Wednesday evening I came back to Peoria after almost a week long conference in NYC and Manhattan, as part of the Annual Israeli Emissaries (Shlichim) of North America.
We were about 120 Shlichim from Canada and USA. Each one representing his community. Big/small, Orthodox/reform/conservative. I was very excited to meet my friends, most of whom I hadn’t seen for the last four months (since the Seminar we had in Jerusalem last summer). First of all- what a wonderful opportunity it was to speak Hebrew. No more hesitancy or fear of “how should I translate this”. Just Hebrew, everywhere!
Then, it was really inspiring to share ideas. Each one of us had his own “business name tag”- including a bar code, and we had to scan eachother’s in order to have their details, so eventually we will have their contact information and we will be able to keep in touch. The Conference included many lectures about the Triangle of “Judaism-Israel- North America”, and the glue that holds them together. We were discussing about Cultural differences, and how many there are. Later on, we were discussing about working in small communities, Israel in informal education, Young American Jews, and how does all this impact our position? Moreover, we debated about Alyia, and if and how relevant it is in North America today.
One more paragraph -about the weather: Believe it or not, it is snowing in Jerusalem now, for the first time in four years! I know, Israel is anything but a cold place, but this time I’m really surprised! Of course we in Peoria still have much colder weather, but it’s still very unique. Here’s a link to some pictures of the snow in Jerusalem.
Today I am writing about music-Israeli old and high-standard Music.
In Music, as in Fashion, there are passing fads and timeless classics.
The Legendary Singer, Song writer and Actor, Arik Einstein, was considered one of the greatest musicians in Israel, and he passed away On 26 November 2013 from a ruptured aneurysm at the age of 74. Einstein was a pioneer of Israeli rock music, but also a kids’ star. There’s almost no kid that didn’t like one of his songs. It was impossible not to like his music.
His loss is tremendous for Israel. Arik was a part of our life, a part of our culture. Arik was a humble and a simple man, he was a Mentch!
Arik spoke Hebrew like no one else did, Arik was a role model for Israelis, he was a mirror image for all of us. He was extremely beautiful, talented and successful, but yet- so modest. His modesty was so rare and strange in the local view of artists. He had a song that reflected his attitude about being amodest: “I like to be at home, with the tea and lemon and the old books”.
What a wonderful example he gave to us, as kids and as adults, to be modest, kind, and not let success ruin your personality. To remember that the really important things in life are things that money can’t always purchase.
At his funeral,PM Netanyahu said:” Einstein’s songs were “the soundtrack of the country.”
Arik, you were, and forever will stay, in each and everyone’s heart. And we will meet at the end, like you promised.
Here’s a link to one of his songs.
Tornados rip through Midwest; 6 dead, dozens injured, communities devastated.
Tornadoes tore through Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky on Sunday, part of a dangerous line of fast-moving storms that ripped through the Midwest, killing at least six people and injuring dozens more.
According to the National Weather Service, more than 80 tornadoes were reported across the region, though that figure likely includes duplicates. At least 10 states were under severe weather alerts, as tornado watches were posted from Michigan to Arkansas. Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power.
I was terribly shocked by the tornados that occurred. I’m bowing my head for those who lost their loved ones and their houses in this terrible storm.
I have lots of appreciation for the people in the Jewish Community of Peoria, for taking the time to donate diapers, clothes and financial support to the families in need.
Thank you for doing such a great Mitzvah, and hopefully we will all have quiet and no worries.
Last week we remembered 18 years one of the most tragic event Israel has ever had- Our Prime Minister was assassinated by a Jewish man who refused to accept the Oslo agreements. His Murderer- Igal Amir said that he hoped that by the assassinating Rabin, he would stop the peace process Rabin had started.
Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by 3 gun shots. Three shots that killed not only the admired leader- but also killed the chance for a hope to a better future. The whole nation mourned the Prime Minister, it was a severe blow to the democracy.
Every year since, we mention Rabin’s Memorial Day in preschools, schools, media and everywhere. Not only to remember him and his work, but also to point out the severity of his murder and to make sure that such a thing will never happen again.
May we all live in peace and in democracy.
This week, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the leader of the ultra-Orthodox religious “Shas” political party in the Parliament, died at the age of 93. He used to be the former Sefaradi Chief Rabbi of Israel. 850,000 Israelis from all over the country, came to his funeral. It was the largest event in the whole history of the country.
From a pain to a reason to smile: this week two former Israelis won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The Professors, Michael Levit and Arie Varshal. This is definitely a HUGE Jewish Pride- and Benjamin Netaniahu, Israel’s Prime Minister, called the Professors to wish them Mazal Tov and thank them for the joy the gave to the Jewish Nation by winning and receiving this unbelievable Prize.And in Our community in Peoria.
We’ve started a new monthly project called “Caffe Ivrit”, a program to 7th-12th grade to learn some Hebrew and hang out. We are planning more fun but yet educational activities for the community soon.
Next Thursday I will be having my Lunch and Learn on Thursday (Nov. 17) at noon. We’ll be taking a new look at Rabin and his legacy just in time for Rabin memorial Day. This will be held at the Federation offices; I hope you will join us Shabbat Shalom,
The High Holidays are over, and so we go back to the regular routine. I am very pleased and excited to start two new projects: “Caffe Ivrit”- a monthly activity with students in 7th-12th grade. The activity will include some conversational Hebrew, and a hour of fun with snacks and games. So if you are in the age mentioned above- you are welcomed to join me on Sunday, October 6th at 4 pm at the Federation Office.
My other project is going to be on the same day- at the Temple, in the morning. My project is called: “Adopt a friend in the IDF”. The soldiers that we will keep in touch with are lonely Soldiers, who recently made Aliya by themselves, and are going to serve in very significant roles in the Army, such as combat fighters in the different units, roles in the Intelligence core, Airforce and Marines. I invite each one of you to join me, and to “Adopt” a lonely soldier.
The purpose is to get to know the soldiers in Israel, to strength them and to salute them for their amazing and brave decision to choose to serve in the IDF. The project will include Emails, and might develop into phone calls, Skype, Facebook and even meetings in person. I believe that young people, especially high school and University students, will benefit a lot from this as well as everyone in the community, as we develop these relationships with the young soldiers.
It’s time for holidays!
September 2013 is filled with Jewish holidays. It’s a great time to reunite with your loved ones during a Rosh Hashana dinner, spend some good time in having all the family together, and eat, eat and eat.:) May it will be a sweet, healthy, peaceful new year to you and to yours.
Right after Rosh-Hashana, we move straight to apologizing and asking for forgiveness as we move towards “Yom Kippur”. It’s a time for self-examination- a quiet time for reflection and starting the New Year. A coincidence, this week in which we mention Yom Kippur- America also remembers 9/11 terrible attacks. We will always remember.
This year, for the first time in the history of the state-Yom Kippur and the Exaltation of the Cross Calvary will be mentioned on the same day. In this day- Catholic Christians light bonfires and shoot Fireworks. Therefore, police officers in Israel asked all the religious leaders that are involved to act in a responsible way. The police are worried about disturbances, and concentrate on the mixed large cities, many of which have a large Catholic Christian population. Nonetheless, majors say that a quiet weekend is predicted.
This year we also mention (in Israel) that it is 40 years from the Yom Kippur’s war. This war was known especially because no one could see it coming- a war that started when Israel was not ready. According to this period in Israel, when Syria is threatening with attacks-some people might think that history will repeat itself. I’m not a prophet- but I can promise one thing: Israel is ready, the IDF is ready, and we all have the right to defend ourselves. AM ISRAEL CHAI, and we are stronger than ever. And of course we hope for quiet in the country and in the area.
Gmar chatima tova,
“We have a responsibility to protect our citizens and to prepare for any scenario”.
Israel is going through a hard and tense time these days. Although the media and the Syrians themselves are announcing that the attack might start any second- the IDF, which, unfortunately, is fairly experienced at being on alert for attacks- is trying to broadcast that everything is under control. “The expected (G-d forbid) attack would be a totally American action, and our involvement is just as neighbors of Syria”.
Here are three reasons why to stay calm:
1) Bashar Assad will not challenge Israel in any form that will endanger the survival of the his family’s regime. This is the reason that the estimate in the security system is that there’s a LOW feasibility that Assad would send rockets to Israel. The estimation is that at the most-there will be symbolic comments on Assad that won’t require starting a war.
2) The preparations that the defense system in Israel is making to prepare for the low possibility that Assad will attack Israel. The preparations are divided into three fields: the intelligence field – so we will have enough early warning signs in case that Assad will try to do anything. The defense field- including deployment of the Iron Dome system, the Arrow and the Patriot Missiles (rockets). And to the most important field- the offensive field-the air force and many other forces of the IDF are already prepared for any situation- so they will be ready with the slightest sign of a Syrian operation against Israel.
3) In the past, when they were talking about a low probability, for example like the Yom Kippur war in 1973, there were (unfortunately) no measures and alerts that had been prepared for such an attack. Today, the situation is totally different. In the Air force bases there are already armed planes that are ready to take off within minutes of receiving the command. The U.S.A will take care of provocations and Israel and America will work together.
Praying for SHALOM and for good news,
Five lunches a week, two charming baby twins, and one Israeli that finds that blowing the Shofar is not easy as It seems.
My second week in Peoria has been great. I had the honor of joining the Bogard’s double joy- and celebrating with them the naming of Yael and Noa. I met many new people in the community, and it was really fun to recognize some faces, after seeing their pictures on Facebook.
It was also my first time in a Reform synagogue, an interesting experience by itself.
I never saw a woman wearing prayer shawl (“Talit), so this was a whole new experience. Mazal Tov again, Bogard’s- you are a charming family
Another new thing I learned this week was something about fast food. I would like to take the stand here, and say that I thought that the American “junk” (excuse me) food was considered good. Ohh, I was wrong. I came to a very known fast food restaurant ( I’ll just say that its logo is one yellow letter –the one that comes after L)- and felt so lucky. The same restaurant in Israel costs close to $14, and here I paid only $6. However, the food was bad , and I finally realized why the word “junk” appears before “food”. This painful visit- I made a decision- it’s not real food, and my romance with this place is OVER. The good part is that I might finally learn how to cook. In the meantime, I’m eating everyday in a different place/family. I enjoy it so much. My adoptive families here are so great. They are real families to me, and I feel blessed to have them.
This week I started to teach in the Peoria Hebrew Day school. I enjoy teaching Hebrew a lot, they are very nice kids and it’s always nice to be able to speak your mother tongue-while other people are struggling it. but the funny thing was when on Monday, while the class was praying in a service- each one of the kids had to blow the shofar. I never did it, and I really hoped that no one will ask me to. Unfortunately, my turn arrived- and you can guess (or watch the video on the federation’s page on facebook) what finally happened.
Shabbat Shalom to all the fantastic people in the Jewish community in Peoria- can’t wait to see you in my welcome party on Sunday, August 25th in 10:00 in the social hall .
Peoria- living the dream.
Shalom to the fabulous people of the Jewish community.
I’m writing this column from my office in the Federation, after 2 and a half days of amazing wonderful acclimatization to my new home.
The amount of stories I have to tell family and friends in Israel is growing.
Where do I start?
The warm welcome and exciting feeling that I got at the airport. I feel like a celebrity! Yesterday someone called me Ms, for the first time of my life.( well, kind of the first time. My mom used to call me :”Ms Hartman, your room will not clean itself”- but this doesn’t count).
The fun apartment tastefully furnished and equipped with Israeli food bought specifically to make me feel at home, and indeed I felt it the moment I landed in Peoria. At home.
When I got on the flight from Israel to Newark my legs were shaking and I was so nervous. I was hoping it would be okay. Indeed this is as amazing as Vered, Lior and Gal told me.
I will not start with stupid stories (like getting off the plane with a eye mask on my head, and seeing it only after taking a photo with the community).
It’s my first time in USA and I’m very lucky to be the emissary -shlicha in such an amazing community.
My mouth is wide open because everything is so different than in Israel. Yesterday we went to Princeton and there was a women there that was so excited about meeting someone from Israel. Before I came to America, I never thought people would be so excited about meeting an Israeli .
I haven’t even started to work for real- and I really hope to keep the legacy of the shlichim before me, who probably did an amazing significant job here, and thanks to them, I can be safe.
My smile is getting more permanent every second, and lots of it is thanks to Sue and my amazing new families here and the great people that take such a good care of me.
And can’t wait to meet you all,
Gal’s Welcome Brunch is Sunday, August 25, 10:00-noon in the social hall at 5614 N. University. Please make your reservation with the office.