Bat Mitzvah Experience Shared

Kiryat Gat, Israel, July 2019 – Co-Presidents, Janet and Irwin Tobin, spent an incredible day with Rabbi Liron Levy and our four Bat Mitzvah girls, Diana, Inbal, Tair, Oren and May, the Israeli volunteer, who was also Bat Mitzved.  They chatted all morning and the girls spoke freely about their families, what it means to become a Bat Mitzvah and their future dreams and the wonderful year they completed studying with Rabbi Liron.

Their Bat Mitzvah discussions centered around how they could remain a child while start taking on responsibilities of adulthood. Rabbi Liron stressed that they should choose a mission most important to them and incorporate it into their lives, adding more responsibilities within time.

The girls started with awareness and caring for others– being especially conscious, making sure that they treat their flat mates and each other respectfully. This expanded to include others that are different from themselves to better understand other perspectives. They are being attentive to a young man, with special needs, that was hired to work at the Petting Zoo and the in-house bakery. They expanded their horizons by visiting a Druze community and met Israelis that are not Jews. They also interacted with a group of blind people and were astounded to learn how well they function with everyday life.

The girls enjoyed talking and telling Janet and Irwin that if they put their hearts along with much effort and education, they could achieve their dreams. One girl wants to become a Veterinarian. She loves working with the animals and now that she became a Bat Mitzvah, she is permitted to work at the Petting Zoo. Another wants to be a doctor, another a kindergarten teacher and a soccer player. They included Janet and Irwin in the discussions, wanting to know how they met and all about their children, grand and great-grandchildren.

Upon completion of their year of study, they excitedly recapped many celebrations – parties and trips. Last February, a trip to Mt. Hermon, where they saw snow for the first time and even enjoyed one of the simplest pleasures, making and eating snowcones with juice. Followed with dinner at a Rosh Pina restaurant ordering whatever their hearts desired. In July, the finale, a trip to Eliat to swim with the dolphins.

For their Bat Mitzvah gift to Neve Hanna, the girls requested making ceramic clocks for each of the flats. This was inspired by their love of making mezuzahs (Hiddur Mitzvah Project) last year.

The girls requested that Janet and Irwin attend the Bat Mitzvah rehearsal, for the ceremony, that took place July 11 at the Egalitarian section of the Kotel. They also practiced their song and dance that they will preform at their Bat Mitzvah luncheon party.

The day Janet and Irwin spent with these very special Bat Mitzvah girls was one of the best days they ever had on a visit to Neve Hannah – just tops. Their expressions of joy and excitement, for the present and future, is an experience Janet and Irwin will never forget and continue to talk about way into the future.

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.

 

The Teenage Project: Girls Striving For Success!

Michal, a therapist, accompanies the teen group to all their meetings and therapy sessions. Working with Michal and the teenagers is a young lady, Bat-El, who grew up at Neve Hanna Children’s Home and is working as a Group Leader. She and her husband met as young children at Neve Hanna and began dating as teens. The couple and their two lovely children live on the premises at Neve Hanna

Bat-El is a vital example, an excellent, beautiful role model for the girls participating in the teenage group. She is a success story.  The Teenage Group holds meetings while the girls prepare dinner. This togetherness is of utmost importance. Conversations pop up quite naturally and cover very pertinent personal issues.  The girls also meet monthly with women personnel from Hewlett Packard, either on campus or at Hewlett Packard. They instill social and professional skills. Hewlett Packard stresses that with education and desire they could accomplish success in whatever the girls choose for themselves. There should be no need to settle.

Neve Hanna Children’s Home is changing children’s lives!  www,afnevehanna.org

Happy Purim 2018

Happy Purim!

THE CHILDREN OF NEVE HANNA WISH YOU A HAPPY PURIM!

Your generous gift will:

Help us complete the renovations of the kitchens and dining rooms in the children’s living areas.

Continue to fund our therapeutic gardens and petting zoo.

Support our innovative programs including the “Path to Bread” initiative at our bakery.

Build a darkroom for our new photo workshop.

Help Israeli children from troubled families heal and thrive.

Spread the joy by making a donation today!  Go to: www.afnevehanna.org 

Thank you for your love and support!  Together Changing Children’s Lives! 

 

Neve Hanna: The Path to Peace

Neve Hanna Children’s Home in Kiryat Gat, Israel, has a school for both Jewish and Bedouin students, called Nativ Lashalom (A Path to Peace).

Goals:

1) To provide a therapeutic framework, for Jewish and Muslim-Bedouin children from distressed and deprived families.

2) To bridge the cultural and learning gaps through mutual learning about each other’s lives, and common aspects of the communities.

3) To create an infrastructure for coexistence and mutual acceptance between Jewish and Muslim-Bedouin Israelis.

Please visit us at http://www.afnevehanna.org to learn more about the remarkable programs and projects we continue to establish.  We are Changing Children’s Lives!

Video produced by: Israel Social TV & The Adam Institute As part of the program Media Impacting Conflict Transformation For journalists and members of the media

Videography: Adi Toledano

Editing: Yuval Elkan

Translation: Bob Goldman

Bucket List Travel Destination Fulfilled: A Visit to Neve Hanna in Kiryat Gat, Israel By Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields Executive Director, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism

Coby and JanetMany people have different places on their bucket list to visit when travelling to Israel, and mine has always been Neve Hanna in Kiryat Gat, established in 1973 under the dynamic leadership of Hanni Ullman, a veteran Israeli educator and recipient of the prestigious President’s Award for Volunteerism. Neve Hanna is named for Hanna Kaplan, a Holocaust survivor who bequeathed money to Hanni to create a family-style home for children in distress. During our recent trip to Israel for Coby Dov’s Bar Mitzvah, I was privileged to mark one of those bucket list destinations off my list – and it will definitely be a repeated place to visit in the future! Since I was a teenager, I have always wanted to visit Neve Hanna, because my Rabbi, Rabbi Benjamin Z. Kreitman, one of the greatest influences in my life, always described it as a magical place that transformed people’s lives and recognized each individual’s needs and challenges. The pictures he showed me were of children with smiling faces, clearly loving their current home. I knew that this would be a perfect place to visit on our Coby Dov Bar Mitzvah mission! Rabbi Kreitman, the Founding President of American Friends of Neve Hanna, never stopped talking about the children who lived at Neve Hanna, who were removed from their homes due to physical and psychological violence, neglect, and sexual abuse, and now live in family-like units grouped according to age. On our recent visit, we were able to see one of the four family-like units, but the approximately 80 children who live there, between the ages of 6 to 18, were all in school. I can say, their rooms were incredibly neat! After school, an additional 45 children come to Neve Hanna for their day care programs and return home every night. One of these programs is a joint Jewish-Bedouin program.

Coby Dov Bar MitzvahRabbi Kreitman praised Neve Hanna for being a warm, loving home environment for the children, which offers support, assistance, guidance and care. During our recent visit, this warmth was definitely conveyed – from the minute we stepped off our tour bus, to the Facebook comments I receive from Rabbi Liron Levy, the rabbi at Neve Hanna, to the delicious cookies we received from their in-house bakery. The in-house bakery, Yeladudes Bakery, teaches children the values of work and imparts to them useful life skills, such as ethics and business management. The children at Neve Hanna learn the art of baking and marketing delicious specialty breads, cakes, and cookies, which are in demand in the dining rooms of Israeli corporations, sold in malls, and served on El Al flights. At Neve Hanna, this is just one way that children are able to grow up to become self-confident and independent adolescents and young adults. Neve Hanna provides group programs and therapies, with the goal of rehabilitating severely traumatized children, empowering them and promoting their educational and social development, while imparting to them the tools to build successful, independent, self-sufficient future lives. All of them receive individual counseling, including art, dance, and animal therapy. Many of the teenagers help run their family units and take responsibility for setting goals and budgets, even earning and saving money for activities like concerts, movies, and trips.

Antje, Janet, Rabbi Wolintz and Rabbi LevyNeve Hanna is recognized under the Masorti Movement as a Kehilla: a loving home in the Jewish Community. Kehilla means community, and that is exactly what Neve Hanna is: a warm community that inspires growth. The children at Neve Hanna are taught Jewish values. They say their prayers before and after meals, join the Shabbat and holiday services, learn about Jewish heritage and tradition, and each one celebrates their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Rabbi Liron Levy, a graduate of the Schechter Institutes, is employed at Neve Hanna, and prepares the children for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebration, an important event with many guests who join the children’s celebration. While we were at Neve Hanna, one of the highlights of our trip was a visit to the petting zoo, where twelve of us in my group got to hold some of the animals – the brave amongst my group! But one activity that all twelve of us participated in, besides the delicious lunch Neve Hanna provided, was a lesson taught by Rabbi Liron Levy about what parts of the body are used to follow the words conveyed in the first paragraph of the Shema. Everyone participated in this lesson and enjoyed their learning. The greatest part of the lesson was having the current co-Presidents of American Friends of Neve Hanna, our own Women’s League past International President Janet Tobin and her husband, Irwin Tobin, join us for the lesson, a special presentation Rabbi Levy made to Coby, our candy-throwing to Coby, and our delicious lunch. Rabbi Kreitman, of blessed memory, was right – Neve Hanna is a magical place. The animals exude love the minute you see them, and the people you meet become family immediately. The food and bakery pastries are delicious, and the values of God, Torah, Israel, are taught. Lives are transformed daily, and mitzvot are lived daily, just by the very fact that such an amazing place as Neve Hanna exists.

Wolintz GroupNeve Hanna is a place that the entire Conservative/Masorti Movement should take great pride in, and we, as part of WLCJ, should, as well, with Janet Tobin as the co-President of American Friends of Neve Hanna. Make sure you arrange a trip to Neve Hanna in Kiryat Gat on your next trip to Israel!

Mezuzahs are Available!

MezuzotMezuzahs are still available for purchase!  Be a part of our Hiddur Mitzvah Project!

In appreciation for your participation, you will receive a duplicate mezuzah as the one you donated.  With your generous donation and support, our children will continue to grow and thrive.  We hope you will be inspired to send a contribution in recognition of our shared dedication to building a bright future for the children of Neve Hanna.

Learn more about this special project at https://afnevehanna.org/hiddur-mitzvah-project

You may download and print the form.  Please make checks payable to American Friends of Neve Hanna.

All charge cards are accepted on our website:  afnevehanna.org   Click on DONATE and charge using Network for Good.  All donations are tax deductible.