Soldiers - with no family in Israel
900 to soldiers to Yehuda & Shomoron
200 to the elite Sayeret Yahalom Unit
Also soldiers at: Kever Rochel, Har Zeitim, Gush Etzion
Thank you to the students of Yeshivat Orayata, Yeshivat Nachal, Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh, Yeshivat Darkeynu, Michlelet Esther, Midreshet Lindenbaum, Midreshet Darkeynu and Midreshet Harova & IYIM Beineinu ...5,800 mishloach manot.
The annual IYIM-Israel Matanot Le'evyonim campaign for the poor of Sderot hit a new record this year in terms of funds contributed by members and friends worldwide. In close cooperation with our Sderot branch - Kehillat Doresh Tov - and our partners at the Mercaz Chesed, we were able to provide Purim meals for hundreds of families. A big Yasher Koach to all who participated.
A Lone Soldier in the IDF is classically defined as one who has made Aliyah – immigrated to Israel without his or her family. Today there are roughly 2000 of these soldiers serving in the army from countries from across the globe. This year IYIM, ZOA and Mizrachi decided to pay tribute to their “sacrifices” by distributing 1000 Mishloach Manot to these soldiers on bases throughout Israel. In a private meeting with a number of these soldiers they told us that even though the Mishlaoch Manot were tasty, it was the thoughts and caring behind them that meant so much. They felt that they were not alone and were appreciated.
On February 19th, 2013, a select group of the leadership of IYIM, the Zionist Organization of America and the World Mizrachi Movement went on a Mishloach Manot delivery expedition to army bases that don’t often see people arriving in civilian clothing, let alone bearing gifts.
The chosen area was the greater Gush Etzion region and a base just North of Jerusalem. The expedition began on the central base of Gush Etzion where we met soldiers from the Kfir brigade who patrol the highways 24/7 and other soldiers. We then moved on to the Karmei Tzur base in the Hebron hills where again the soldiers were delighted to see us. We then trekked to the famous Herodian mountain under which there is an army base. We walked into the dining hall as the 60-70 soldiers were eating lunch. They were surprised to see us and of course invited us to join their meal. At the end of the meal the Unit commander called us into his office where he presented battalion medals to the group. There was one final base in the Gush, Meitzad where we found 30 soldiers literally in the middle of nowhere, who could not believe their eyes when we arrived at their isolated outpost. To say that they were happy to see us is a gross understatement. The day ended in the Ofer army base just North of Jerusalem.
On Thursday February 14, IYIM hosted a Yom Iyun in loving memory of Gershon Ben Yitzchak Meir Z”L (George Mishkoff), father of Meir Mishkoff. The proceeds went to the annual IDF Mishloach Manot Campaign.
Three former US Rabbis spoke at this Yom Iyun, the first in a series of such events based around the cycle of the Jewish year. The program opened with Rabbi Yaacov J Schwartz, former Rav of Young Israel of Oceanside, NY and who now lives in Beit Shemesh. The next speaker was Rav Dovid Gottlieb, formerly of Shomrei Emunah, Baltimore and who now lives in Beit Shemesh. The last speaker was Rav Reuven Spolter formerly of Young Israel of Oak Park, Michigan, who now lives in Yad Binyamin. Each of these dynamic young Talmidei Chachamim (Torah Scholars) spoke on a different aspect of Purim.
The feedback was extremely positive and we are currently planning our next Yom Iyun for Pesach, on March 10th, 2013.
David and Ethel Hollander z”l were two people who loved the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. They visited Israel many times, combining the visited to their children and grandchildren with volunteering on Sarel bases.
Their three daughters, spurred on by their grandchildren, decided that there was no better way to perpetuate the memory of their parents than by dedicating a Sefer Torah to the IDF. It was decided that the dedication would take place on David’s first yahrzeit.
On Wednesday, February 13th, Debbie & Peter Abelow, Judy and Shmuel Davidovics and Sandy & Phylis Zlotnik, together with their children and grandchildren in Israel, headed to the Adam base, about 15 minutes north of Yerushalayim. There they met the IDF Rabbinate choir and a surprise guest, the Chief Chazzan of the IDF, Shai Abramson. The guests and soldiers on the base sang and danced until night fall. The procession down the hill was loud and joyful. At the synagogue, guests and soldiers recited “pasukim” as the Torah was placed into the ark.
Beineinu – Pre-Purim Jerusalem Masquerade Party and Mishloach Manot Packing for Chayalim
On Tuesday, February 12th, 50 people arrived at the lobby of Heichal Shlomo in Jerusalem in their best fancy dress costume, for a Pre-Purim masquerade party and mishloach manot for Chayalim packing event.
The evening began with a get-to-know-you game. Participants were asked to find out about one another. The room filled with chatter and laughter as the attendees became acquainted.
Afterwards, the winners of the fancy dress competition were announced. Prizes that were handed out included, a meal for two in Sushi Rechvia, Jerusalem, yogurt shakes for two at Re-bar, and coffee and cake vouchers for Aroma Café. All of the prizes were donated by the restaurants.
Throughout the night, light refreshments and wine were served.
Perhaps the highlight of the evening was the Mishloach Manot packing for soldiers.The guests filled up bags with goodies to be distributed just before Purim.
Participants were happy to have had a good time, as well as accomplishing something meaningful for IDF soldiers.
Once again, IYIM-Israel in partnership with the ZOA Israel and the World Mizrachi Movement, undertook the mammoth task of packing 3500 Mishloach Manot for the soldiers of the IDF. These packages will be hand delivered by members and friends before Purim. The packaging took place at the IYIM offices in Heichal Shlomo in Jerusalem. IYIM was ably assisted by students in the one year programs from: Yeshivat Orayata, Yeshivat Nachal, Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh, Yeshivat Darkeynu, Michlelet Esther, Midreshet Lindenbaum, Midreshet Darkeynu and Midreshet Harova. The highlight of the packing was a pre-Purim masquerade packing party sponsored by the IYIM Beineinu program.
On a high hill top overlooking the site where the Mishkan in Shiloh is said to have stood, IYIM – Israel was once again proud to deliver a Sefer Torah to the IDF - this time to the Search and Rescue Unit on the Maale Levonah base.
The Torah, which was dedicated in loving memory of Irving & Ruth Oratz z”l, by their children Suzie & Ben-Zion Lowinger, Dina & Noah Perlman and Rabbi Joe & Debbie Oratz, was initially meant to be dedicated two months earlier. The military action in Gaza necessitated postponement.
The group of celebrants was met by Major Richard (an immigrant from Scotland) and his brave soldiers. Richard gave a security overview of the area that they are protecting.
A joyful procession then took place around the base with the soldiers and participants taking turns holding the Sefer Torah under the Chuppah. The Sefer Torah was then placed into the Aron Kodesh on this new base, followed by the keviat hamezuah (affixing of the Mezuzah) on the doorpost of the synagogue.
Afterwards, the participants enjoyed a light meal, highlighted by the Sefer Torah cake that the chef of the base had baked.
On January 21st2013, 48 members and friends of IYIM-Israel participated in an Investigative Field Trip to the Negev which was led by Ari Briggs of Regavim, an organization which was set up to ensure responsible, accountable and legal usage of Israel’s national lands .
The tour started at Al-Zarnog, an illegal Bedouin village built on Jewish land. The group heard about the history of the village and the issues surrounding it.
The next stop was Laqiya Water Tower in the town of Laqiya, founded in 1982.From there the group saw a view of the surrounding area and heard more about the Bedouin settlements in the region.
The tour continued to Kibbutz Cramim where the group enjoyed a delicious lunch and heard a short Dvar Torah from Rabbi Oppenheimer of the Young Israel of Forest Hills who was visiting Israel with his daughter.
The group continued on to see Hura, located near Beer Sheva which is one of the seven Bedouin townships with approved plans and developed infrastructure.
The final stop was the Har Shemesh Farm, run by Shushu Har Shemesh, her husband and their nine children. They have run the farm for twenty years and the participants heard a very interesting account of their life there and how they have been subjected to the theft of their flocks and attacks from nearby Bedouins.
Participants commented on how informative and interesting the trip was.
IYIM at the International Conference of Rabbis and Communal Leaders in Yerushalayim
On Monday 31st December, IYIM was invited to participate in this important annual Conference in Yerushalayim. The Conference organized by Rabbi Yechiel Wasserman (Head of the Center for Religious Affairs in the Diaspora, WZO) brought 150 Rabbanim from Orthodox communities in the Diaspora. The rabbis came from the USA, UK, Italy, Morroco, South Africa and Turkey for this annual gathering.
Topics that were addressed by Rabbanim, strategic experts, politicians, academics and more included: The Spiritual Leader in a period of crisis, A Security Overview - the burning Middle East, New Innovations in the Jewish World and Jewish Continuity.
IYIM was represented by Executive Director, Daniel Meyer.
Remembering Joe….Sefer Torah to the IDF in Memory of Joe Polansky Z”L
The family of Joe Polansky Z”L, IYIM Board member and long time Young Israel activist, wanted to commemorate his first yahrzeit in a meaningful way that illustrated Joe’s commitment to the Torah, the Land of Israel and the brave soldiers of Israel. Joe Z”L and his wife Rozanne, in partnership with the Tryfus family had previously dedicated a Torah to the IDF, and so the family decided that this was the most fitting memorial to Joe.
On Monday December 24th (10th of Tevet, the date of the yahrzeit) family and friends of Joe Polansky z”l headed south to the main IDF training base of the Southern commands in Tzeilim for the dedication. On arrival they were met by Rav Zazuto, Head Rabbi of the Southern command and General Tal, Commander of this important Training Base. The group ate a nice lunch during which they were addressed by the Base Commander. He explained what goes on at the Base and the barrage of rockets it took in the recent war, including a direct hit that injured three soldiers. Also at lunch, Motty Polansky, Joe's son, made a Siyum and said Kaddish along with his brother Dovid, in memory of their father.
Following the lunch and Siyyum, there was a Hachnasat Sefer Torah procession outside the Base Synagogue. The IDF Commanders, Rabbanim and soldiers were honored with carrying and dancing with the Torah, as well as Joe's sons and Ari Drazin, Joe’s grandson, who is studying at Yeshivat Hakotel. Others honored were Ceec Harrishburg (President, IYIM), Dr. Sheldon Abramson (IYIM-Board) and many friends, some who knew Joe for over 60 years.
The Sefer Torah was also dedicated to Joe’s neighbor, Raphael Yonah, on his second yahrzeit, 11 Tevet. Raphael was another American oleh who, with his wife Dawn, also lived in Nof Zion, Jerusalem and died the year before. In fact, Joe’s last mitzvah was saying the final kaddish for his friend and neighbor.
Leo V. Berger Fund donates another Torah to the IDF
Harvey Schwartz, President of the Leo V. Berger Fund was in attendance as the Fund once again dedicated a Sefer Torah to the IDF Rabbinate via the Young Israel Sifrei Torah for the IDF Project. The Torah held special significance as it was saved from the ashes of the Holocaust and today in its restored state will be a proud “member” of the IDF and be used on a combat base.
Mr. Schwartz noted that the Torah was part of a series of Sifrei Torah that have been given to the IDF through a Challenge Grant given to the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM). For every two Sifrei Torah that IYIM facilitates to be given to the IDF, the Leo V. Berger Fund will dedicate a third. Next in the series will be a small Sefer Torah that will be placed on an Israeli Navy submarine.
NCYI & IYIM bring light to the Soldiers of the IDF on Chanukah
Kind contributions by Young Israel members and friends on both sides of the ocean allowed for the distribution of gift packages to our chayalim on 3 consecutive days of Chanukah. On Monday night (3rd candle) Young Israel joined the regional of council of Gush Etzion in thanking the soldiers who operate in this area between Kever Rachel and Hebron. The ceremony was addressed by Davidi Perl (Mayor of Gush Etzion), General D. (Army Regional Commander) and Daniel Meyer (Exec.-Director, IYIM-Israel). The chayalim were very touched that fellow Jews thousands of miles away cared about them.
The next day a further distribution took place in Heichal Shlomo where the offices of Young Israel in Israel are located and which was the scene of four days of Judaic enrichment for hundreds of soldiers.
The final distribution took place in “the field” where combat soldiers are ensuring the safety of the roads in Yehuda & Shomron.
On Friday 30th November, 60 people between the ages of 30 and 42 from all over Israel made their way to the Tel Aviv Hotel in the holy city of Tzfat for a Mystical Shabbaton organized by Micki Lavin-Pell, Director of Beineinu, the singles division of IYIM. The Shabbaton began with a beautiful Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv service in the famous Ari Synagogue in the Old City of Tzfat.The group returned to the Hotel for a sumptuous Friday night dinner with Divrei Torah and zmirot.This was followed by a talk given by Rav Ariel Konstantyn from the Tel Aviv Synagogue on the subject of “Mystics and Magic: A Perspective on Kabbalah”, where Rabbi Konstantyn revealed the role of magic in Judaism.
The participants were then taken on the “Star Constellation Tour” a romantic walk led by Tour Guide, Moshe Friedman. An exhilarating Oneg Shabbat followed with beautiful singing, exciting games, tasty treats and great conversation.
Shabbat morning, the group headed to the Abuhav Synagogue, a 15th-century synagogue named after a 15th-century Spanish Rabbi and Kabbalist. Upon returning to the hotel, the group gathered in the lounge to hear Kabbalistic Astrologer and Spiritual Counselor, Malka Lasarow’s discussion , “Reflections on our path to completion, based on Kabbalah and Astrology.” After Lunch, participants walked the 1948 Tzfat battlegrounds with Moshe Friedman where participants heard about Tzfat’s historical and political origins and learned about the people who enabled the city to survive a challenging period.
The group returned for Seuda Shlishit with exuberant singing and titillating divrei Torah. After Maariv, the group gathered together for a musical havdalah led by Rabbi Konstantyn.
The next Shabbaton is planned for February at the Dead Sea for ages 30-42. To find out how you can register contact Micki Lavin-Pell at: email@example.com.
The Bnai Raphael Chesed Organization of Brooklyn, New York, decided to make a very special contribution to the IDF and it’s efforts during last week’s fighting in Gaza and the Southern communities. Rather than sending money or food to the brave combat soldiers of the IDF, Bnai Raphael donated two kosher Sifrei Torah.
President of Bnai Raphael, Raphael Hazan stated: “We wanted to make our contribution to Israel and her brave soldiers – and we know that the Israeli army does not operate only on its physical might. We also wanted to present something that would continue to be utilized after the war. We are glad to have been able to make this unique contribution.”
The Torahs were donated through the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) – Sifrei Torah for the IDF project (www.redeematorah.org) that has seen over 200 Torahs donated from congregations and by individuals throughout North America.
The Torahs were brought to Israel by Director of Bnai Raphael Jonathan Terebelo, together with Raphael Hazan’s son, Moshe. They were escorted by Executive Director of IYIM, Daniel Meyer, to the headquarters of the IDF Rabbinate. There they were met by the base commander, Major-General Y, as well as other officers and IDF Rabbis. They toured the IDF Headquarters compound and learnt about the integral role the IDF Rabbinate plays throughout Israel’s military.
Jonathan Terebelo stated: “We were very glad to be able to bring these Torahs to Israel. It was especially meaningful for us to land here during a state of war. We were very honored to be greeted by so many officers and rabbis, learning from them about the workings of the IDF Rabbinate, and the tour of the base was a once in a lifetime experience.”
Moshe Hazen, a graduate of an IDF fighting unit, emphasized how important it is that every soldier be able to fulfill his spiritual needs while serving in the IDF – whether being to lein from a kosher Sefer Torah, put on a pair of kosher tefillin, and more.
Daniel Meyer, when presenting the certificate of appreciation, stated: “Thank you to Raphael, Jonathan, Moshe, all those associated with Bnai Raphael and Rabbi Pesach Lerner. We are proud to be a conduit between generous shuls, families and individuals who realize the importance of every IDF base and reserve unit having it’s own Sefer Torah. On Day 4 of the war last week, many, many Sifrei Torah left this base to the numerous soldiers and reservists who found themselves relocated to the South from their regular bases.”
Everyone’s been talking about Sderot – but on Thursday, 29 November, 2012, fifty-five people did something about it. That was the day we headed down south, to the beleaguered city of Sderot. Population 24,000: a mixture of North African, Russian, and other immigrant families, struggling to make a rudimentary living while keeping their children safe, to maintain some degree of normal life while under constant Tzeva Adom (code red siren) bombardment.
We headed off on Thursday morning to do the kind of tzedaka that boosts the self-esteem of the recipient rather than making him feel needy. We were on our way for an SSS – Sderot Shopping Solidarity trip, organized by IYIM, the International Young Israel Movement – Israel Region.
Our first stop was the Sderot Teen Café. Run by Kehillat Doresh Tov, the Young Israel of Sderot, the goal of the Teen Café is to give the local teenagers – many suffering Traumatic Stress Disorder, others just generally stressed – a place to call their own. But even the sanctuary meant to provide refuge had itself fallen victim to the never-ending missile bombardment. During the recent conflict, a rocket had fallen just outside the café, damaging the building’s interior. Now, just a few days later, we sat there in the dark – because all the lights had been literally knocked out of the ceiling – and listened to Yael, mother of five, computer programmer-turned-audiology-student, tell us about life under fire. Then we enjoyed a delicious Mid-Eastern lunch, amply provided (to their great delight – business had, needless to say, been pretty sparse lately) by the small “Steakiya” take-out place next door.
Next door to the shul was a small toy store that I remembered well. I had been here other times – and never seen anyone but myself inside the shop. This time I got everyone in on the act: Throughout the morning, and they wandered in and out of the store buying “chachkas” from bubbles to bath toys, several breaking their teeth on random Hebrew words as they tried to explain what they were looking for. Our efforts were not in vain. The surly storekeeper, whose gruffness appeared permanent, actually came outside to bid us all good-bye: and I distinctly saw him smile. This had not even been our “official” shopping stop, but for one man, our trip had already transformed his reality.
Putting it all into perspective, our next stop involved a rather precipitous (for the non-athletes among us) climb to the top of the world: more specifically, to the city’s summit, from which we could look down into Gaza. At its closest point, Sderot is only 840 meters – just half a mile – from the source of its attacks. Standing here at the site where, just last week, CNN, BBC, and much of the world’s media had encamped to film the conflict, looking down on enemy territory, so close I felt I could reach out and touch it, the challenge of what Israel contends with suddenly became all too real. It was a somber reminder of why we were here.
When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. Our trip’s motto, perhaps? Certainly it was now time for some serious shopping. Our bus headed down to one of Sderot’s two shopping centers. I was saddened to see that the pet shop had closed permanently, another small business decimated by the fatal combination of a low-income populace and people afraid to leave their homes. But there was lots of other shopping to be done. Every few minutes, someone would return to the bus weighed down with bags or pushing a shopping cart, filled with groceries, Shabbat shopping, or Chanukah gifts. For me, it was time to buy some toys for my daughter. The tiny storefront I entered was empty except for the young woman at the small counter, who questioned me about the sudden influx of strangers in her “downtown.” Who were we? From where had we come? And why? In return for my responses, she volunteered her life story: “My husband and I arrived here as newlyweds,” she recalled, “and then I fell running down the stairs to the building air-raid shelter. Now, it is painful for me to go down quickly – as I must, whenever the siren goes off. Plus,” she added, giving me a bit of insight into the constant pressure of life for local residents, “since the birth of my baby, I am always worried. I won’t go into the shower when my husband is not home – because what if, during those two minutes, the siren goes off? It would take more than 15 seconds for me to get out, grab my daughter, and run down the stairs! I don’t wash the floor when he’s not home either – because the wet surface would slow us down as we head for the door…” Not surprisingly, she concluded, they wanted to leave, and were hoping to afford the move.
Yet even she was cheered by the shoppers traipsing in and out of her shop. “You have all done a great thing!” she called out as I waved good-bye and, climbing over everyone’s packages, found my seat on the bus. We had done what we had come to do.
But there was one last stop before we would head home. The Mercaz Chesed (Chesed Center) of Sderot opens its doors daily to enable anyone in need to acquire their food basics. Fruits, vegetables, oil, sugar, flour – it’s all here. Usually. The previous week, afraid to be outside during a missile attack, many people had simply stopped food shopping. Indeed, one reason we had come down was to help the shopkeepers who had, as a consequence, earned no income during that period. But the flip side was: many of those would-be shoppers, especially the poor and elderly among them, had used the Center as a one-stop-shop for their edible essentials, leaving it on “empty,” completely drained of supplies. Until we arrived. Much of our group’s shopping, it turned out, had actually been to help re-stock the empty shelves, and these eager donors were now “schlepping” huge shopping bags inside. Even here we managed to get in a bit of shopping: the Center runs a thrift shop, with most clothing selling for 4 shekels an item – and who could resist a bargain like that?
Finally, wallets emptier, bags and hearts filled, we headed home. Sderot Shopping Solidarity had been a day of shopping that truly everyone – buyers and sellers alike – enjoyed.
On Wednesday November 21st, we at the International Young Israel Movement – Israel Region with the backing of you, our kind supporters and friends, decided to represent you and go down South to visit both civilians and soldiers.
Accompanied by Rebbetzin Linda Mann of the Young Israel of Phoenix, Arizona and Yehoshua Ehrenpreis, our first stop was Sderot. Sderot is a city that has been under constant missile barrages for the last 12 years due to the fact that it is 7km/5 miles from the Gaza border. We drove through what can only be described as a ghost town. There were very few cars on the road and they sped by. We were told to drive with our seatbelts unfastened in case there was a siren, we would only have 15 seconds to find shelter.
We went to the makolet next door to the Young Israel of Sderot and bought goodies for the chayalim and ice creams just to give him some parnassah. We then met Yael Spanglet our coordinator of our Teen Café in Sderot. We were shocked when we walked into the café. A rocket had fallen just behind it on Tuesday and externally there was no damage but when we entered, the vibrations had caused damage to the ceilings, one wall, the lighting and air conditioner.
We were then joined by Yael’s husband our dear friend David, who was in army uniform having been called up to serve in a nearby base – this with 5 children at home. At this juncture we were able to hand over a check for 25,000 shekels to support them. We then visited the 3rd member of our leadership in Sderot, Igal Bracha who is presently stationed in the “war room” in Sderot and is in charge of supplies (cleaning, food, toys etc.) for all the bomb shelters.
We then proceeded to the second half of our day where due to the efforts of our partner David Landau from Standing Together we able to enter a closed military zone where hundreds of Golani soldiers were stationed ready to enter Gaza – this was the FRONTLINE. What was amazing was that after 4 days of “sitting” in the desert they were still highly motivated and determined. They were so grateful for the supplies we brought down (much of what we take for granted) – deodorant, toothpaste, wipes, warm socks, winter hats, popsicles, chocolates, cookies and more. They asked me to pass on their thanks to all those kind people who contributed financially or by dropping off food, drinks etc, to the drop off points. We found two neighbors amongst the soldiers and it was extremely hard to say goodbye know that an hour later they may be fighting a war against a vicious enemy.
So now there is a ceasefire but the boys will still be there for at least another few days.
The people of Sderot will begin to rebuild their lives and rebuild the Teen Café.
We will be with them with our daily convoys to the soldiers and our long term commitment to our community in Sderot.
On November 13th 2012, 48 members and friends of IYIM-Israel participated in a tour of East Jerusalem entitled: Jerusalem: To Divide or not to Divide? Organized together with Im Eshakachech – Keep Jerusalem.
The tour began at Ammunition Hill where the group watched a very informative video of the battle for Jerusalem during the 1967 war.
Next stop was Nebi Samuel, where the prophet Shmuel is buried. From there the group saw a breathtaking view of Jerusalem from North to South and received an explanation of the borders of East Jerusalem and its inhabitants.
The tour continued with a visit to Atarot, where the group heard about how East Jerusalem has changed its landscape and demographics over the decades.
The final stop was the biblical Givat Shaul/King Hussein’s Palace, where participants saw another breathtaking view of Jerusalem and were informed about the security, political and strategic issues relating to the option of dividing Jerusalem.
Participants commented on how much they enjoyed the day and how informative it was. Our next tour is planned for Chanukah, so please make sure to contact our office: firstname.lastname@example.org before your next trip to Israel.
Harvey and Judy Kasdan, formerly of Los Angeles and now, Baka, Jerusalem watched a presentation on Pesach at a Hotel in Netanya organized by Eddie’s Travel. In the 49th year of their happy and devoted marriage this presentation solidified in their minds how they wished to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary along with family and friends. The presentation was of the International Young Israel Movement’s – Sefer Torah for the IDF project.
Having decided to do something meaningful to commemorate this special milestone, Harvey and Judy chose this program because it best represented their love of Torah, love of the Land of Israel and love of the people of Israel and the brave soldiers of the Israel Defense Force. Their Torah was dedicated in memory of their beloved parents and a cousin who was killed during the Yom Kippur war.
On October 10th, two days after Sukkot ended, the Kasdans along with over 50 friends and family members travelled to the Hatzerim Air Force base in the Negev to present their Torah. On arrival the group were met by the Rabbi of the base, Rabbi Yisrael Stoller and were taken on a guided tour of the Air Force museum. The group saw pre-independence planes through to the F-16 fighters.
Then began the “party” as the group met up with a large contingent of soldiers who led the Torah on its musical journey from the Base Commanders office to the Beit Knesset, with many guests and soldiers holding and dancing with the Torah. On entering the Beit Knesset the dancing continued with gusto. When it finally slowed down Harvey placed the Torah in the newly built Aron Hakodesh. Rav Chagai (Chief Rabbi of the Air Force) spoke, followed by the Base commander who presented Harvey and Judy with a plaque of thanks, and then Harvey addressed the crowd. At the celebratory lunch that was held in the Officers dining room, Rabbi Ian Pear and Daniel Meyer addressed the guests and thanked the Rabbanim who had organized the event.
Daniel Meyer (Exec. – Director of IYIM): “We thank the Kasdan’s for seeing the vital importance of the spiritual well being of our soldiers. We are proud that this is the eighth dedication we have made to the IDF in 2012 and have another five lined up before the year is out.”
Mark and Felicia Bernstein of Woodmere, NY were looking for a unique way to celebrate their son Sammy’s Barmitzvah. They wanted to make it a meaningful experience not only for Sammy, his family and friends but for others as well. They wanted it to represent the values that they wished to transfer to Sammy on his entering ‘manhood’ – love of the Torah, the Land of Israel, State of Israel and the brave soldiers of Israel.
They contacted the National Council of Young Israel to inquire about the International Young Israel Movement's Ruby Davidman z”l Sifrei Torah for the IDF project (www.redeematorah.org) and the result was Sammy’s Barmitzvah on the Zikkim base near Ashkelon, attended by 100 family and friends, and over 500 soldiers.
Sammy read beautifully from the Torah on the base synagogue, the festive prayers were accompanied by chazanim and were followed by a celebratory breakfast. As Sammy, his family and guests left the Sukkah, they were greeted by some 500 soldiers standing at attention next to the Sefer Torah adorned in a Torah cover, in memory of Sammy’s grandmother, Rosa Feder z”l. The music began and then an hour of unrivaled and joyous dancing took place, with not only the Torah being held aloft but also Sammy and his father Mark. Sammy’s grandfather. Moshe Feder was honored with carrying the Torah.
When the music finally softened and the dancing slowed, the base commander presented Sammy with a plaque of thanks from the unit. Mr. Ceec Harrishburg (President, IYIM, Israel) presented certificates to both Sammy and his parents to commemorate the special occasion. This was followed by speeches from Mark Bernstein and Rabbi Heshie Billet, Mora D’Atra of the Young Israel of Woodmere.
The day was not yet over, as the guests were treated by the officers and soldiers of the base to an explanation and demonstration of the search and rescue methods used by the IDF in times of civilian disaster and war. The day ended with lunch in the base sukkah where the guests were addressed by Felicia Bernstein and of course, Sammy, who will never forget his special day.
International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) spends Sukkot with the IDF
With a sukkah placed on the back of a flat bed army truck leading the way, IYIM – Israel region distributed hundreds of Sukkah treat packages to IDF soldiers on active duty in the Shomron on the third day Sukkot. The soldiers at first were startled to see civilian visitors but concern turned to smiles as they received their festive packages.
Many were bleary eyed from late night shifts but were happy to roll out of bed to receive their gifts. The soldiers were found in large bases, small bases and even on a shooting range.
One soldier a new immigrant and “lone soldier” from Los Angeles, California summed it up by stating: “You have truly made our Sukkot a joyful one. Thank you to all who have made this possible”. The IYIM Sukkot campaign was made possible through kid contributions by members and friends of IYIM worldwide.
Over 30 volunteers arrived at Ichlu Re'im Soup Kitchen in downtown Jerusalem on Friday September 7th, for Beineinu's Pre-Rosh Hashana Event, at Ichlu Reim Soup Kitchen. The day started with packing food parcels for Rosh Hashana. The group were then shown a film of the work of the soup kitchen, and heard a talk from the founder. The group then rolled up their sleeves to peel and chop apples and vegetables in preparation for food for the Chagim. A good time was had by all and people were happy to be involved in such a worthwhile activity while at the same time meeting new people.
The event was called “Sinai Echoes,” and indeed, reverberations of Kabbalat Hatorah filled the air of Jerusalem on this special night. The large enthusiastic crowd – men and women, grandparents with grandchildren in tow, tourists and age-old Jerusalem residents, those who had not missed a day of the Daf and those who had mastered their first page of Gemara this year – filled the awe-inspiring sanctuary of the Jerusalem Great Synagogue to celebrate the twelfth Siyum HaShas.
The Siyum HaShas – A Community-wide Celebration of the Daf HaYomi, held on August 9, 2012, was organized by the International Young Israel Movement – Israel Region (IYIM). It was an evening that gave English-speaking residents and visitors throughout the Jerusalem region an opportunity to join the entire Jewish world in commemorating of the completion of the Daf HaYomi, the daily-page-of-Talmud learning system pioneered by Rav Meir Shapiro in 1923 Lublin.
“A primary goal of our evening,” emphasized IYIM Executive-Director Daniel M. Meyer, “was to showcase the Torah achievements of Israel’s dati leumi community, both the many members of the community who completed the 7.5 year Daf Yomi cycle, as well as the extraordinary Torah scholarswe are fortunate to have in our midst.”
Among those “extraordinary Torah scholars” who addressed the audience were Rav Dovid Miller, Rosh Kollel of the Jerusalem RIETS (Gruss) Kollel; Rav Shlomo Riskin, founding Chief Rabbi of Efrat and Chancellor of the Ohr Torah Stone academic network; speaker and educator Rav Dovid Gottlieb; Rav Shmuel Hershler, who gives daily Daf Yomi shiurim in both the Yeshurun and Great Synagogues; and Rav Moshe Lichtenstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion. Rav Adin Steinsaltz, pre-eminent translator of the Talmud itself, was awarded the Amud HaTalmud in recognition of his making the Gemara accessible through his Steinzaltz Edition of the Talmud; the Amud HaTorah citation was awarded to Rav Yosef Carmel, Rabbinical Dean of the Eretz Hemdah Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies, for his work in the dayanus and halachic spheres.
Unique to this Siyum was the Salute to the IDF, with Canadian-born Harav Dovid Levine, Deputy Chief Rabbi of the Israel Air Force, embodying the harmony of Torah and service to the State of Israel. This Salute reflected as well “the true meaning of religious Zionism that our Siyum represents,” explained Ceec Harrishburg, Chairman of IYIM – Israel. “Our speakers and honorees demonstrated, not only in their words, but also in their life choices, the essence of sacrificing for Torah. Most of them are olim who left behind prestigious pulpits and teaching positions in their home towns, in order to learn and teach Torah here, as a fulfillment of their belief that Eretz Yisrael is the true spiritual center of the Jewish world.”
While the Siyum, co-sponsored by the Jerusalem Great Synagogue itself, as well as Yeshiva University Israel Alumni, the RCA-Israel, Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel, Torah MiTzion, and World Mizrachi, highlighted the religious Zionist community, it reflected as well the emphasis on achdut, Jewish unity, that is the true hallmark of Torah study. “Our Siyum was geared to all of Klal Yisrael – to every Jew who wishes to celebrate Torah learning,” concluded Meyer. And so it was tonight: The hall held both VIPs and audience members from across the charedi as well as the kippah serugah religious spectrums. All stood in unison for the Hadran that marked the end of one cycle’s learning and the beginning of the new; and all joined hands at the end of the evening to dance in joyous unity, in celebration of the Torah that is the shared legacy of the entire Jewish people.
The legendary Sayeret Matkal unit is the most elite and most secretive unit in the IDF. It has been the spearhead of many famous undercover operations (eg. Entebbe) most of which are still classified.
That is the reason this dedication could not take place on their base but rather at the Intelligence Corps Museum and Memorial. Two commanding officers from the unit came in civilian clothes came to meet and thank the Shraga’s and the other participants in person and were joined by a “Haredi” unit from the intelligence branch to celebrate the event.
After watching a film about the unit and presentations of certificates to the Shraga family from the Unit and IYIM, the Sefer Torah was joyously danced through an outdoor maze which represents the puzzle of intelligence work to the base synagogue. It was here, after pasukim were sung by various soldiers and officers, that Alex Shraga placed the Sefer Torah that he and his family kindly dedicated in honor of all the brave soldiers of the IDF. Amongst the participants were Ceec & Tema Harrishburg (President, IYIM) and IYIM Board members: Rozanne Polansky, Esther Schiller and Dr. Sheldon and Connie Abramson.
What better way to “recover” fromthe sadness of the three weeks then by having a good laugh? Beineinu organized a comedy evening with one of its very own, David Kilimnick who performed his “Find me a Wife” show. Held at the Off the Wall Comedy basement in Jerusalem participants were able to mingle as they smiled and rollicked at his jokes.
50 eager volunteers arrived at Ichlu Re'im Soup Kitchen in downtown Jerusalem on Friday July 29th, for Beineinu's Ahavat Chinam Event, aptly called as it took place just 2 days before Tisha B'Av. The morning started with packing food parcels for the needy of Jerusalem. The group were then shown a film of the work of the soup kitchen, heard a Dvar Torah about the importance of chesed and an interesting talk from the founder of the soup kitchen. The group then rolled up their sleeves to prepare vegatables for Shabbat food. The group were enthusiastic and really got involved in this activity. People commented on how enjoyable and meaningful it was and Micki Lavin Pell, the Director of Beineinu is considering making it into a monthly event.
62 People (equal amounts of men and women) from all over the country attended. The Shabbaton included a pre-shabbat tiyul to the site where Yaakov had his famous dream with the ladder, followed by meals with divrei torah, oneg Shabbat, games to help people meet, 3 shiurim, and a tiyul on Shabbat around Beit El. The group also visited the zoo set up in memory of 2 children from Beit El who were killed in a terror attack. Many couples met and dated as a result of meeting on Shabbat. Many people also attempted to set up their friends with people theymet over Shabbat with friends.
The International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) – Israel Region is proud to announce that is Sderot branch, Kehillat Doresh Tov, opened its new Teenage Café on Thursday 14th of June, 2012 in the presence of the Mayor of Sderot, David Bouskila and Executive-Director of IYIM, Daniel Meyer.
In line with IYIM’s ethos of providing services for the betterment of Israeli society from across the socio-economic spectrum and throughout the land the Teen Café is aimed at the youth from lower income homes in Sderot.
The Café will be open six nights a week, and operated by the teens themselves as well as volunteers from the Doresh Tov community and students from the academic college in the city. Located on the premises, but in a separate unit, of Doresh Tov it is hoped that the Café will become a hub for the teenage population of Sderot and surrounding communities. The aim of the café is to provide these teens with a secure environment at night where they will be given opportunities for educational enrichment, promotion of self-esteem, chesed projects, interpersonal skills and much more.
Initially the project is being managed by Doresh Tov board members Mrs. Yael Spangental, Mr. David Spangental, Mr. Igal Bracha and Attorney Gal Taib, but a youth director and social worker will shortly begin as the first two members of staff.
Mr. Ceec Harrishburg (President, IYIM Israel): “We are delighted to reach this milestone that has been in the planning for two years. It is our honor to be involved with the special people of Doresh Tov who put their hearts into their efforts to help the youth of their city. We welcome others to become our partners in this endeavor. IYIM continues to increase its multi-faceted programs throughout all age ranges, all population groups and all parts of the country.”
On Tuesday May 15th 2012, The International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) - Israel Region and the National Council of Young Israel (NCYI) facilitated the dedication of a Torah scroll to the IDF. The scroll was dedicated to the newest unit in the IDF, the Iron Dome anti-missile unit that is under the Israel Air Force command.
The joyous dedication ceremony took place on a base in Central Israel on Tuesday in the presence of the outgoing Chief Rabbi of the Israel Air Force, the IAF's Acting Chief Rabbi, Rav David Levin, a Commander of the Iron Dome unit, IYIM Israel President, Ceec Harrishburg, IYIM Executive Director, Daniel Meyer, Rabbi Eitan Perez of the Iron Dome unit, as well as officers and soldiers. The singing and dancing reached a peak as the Sefer Torah was placed into the empty Aron Hakodesh.
The scroll was dedicated by Mr. David and Mrs. Chana Walles, their family and friends in memory of all the brave IDF soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in the defence of Israel on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of their business, Eddie’s Kosher Travel.
Click here to watch a video of photos of the event.
SH#@ my Date/Couples Says!!! Relationship Symposium
130 people gathered from near and far to Heichal Shlomo in Jerusalem on Thursday May 17 for a symposium entitled “Creating successful relationships: a combined spiritual and practical approach.” The event was co sponsored by Beineinu (a division of IYIM) and Bechirat Halev - an organization created to empower couples with vital skills to create a long lasting and loving marriage.
The evening began with meeting and mingling & delicious sushi and a variety of wines. The key note speaker for the evening was Dr David Ribner - Co-Author of Eit Le’Ehov, The Newlywed’s Guide to Physical Intimacy. The subject of his talk was “Achieving intimacy with your clothing on…”
Following this very interesting and thought provoking talk, attendees had a choice of 2 workshops to attend:
“Communication- Make your partner your BFF,” by Sherrie Miller, Marriage Educator, Director of Bechirat Halev or “How to avoid marrying a Jerk or Jerkette” by Micki Lavin-Pell, MS, MA, Director of Beineinu and Marriage and Family Therapist and Linda Bezalely, Dating Coach.
The workshops were interactive, engaging and entertaining. People went home with lots of new ideas about making their relationships event better. The feedback was very positive from the event with many people asking about future events.