Neve Hanna, AEPi and SACHI making a difference in the community!

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AEPi

KIRYAT GAT, ISRAEL, September 2019 – As part of the Rosh HaShana Mitzvah, members of AEPi, AFNH patrons, Heddy Belman and husband, Michael, together with the staff and young leadership at Neve Hanna Children’s Home, participated in the SACHI Program. Together they helped make a difference for dozens of needy families.

k640_whatsapp-image-2019-10-02-at-20.17.19-1-e1570372591908.jpgAs part of the SACHI Program, participants help supply groceries to families in need.  They take care of all the logistics and the planning, the purchase, the packing of the parcels with basic food supplies as well as the distribution. Over major holidays, like Rosh HaShana and Passover, they begin a much bigger campaign, encouraging participation of the other children, as well as the staff of Neve Hanna.  Through donations and packing for such holidays, they supply about 120 families.

SACHI (Sayeret Chesed Yechudit – Teenage Welfare Club) began at Neve Hanna Children’s Home in Kiryat Gat, thanks to the initiative of a staff member.  SACHI later expanded and became a nationwide youth movement with the founding branch at Neve Hanna.

Neve Hanna, AEPi and SACHI together changing many lives!  Go to http://www.afnevehanna.org and learn more about all the remarkable programs and projects we continue to accomplish!

SACHI Program: Nationwide Youth Movement

SACHI (Sayeret Chesed Yechudit – Teenage Welfare Club) began at Neve Hanna Children’s Home in Kiryat Gat, thanks to the initiative of a staff member.  SACHI later expanded and became a nationwide youth movement with the founding branch at Neve Hanna.  At the AIPAC Policy Conference last March, the SACHI Program was featured as a new innovative program at the beginning of one of the plenary sessions.

Teenagers from the age of 13 years on, can join SACHI, operating according to the motto:  The best thing in the world is to do good deeds for others.  The teenagers of Neve Hanna, who are usually at the receiving side, are learning about the other side—giving.

Teenagers joining, have to commit to social and welfare activities, setting examples of social activism, tolerance, mutual respect, giving and sharing as well as friendship.  Through the SACHI activities, the teens from disadvantaged backgrounds, learn more about young leadership qualities.

Currently, 15 Neve Hanna teens are involved in SACHI.  The participants meet twice weekly for educational and social purposes, as well as for fun activities intended to strengthen group dynamics.  What began with seven teens in Kiryat Gat, now encompasses approximately 400 teenagers in 15 clubs throughout several cities in Israel.

As part of the SACHI program, the participants help supply approximately a dozen needy families in Kiryat Gat, with groceries.  They take care of all the logistics and the planning, the purchase, the packing of the parcels with basic food supplies as well as the distribution. Over major holidays, like Rosh HaShana and Passover, they begin a much bigger campaign, encouraging participation of the other children, as well as the staff of Neve Hanna.  Through donations and packing for such holidays, they supply about 120 families in need.

SACHI youth also help people with disabilities, the elderly, the downtrodden and Holocaust survivors with shopping, chores and home repairs. They visit hospitals and nursing homes.

Neve Hanna Children’s Home is helping make a difference in the lives of others, the surrounding community and changing the world.  Go to http://www.afnevehanna.org to learn more about all our remarkable programs and projects. You too can be a part of the movement.

The Art Of The Scribe

With great joy, American Friends of Neve Hanna launched the Neve Hanna Torah Project on May 28, 2019. Rabbi Liron Levy of Neve Hanna and Sofer Rabbi Hanna Klabanksy will be leading the workshops at the Neve Hanna Children’s Home, working with the children and staff, on the writing of a Sephardic Torah scroll for the children of Neve Hanna.

With that in mind, there are three basic skills necessary for a scribe. The first is simply the ability to write the letters over and over.  There are very few strokes involved, but constantly writing them ensures that the aleph in Brayshit at the beginning of the Torah looks exactly like the aleph in Yisrael at its end.

The second skill is knowing all the laws, and for every letter, there are twenty to thirty laws that regulate how it is written.  The third skill is the most difficult.  When a sofer sits down to write, he/she must have emunah, a complete faith, that as he/she writes their letters, they are linked to God.  If he/she doesn’t have that concentration when he/she is writing any one letter, the entire sefer Torah is considered not kasher, not usable. This is not an easy task.

When a sofer has mastered these skills, he/she begins to use the traditional tools of parchment, ink and writing implement.  Everything must be from a kosher animal or a kosher substance.

For the writing implement, if you had lived in Europe, you would have used goose feathers.  If you lived in Yemen or Morocco, where there were no geese, you would have used a sharpened bamboo shoot.

The second item is the parchment, the klaf.  We use only the finest parchment from very young or unborn calves.

The ink for the Torah has three basic ingredients:  afatzim, the tannic acid produced from blackened oak leaves in which wasps have made their nests; a gum base which makes the ink stretch so the letters don’t crack; and magnesium.  All the ingredients are natural and the ink must be very black.

With these basic tools, the sofer is ready.  Because a sefer Torah has to be written meticulously, each column takes 4 to five hours of painstaking work.  When the sofer finishes one column, it is enough for the day.   In this way, over a year, he/she can complete a full Torah.

Writing a Torah from beginning to end is an experience that is very hard to describe.  It is best understood by combining the first and last letter of that Torah.  The first letter is bet, and the last letter is lamed.  Together they spell layv or heart. All of B’nai Israel have one layv; the Torah is the heart of the people.   It’s our source; it’s where we get our strength.

 

Neve Hanna Launches The Torah Project!

Torah logo

New York, May 28, 2019 – American Friends of Neve Hanna (AFNH), the non-profit organization for the Neve Hanna Children’s Home in Israel, launches The Torah Project, an exciting two year project involving a world wide fundraising campaign and interactive educational workshops for the children.  Rabbi Liron Levy of Neve Hanna and Sofer Rabbi Hanna Klabanksy will be leading the workshops at the Neve Hanna Children’s Home, working with the children and staff, on the writing of a Sephardic Torah scroll for the children of Neve Hanna.

The beauty of this project is that everyone can participate.  There is something for everyone.  You can join by sponsoring letters, words, names, or various segments of the text.   The special significance of writing a Torah, is that every ot (letter), milah (word), pasuk (verse), parashah (weekly portion), sefer (book), and shem (name) in the Torah will be sponsored by the friends of the Children of Neve Hanna.  The children will proudly be able to study, read from and carry their own Sefer Torah.  The finished Sefer Torah will be used for the first time at the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Ceremony at the Egalitarian section of the Western Wall, Israel, June 2021.  All donors and sponsors will be invited to celebrate a Siyum HaTorah.

Neve Hanna hopes that each and everyone will participate in this joyous and monumental project and gift of love that is handed down from our ancestors as a means of preserving our precious tradition.  The Torah will be American Friends of Neve Hanna’s gift of love, enabling each of us to transmit our precious heritage to the children.

Neve Hanna Children’s Home is changing children’s lives.  You can too by being a part of the Torah Project.  To learn more about this remarkable project and to participate in this unique opportunity, go to http://www.afnevehanna.org/torah-project.

 

 

 

Celebrate Jewish Heritage Month

Visit a Jewish museum or a site of historical Jewish interest. Visit a Jewish museum, a Holocaust memorial museum, New York City’s Tenement Museum…the list goes on, and nearly all of these museums offer online experiences and exhibits, too. You can also visit an historic synagogue for a look at your local Jewish history.

Eat something Jewish. Whip up your bubbe’s favorite recipe! Not a big cook? Have lunch at your local Jewish delicatessen. What’s more Jewish-American than corned beef on rye and don’t forget the pickle!

Read something Jewish. Whether you choose a book about religion, about the Jewish American experience, or just something written by an American Jew, there’s plenty to choose from.

Research your family’s history. Try to determine when the first members of your family immigrated to America, then create a family tree for future family members to cherish. Take it a step further by recording an interview with your oldest living relatives to create a digital history of your family’s Jewish history.

Watch something Jewish. Choose a film about the Jewish-American experience, or tune into something by Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks, J.J. Abrams, or another favorite Jewish director.

Raise your voice, Jewishly. As Jews in a democratic society, we have the privilege and the responsibility to make our voices and views heard on ethical and moral matters. Get involved in Jewish social justice work on a national scale.

Become a member of a synagogue. What better way to show your commitment to American Judaism than by joining a congregation?

Support your favorite Jewish organization. Do your part to further and strengthen the work of the Jewish people by making a one-time or recurring contribution to a Jewish nonprofit that’s near to your heart.  May we recommend Neve Hanna Children’s Home at http://www.afnevehanna.org  (hint, hint)  

How are you, your family and friends celebrating Jewish American Heritage Month? Let us know in the comments below.

 

B'nai Mitzvah

L’Chaim! To Life!

With the passing holidays of Purim and Pesach, we now take this opportunity to check in with ourselves, reflect, set some goals and take stock of what’s coming up in the months ahead.  It is also a time to remind ourselves to live a happier, healthier and more meaningful life.  This is a philosophy we teach to ourselves and to our Children at Neve Hanna.

Here are some quotes and philosophy to ponder on.

A righteous man falls down seven times and gets up.” – King Solomon, Proverbs, 24:16.

Life is all about the ability to get up from challenge. Greatness is defined as getting up one more time than what you’ve fallen down.

“If you don’t know what you’re living for, you haven’t yet lived.” – Rabbi Noah Weinberg, of blessed memory

Life is the most precious thing we have. Everyone wants to live a life of meaning. But we are so busy ‘living’ that we don’t have a moment to really think about living.

“A righteous man falls down seven times and gets up.” – King Solomon, Proverbs, 24:16.

Life is all about the ability to get up from challenge. Greatness is defined as getting up one more time than what you’ve fallen down.

“I don’t speak because I have the power to speak; I speak because I don’t have the power to remain silent” – Rabbi A.Y. Kook

This quote embodies the depth of love every Jew needs to feel for another. The connection between Jews is instinctive, therefore one has no choice but to speak.

“People often avoid making decisions out of fear of making a mistake. Actually the failure to make decisions is one of life’s biggest mistakes.” – Rabbi Noah Weinberg.

This quote inspires me to keep taking the risks I need in order to grow.

“There are no problems, only opportunities for growth.” – Rebbetzin Dena Weinberg

Words are powerful; as soon as you re-frame from “problem” to “opportunity,” you pull down the covers, get out of bed, pull up your boot straps and rise to the occasion. No one wants problems, but who doesn’t want opportunities?

“Torah is not education, it’s transformation.” – Rebbitzen Dena Weinberg

If you are just learning Torah for the education and not growing and transforming yourself, you are not really learning Torah.

And my personal favorite… “L’Chaim!” – a traditional Jewish toast.

Jews appreciate every moment of life. It doesn’t matter if things are going the way you want them, stop and pause, and raise your glass to the delicious opportunity life is giving you right now. You’ll never get that moment back again.

How do you live a healthier, happier and more meaningful life — emotionally, spiritually and physically? Please write us or leave a comment.  We would love to hear your thoughts.

Sandy's Greenhouse

Our Planet, Our Future

Every day is earth day at the Neve Hanna Children’s Home in Israel.  Through education, our children learn there are many things they can do to help improve and protect the earth.

Through the Horticultural Therapy program, our children learn where their fruit and vegetables come from, as well as how much effort, care and natural resources are needed to have them in the end, on our plates.

Over a year ago, our children were involved in our greenhouse project, when we soon realized that we should explore gardening/horticultural therapy for the mental and physical well-being of our children and teenagers.  The children began learning many skills, and appreciate the importance of nurturing their environment and the planet.  While planting and gardening trees and plants, they learned that trees provide food and oxygen.  They help save energy, clean and detoxify the air and help combat climate change.

Together we are changing children’s lives and improving the environment.  Our planet, our future.

Go to http://www.afnevehanna.org to learn more about our children and the remarkable projects and programs we continue to establish.