Sunday, August 31, 2014

Gifts in Memory of 3 Slain Teens

 Taglit Birthright Israel: Mayanot alumni gathered to create gifts with artist Michoel Muchnik to distribute to family and friends of the three slain boys Eyal, Gilad and Naftali.
In response to the tragic murder of the three young boys, Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, Taglit Birthright Israel: Mayanot put on a very special event in NYC.

Under the guidance of acclaimed Kabbalistic artist Michoel Muchnik many beautiful Judaica pieces were made such as Mezzuzahs, Havdallah spice Boxes and Tzedakka Boxes. The items will be distributed to the friends and classmates of the boys as a consolation for them and a show of solidarity with Jews across the world. With each item made, a note was written with a mitzvah or positive resolution to be done in honor of the boys. 

Prior to the event, the organizers spoke with Mrs. Frankel, mother of Naftali and told her of their plans for the event. Mrs. Frankel was very touched by the idea and received three boxes of beautiful gifts to distribute to family and friends of the boys.

Rabbi Mordy Hecht, from Chabad of the Gardens, in Queens recently returned from leading a trip. Hecht was glad his alumni could attend the event.

"You could see clearly on the faces of those making the items that it meant so much to them to be able to send a physical comfort to the families of the boys. The same boys that they prayed for when they were still missing."

For Michoel Muchnik it was certainly a busy week, his daughter was getting married three days later, but it wasn't even a question whether he would want to be a part of the event. 

"What a great privilege to be able to help these young Jews connect with their fellow Jews in such pain, in the Land of Israel. It was a very special event," said Muchnik.

May this type of tremendous unity and togetherness happen regularly, but only for good occasions!
Our Mayanot Alumni Events coordinator, Rabbi Dov Oliver did a tremendous job  organizing every detail of the event. 

Mayanot thanks Helen & Kurt Feuerman and Jodi & Adam Weinstein for their continued support of the alumni initiatives!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Mayanot Reunites on Friday Night

Over 100 alumni and friends of Taglit-Birthright Israel: MAYANOT came together for a Mayanot Shabbaton in New York City. The crowd comprised of a few dozen different Mayanot groups, some gathering just weeks after their journey to Israel, while others came together several years (as far back as 2007!) after their trips.

Before Shabbat settled upon the city, several of the boys in attendance donned Teffilin while the entire group gathered and sang “Oseh Shaom” in the streets of New York. As part of the pre-Shabbat service, the participants read a “Mi Shebayrach” – special prayer – for the injured soldiers and chanted the “Kel Moleh Rachamim” for the soldiers who have lost their lives.

A special version of the “Mi Shebayrach” was recited in merit of the soldiers still standing on the front lines protecting Israel and the Jewish people. The Rabbis in attendance also delivered the prayers in English for the gathered crowd. The girls in attendance conducted an emotional Shabbat candle lighting ceremony with thoughts and prayers for Am Yisrael.

Before breaking bread, participants and staff dedicated a loud and unified recitation of the Shema to the soldiers and citizens of Israel, which was lead, ironically, by a young man named Michael Levine. Michael, since his recent trip to Israel, has begun saying the Shema daily.

A special highlight of the evening was the arrival of, Ofer, one of the “Mifgashim” from one of the groups. The “Mifgashim” program brings trip participants and their Israeli counterparts together during the Birthright Israel experience.  When Ofer, visiting America from Israel was introduced, the song, “Hevaynu Shalom Aleichem” was sung with admiration and respect. Ofer, feeling like a real celebrity, joked, "Does Bibi get such a welcome?"

Throughout the night, lively socializing and spirited conversations filled the room. “The staff had to literally kick everyone out because it got so late and no one wanted to leave!” said Rabbi Dov Oliver, the Taglit-Birthright Israel: Mayanot Alumni NYC coordinator. “Friday night was a huge success, the positivity and energy was amazing.”

Mayanot thanks Rebecca and Natalie of The Alumni Community-Reunion for hosting such a tremendous event as well as Yoni and the Brownstone crew for hosting staff for Shabbat. Special thanks of course to Adam for his continued hard work and support of Mayanot Alumni NYC.

May we share good news from the Holy Land!