Newsletter Iyyar 5775/May 2015

Secular and Chareidi Principals Getting to Know Each Other


Over the last few months our volunteers together with Secular and Chareidi Principals have had eye-opening meetings: exposing stereotypes and labels and how that prevents them from getting to know each other. A Chareidi psychologist, Yishai Shalif spoke at one of the meetings. He had the group perform, simple, elegant exercises designed to foster a connection between them. For example when speaking, the participants had to use the words “our or us” rather than “you or yours”; “our and us” being words of inclusion creating closeness; “you and yours” being words of exclusion creating distance, separation. The Chareidi and Secular Principals alternated speaking. After each talk, the listeners had to summarize what they heard. The variation in responses was telling! The exercises opened a floodgate of questions each group had for the other. All participants agreed that they only had “scratched the surface” in getting to know each other and looked forward to many more meetings. In June, one of the Chareidi principals has a wedding in her family. She invited the entire group to attend. All were thrilled to receive the invitation and hope to attend.


Secular And Charedi Actors Getting to Know Each Other


Why Chareidim Don’t Participate in Yom HaShoa


Practical Tools to Use with Chavrutas-French Volunteers


As part of our Women’s Chavruta Program in B’nei Brak at Yishtachavaya, we gathered Chareidi and Secular actors to “practice” their acting skills together. First, we are focusing on the technical aspects of acting and role-playing. Slowly, we hope to develop, create and write a play about appreciating one another, understanding our differences and working to bridge the gaps. Our goal in presenting such a play is inspire the audience to join our Chavrutas.















Many Secular Jews have always wondered why Chareidim do not “observe” “Yom HaShoa.” We held a meeting in Ben Gurion University for men and women. The Chareidim explained how they remember and treasure the victims of the Holocaust. There is no religious significance to Yom HaShoah. They observe the Yartzheits of those who died whose dates of death are unknown on the 10th of Teves; for those whose dates are known on the actual Yartzheits. They dedicate Sifrei Torah, Schuls, learning Torah and Mishnah (Oral Law, commentary on Torah), etc. in the victims’ memory. After the “lecture” portion of the program, the group split up into separate discussion groups, one for men and one for women. The lecture served as a catalyst for wide-ranging inquiries beyond Holocaust commemoration. The secular participants asked many general questions about Chareidi way of life, stimulating a lively dialogue.






Eighty-seven (87) French speaking volunteers from all parts of Israel attended the first "Yom Iyun" (Day of Learning) for the French speakers designed to give them practical tools for working with non-religious French people living in Israel and new French Immigrants. It was held in Jerusalem at the Synagogue of Rav Yaakov Sitruk Schlita, the son of the former Chief Rabbi of France, Rav Yosef Haïm Sitruk Schlita. Speakers included: Rav Yaakov Sitruk, Mrs. Ruth Rissmak, the head of the French Speaking Volunteers Program of Ayelet HaShachar, Rabbanit Chana Ovadiah, well-known for her work in Chinuch and helping French Immigrants to find appropriate schools for their children, and Rabbi Arrouas who teaches in four French Seminaries in Jerusalem. The volunteers were thrilled not only to receive practical tools for their work, but also to meet for the very first time the Ayelet HaShachar staff. The volunteers could not believe how many people attended, only to learn that they were just a small fraction of the total number of French volunteers in the program! All who attended felt they gained much strength and many new ideas to help their Chavrutas.


Connecting to the Pesach Seder through Dayenu!

One of our volunteers had a challenging time trying to connect with her Chavruta. A few weeks before Pesach the volunteer finally reached her Chavruta. The Chavruta explained she had a terrible time “connecting” to the Pesach Seder. She would read the play “Macbeth” at the Seder because it “connected her” to “blood and the killing.” She also explained that her father always attended her Seders, but was never happy with them. Our volunteer suggested that they learn “Dayenu” in preparation for the Seder. Her Chavruta agreed. After learning Dayenu, our volunteer suggested that her Chavruta make a list of all the good things Hashem had done for her during her life. Her Chavruta liked the idea and did just that. After Pesach, the Chavruta told our volunteer that for the very first time, both she and her father truly enjoyed the Seder; that something truly positive happened for both she and her father.





50 Learning Centers Open for Shavuos Night

The Aravah is an area close to Eilat. The farmers there observed Shmitta this year and were able to provide all the necessary produce/products to all the people who depended on them. Now they have requested Sifrei Torah, and we plan 3 Torah Dedications in that area within the next month.




We are making it possible for hundreds of Israelis all over the country to learn Torah on the night of Shavuos.


In Memoriam

We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the mother of Mrs. Rivka Siton (head of Ayelet HaShachar's Chavruta program for women), Mrs. Esther Peretz A”H. Mrs. Peretz A”H was a true “aishet chayil” (righteous woman) who prayed “24-7.” Mrs. Peretz AH experienced extraordinary trials during her lifetime, but always displayed the greatest happiness, kindness, patience, warmth and love to everyone whom she knew. ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים ולא תוסיפו לדאבה עוד" המקום” May she and Mrs. Rivka Siton and her family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may they know no more Tzar (difficulties).





  • Farmers Shmittah Conference - Rav Chaim Weintrob

    Thurs 23/02/2014, 20:00

  • Sdot Yam, Rosh Chodesh with Arik Shachar

    Thurs 30/1/2014, 21:00

  • Kiryat Tivon Rosh Chodesh Party in memory of Rav Chaim Weintrob's son

    Thurs 30/1/2014 17:30

  • Chavrutah Farmers, Moshav Vered Yericho, Shmittah Meeting

     Thurs 30/01/2014, 20:00

  • Modiin Tour of Jerusalem on Thursday

     19 Jan 2014 - 18:00