Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Israel Commentator at Mayanot

Mr. David Horovitz, founder and editor of "The Times of Israel," spoke about the Israeli-Hamas conflict for Taglit-Birthright Israel: Mayanot.
While the situation in Israel is turbulent, Taglit-Birthright Israel: Mayanot invited one of the leading commentators on the current conflict to date, to speak to its participants.

Mr. David Horovitz, founder and editor of The Times of Israel online magazine, discussed the reality of the conflict, shining a light on the protective measures taken by Israel to shield its citizens and spoke about the outrageous and frustrating criticism by the global community and media.

The lecture was dedicated in loving memory of Myra Kraft z”l, on the occasion of her third yahrzeit. She was a friend to the Gestetner family, a generous philanthropist supporting causes all over the globe; she had a deep enthusiasm for Israel and was devoted to women’s rights and their education, including the Mayanot Women’s Learning Program.

Joining the large audience were Shluchim from West Hempstead New York, Rabbi Yossi and his wife Chaya Rachel Lieberman who were leading the Birthright group, as well as Rabbi Zalman Kravitzfrom Los Angeles.

The event was co-sponsored by the Jerusalem Press club and the Times of Israel and took place at the prestigious Jerusalem Press Club in the historic neighborhood of Yemin Moshe.

Rabbi Gestetner, Dean of Mayanot, introduced the event by saying, “we are all one family, it doesn’t matter where you are from, we are all in this together.”

Subsequently, Sarah Surowitz, a Birthright Participant from New Jersey and first time visitor to Israel, commented, “Those of us who have never been to Israel before, let alone visit a country in the midst of war, were able to actually understand how Israel is coping with the situation at hand.”

Mr. Horovitz gave a deeply insightful and pragmatic look at the conflict. He illuminated for many students and participants, how the conflict unfolded and the many possible ways it can continue to unfurl.

Echoing this sentiment, a current student at the Mayanot Women’s Learning Program, Julie Finke from Las Vegas stated, “These are scary times and people don’t understand that the right thing to do is to support the Israeli people in any way they can, that is the true meaning of Am Yisrael, to be one family.”

Mr. Horovitz touched on the misrepresentation of the conflict and various issues relating to the current turmoil. He mapped out past peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt, and examined this new era of delegitimizing Israel and the danger extremist Muslim groups pose to Israel and the global community at large.

Chaya Rachel commented after the briefing, “David Horovitz took a very complicated conflict and presented it in a way that everyone could understand. He was very clear, informative and even humorous and it left people with something profound to think about.”

In the wake of the conflict however, Mr. Horovitz didn’t fail to mention Israel’s many accomplishments. What an incredible country Israel and its people are, having revived an ancient language, with dozens of Israeli Nobel prizes, amazing technological advancements and brainpower, and the first to arrive in Haiti and Gaza with a field hospital. Can you imagine, he said, “How Israel would thrive if we didn’t have to worry about trying to survive.”

Rabbi Gestetner concluded the event by thanking the staff at the Jerusalem Press Club, and the Times of Israel, and said a prayer for the safety and security of the citizens of Israel and the soldiers on the frontline. 
Check out the link to the Lecture here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcXYN6-UwHw 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Adults Follow in the Footsteps of Their Kids, Experiencing Israel Firsthand

In the midst of war, Israel groups like Mayanot craft positive plans for the fall

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

(Bus number 756, were in Israel on June 9th-19th)

On one of our most recent Taglit-Birthright Israel: MAYANOT trips, we had a bat mitzvah girl in our midst, although she was not the typical age of twelve or thirteen, we wanted to help her celebrate nonetheless.

Not everyone is lucky enough to celebrate a bat mitzvah but when participants come with us to Israel we try and make sure everyone has the opportunity to celebrate.

This is the amazing speech Lauren Messano, from Westchester NY, gave as she was standing on Masada being Bat Mitzvahed,

“Growing up half Jewish and half Catholic and not very religious it was difficult to figure out my identity through religion. My parents told me it was up to me whether I wanted to go to CCD or Hebrew school as long I was happy. We would still celebrate the high holidays. However I never really knew what either of them truly meant. It seemed as if I was making a choice between my mom and dad in "choosing" what religion I would practice. I didn't want to make the other parent feel bad if I didn't choose theirs. I started Hebrew school for 2 months but with the stress of thinking my dad was mad at me for not choosing to be catholic and starting as a late bloomer attending Hebrew school and having so much work to catch up on in Hebrew school I decided it wasn't for me. Now being on this trip with all of you all I realize it never had to be a choice. The answer was always deep within in me it just took all of you guys and this beautiful country of Israel to connect with Judaism. Today being at the Masada and being able to consider myself a woman and have you all here to celebrate is an honor. I have learned so much and know this is just the beginning of my connection to my Jewish roots and am hopeful and excited for what is to come. I'm so happy to have met you all and thank birthright for this opportunity to find myself as well as a new Jewish family in which we all share this special bond from our journey these past 10 days. Even though we might not all be in the holy land of Israel together again, I will always cherish these memories and friendships made and hope we cross paths again”. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Florida Rabbi Speaks in Jerusalem

A rabbi from Palm Beach helped launch the Mayanot Women's summer program in Jerusalem despite Israel being under fire.
The summer program at Mayanot Institute In Jerusalem recently began and the women were in for a special treat.

Rabbi Moshe Scheiner of Palm Beach Florida, farbrenged in honor of Yud Beis Tammuz. He discussed topics such as Jewish birthdays, Divine providence and the power of one mitzva. All those listening to the heartfelt and powerful words were deeply moved by what they heard.

Orah Simcha Farhi, who is a current student and participant in the 2014 summer session at Mayanot commented, "what stood out the most was the obvious Divine providence, when someone gives over a personal story from their own lives, it strikes the deepest chords in you."

Rabbi Scheiner discussed Jewish birthdays and their importance in our lives, "your Hebrew birthdays has a special Mazal for you, you have a special power to give blessings... the divine flow and energy that is earmarked specifically for you comes down on that day."

He also addressed the current issues, in the wake of recent events in Eretz Yisroel and how we are encouraged to take the situation in stride. The necessity and importance of hearing words of encouragement and comfort, could not be more appropriate.

"Sometimes in life we live with worries but there is nothing to worry about - it's all smoke and mirrors," he said. "Our goal is too fear nothing but Hashem and if we can do that we will never live in the shadow of fear."

It is no coincidence that the Rebbe instituted the 'mivtzoyim' of tefillin during the 6 day war. "Our real protection is the teffilin," he said.

Rabbi Scheiner mesmerized the women as he told them stories from his personal life, how he met his wife and when he would go on mivztoyim as a teenager.

He went on to tell the women about a particular story, in his own life, where he put teffilin on a man in the S. Thomas island in the Virgin Islands. The impact it had changed the man’s life and only 23 years later did he realize that that one mitzvah had such a huge impact.

Rabbi Scheiner aptly explained, "you never know where things will lead, but you have to take the first step, one mitzvah leads to another."

He demonstrated how important reaching out to every Jew is and how the seemingly smallest act can tip the scale in a Jew’s life.

Students thanked Rabbi Scheiner for how beautifully he articulated what was on his mind and shared it in a personal and uplifting manner.

Please view the link below for any more information on the Mayanot Women’s Program, they would be more than happy to welcome you. http://www.mayanot.edu