Ayelet HaShachar Leading efforts to build a new school in Modiin
If you have been reading our newsletter over the past few months, you are surely aware of the fabulous growth of Torah that has been taking place in Modiin, centered around the shul built by Ayelet HaShachar and completed just before Rosh Hashanah. The Bet Knesset/Bet Midrash is a beehive of activity, with shiurim, programs, chavrutot and social activities that have acted as a magnet in bringing hundreds of Jews closer to their heritage. As the number of families involved grows, it had become very important to provide a school for their children; a school that is sensitive to the issues facing newly observant families and a population that spans a wide range of observance levels. Ayelet HaShachar is partnering with Rabbi Michoel Gutterman of the Shuvu organization, to begin this large-scale project very shortly, which will be an entirely new venture in the ever-expanding efforts of Ayelet HaShachar to make our heritage accessible to our brothers and sisters who have been estranged from it
Opening of a Summer Kollel/Bet Midrash in Shlomi
Shlomi is a small village just a few miles from the Lebanon border, just down the road from the recently uncovered Hezbollah terror tunnels and the ominous threats they represent. That has not stopped Ayelet HaShachar from being active there; on the contrary; a beautiful community is developing there under AH representative Rabbi Shlomo Danino, including a thriving shul, shiurim, and kollel where there was no religious presence before.
Part of Ayelet HaShachar’s mission is to bring the message of the importance of bringing Jews of different types together in meeting and discussion, especially through sharing Torah. To that end, Ayelet HaShachar is establishing a summer kollel in Shlomi, inviting people to come and enjoy the summer months in the beautiful Galilee, and providing scholarships enabling Avreichim to join in the efforts to share Torah with locals in the area who express interest n participating
Women’s Theatrical Performance A Smashing Success
In previous months we have informed our loyal readers about a wonderful initiative in which Chareidi and secular women have come together to put on a joint theatrical production that portrays what happens when an earthquake forces neighbors to come out into the public square and deal with each other is a tense and troubling situation. It is wonderful to see religious women work together with their less religious sisters in much respect and appreciation for the talents they share and to marvel at the amazing creativity such symmetry can produce.
The latest performance tool place under the sponsorship of Ayelet HaShachar and the United States Embassy in Jerusalem at the American Cultural Center. In attendance were journalists from Galei Tzahal, Television stations, Embassy staff, and several prominent women, including the Rebbetzins of several famous Admorim. There are plans to expand this program elsewhere in the country soon.
One of the challenges facing the newly observant, or not yet fully observant, or even the fully and not so recently observant is access to Rabbinic guidance that fully understands the issues that they deal with, be it relationships with family and associates, where one can be lenient for someone not quite ready to take it all on just yet, or other special challenges, especially in the area of P’sak Halacha. Seeing this urgent need, Ayelet HaShachar is forming a new Bet Din specifically for this purpose in Kiryat Tiv’on under the leadership of Rav Yitzchak Brandeis, which will be available by email and telephone to others around the country as well. As usual, Ayelet HaShachar proactively seeks to find more ways to help make Torah and Judaism more accessible to our fellow Jews who are waiting for someone to reach them with warmth and love.
Rav Shlomo Raanan Meets Reconnects with a Mentor of his Youth
As the visionary founder and director of Ayelet HaShachar, Rav Shlomo Raanan looks back at those individuals who were instrumental in guiding and inspiring him to follow the path he has. One such person, whom he recently encountered after not being in touch for many years, is Rav Yitzchak Peretz. Rav Peretz is the longtime Rav of Raanana and former Government Minister and Leader of the Shas party, but Rav Raanan remembers him as a much younger Rav who knew his family as they would often vacation together when he was growing up. Young Shlomo was about fifteen and attending a Yeshiva High school, but was unsure about whether he should continue his studies there, or transfer to a full-time Yeshiva, and took the opportunity to ask Rav Peretz for advice when the families were together.
Rav Peretz strongly suggested that he stay in High School – that he wait for a few more years before he would attend Yeshivat Hanegev and gain the necessary maturity to take advantage of what full time learning can give to a person. In the meantime, his secular studies would help him to appreciate the world around him and relate to different types of people. The main thing he should do was to focus on his studies, become passionate about the future of Klal Yisrael, and to bring Jews together.
This past weekend Rav Raanan met with Rav Peretz for the first time in over thirty years and related how proud Rav Peretz was of the wonderful work of Ayelet HaShachar, and how appreciative he was of the wise counsel that he received long ago that has stood him in good stead all these years.
Ein Charod Comes On “Yarchei Kallah” In Yerushalayim
One of the very first militantly secular kibbutzim of the HaShomer Hatzair movement, Ein Charod was a symbol of those who wanted the nascent State of Israel to make a total break with Torah and our religious tradition. As one early resident remembers that “people in the dining hall would eat [non-kosher] sausage and cheese sandwiches, even grilling pork on Yom Kippur.” For many years now, Ayelet HaShachar has been making inroads in Ein Charod, bringing the Chief Rabbi to spend Shabbat there, opening and maintaining a shul, and helping a substantial number of people as the began exploring Torah and a religious lifestyle.
This past month marked a new level of participation, as Ayelet HaShachar brought a group of kibbutzniks to a major Chareidi yeshiva in Yerushalayim to spend the day learning Torah and getting to know yeshiva students up close, interacting with them and their Rabbanim. One of the participants said “DO YOU HAVE A QUOTE?’. Savoring this wonderful day, Rav Raanan reflected on the path that led to this meeting, which was totally unthinkable just a few years ago. “The name of the game,” says Rav Raanan, in between organizing Torah classes and other programs for those who have never enjoyed them before, “is patience and tolerance. Each place according to its own pace and requests.”
Writing Holy Torah Letters in a Secular Kibbutz
There is a wonderful project that has been progressing this past year in Israel to produce the “Sefer Torah of Am Yisrael.” Rabbi David Avraham Pressman has been traveling the country and giving an opportunity to hundreds of thousands of our fellow brothers and sisters, from celebrities to simple people, to write a letter in a very special Torah scroll (see www.sefertorah.co.il). Rav Raanan felt that it would be a very special gift to the people of Kibbutz Ba’ari, on the border of Gaza, to take part in this project, and merit the special protection that this beautiful mitzvah can provide. Here is what one of the participants wrote after the event:
Shalom my dear Shlomo,
It was an amazing, exciting and very spiritual evening. Everyone who came was so moved; there were people with tears in their eyes. Some fifty people arrived, not counting those who called because they could not make it that evening – even from Chutz LaAretz – because they wanted to be included, which made me very happy.
The meeting lasted an hour and a half; even after the rabbi left, more people kept coming! He was approached by my friends, from Moshav Tkuma and from Kibbutz Sa'ad, who want him to come to them as well. Please help bring him to other kibbutzim. . . It is a great privilege.
Thank you very much, Shlomo, for the connections that you make for us, it always excites me. Bless you from heaven for your mission and the desire to help the entire nation of Israel. Keep going, higher and higher, and have success in whatever you do — highly appreciated!