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

K640_WhatsApp Image 2019-09-24 at 20.50.35
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!

Heddy Belman To Be Honored

Heddy BelmanAmerican Friends of Neve Hanna honors Heddy Belman on November 17th at Pine Brook Jewish Center, New Jersey. 

Heddy Belman is a valued member of the Board of American Friends of Neve Hanna. She serves as the Chair of the Development Committee working diligently to engage Foundations and obtain Grants to support programs needed for the children of Neve Hanna.

She was born in Quito, Ecuador, to wonderful parents who were survivors from Rumania. My parents journey, with the help from an aunt and uncle, in America, took them from Bucharest to Paris to Equator, because the US was not excepting such immigrants at the time.

Dad z’l was a lawyer in Europe with a doctorate in political science, and her Mom z’l studied medicine.  Each had to adjust and reinvent themselves a few times and on a few continents before ultimately coming to America.  Facing many challenges along their way, their main mission in life was to make her life beautiful.

As a result of their examples, Heddy did well in school and graduated from Hofstra University with a degree in linguistics and education. She worked and taught in the business world successfully and raised a beautiful family, with her awesome husband Michael. They continue to fill their lives with love, pride, joy and gratitude!!!

Throughout her American journey, Heddy has always treasured her involvement in the Jewish community. After joining Pine Brook Jewish Center in 1985, she served on many committees in varying capacities. She is also a Board member of Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, AZM, MercazUSA and served as a delegate to the last WZO Congress.

During a recent trip to Israel, Heddy and Michael visited Neve Hanna in Kiryat Gat and saw how the Children’s Home provides love and support to children from disadvantaged homes. Over decades, it has literally changed children’s lives and helped raise them to be productive, loving and successful adults.

AFNH recognizes and honors Heddy and looks forward to many years of friendship and service.

 

 

Cameron Fields, Young Leadership Chair

When Cameron Fields was given the opportunity to intern this summer at American Friends of Neve Hanna (AFNH), as our Young Leadership Chair, she practically jumped at the offer.  Giving these children, from disadvantaged homes, a stable home where they are loved, given proper nutrition, work experience and lifelong friendships is something truly special.  Having this opportunity to spread awareness about Neve Hanna and the amazing things they do, was something very exciting and important to Cameron.

As the Young Leadership Chair, Cameron’s main goal is to inform her family, friends and community about what Neve Hanna does, and the important impact they make on children’s lives. Cameron raises awareness about Neve Hanna through social media and teaches at USY (United Synagogue Youth) convention study sessions.  She has been getting the word out to her community, that everyone should become more involved and support the Neve Hanna family.

In January 2019, Cameron had the remarkable opportunity to visit the Neve Hanna Children’s Home with her family.

Cameron writes:

The minute our bus pulled up to Neve Hanna’s campus, I could feel the love that Neve Hanna radiated. From visiting the Petting Zoo, attending a class with Rabba Liron Levy, followed by a delicious lunch, I began to discover what Neve Hanna was all about.  We ended our day by playing a family basketball game and we all had a blast.

Cameron is an active member of USY and has been involved in Kadima (USY’s program for pre-teens). She has served on the Freshman Leadership Committee and the Religion Education Regional Board.  For the past four summers, Cameron spent a month at Ramah in the Rockies.  At camp, she was a member of the Jewish Outdoor Leadership Institute (JOLI), where she was Wilderness First Aid certified and was able to lead study sessions and be a CIT (Counselor in Training).

American Friends of Neve Hanna is pleased and proud to have Cameron Fields a part of the Neve Hanna family.  Thank you Cameron for all you do. Together, we are changing children’s lives.

Go to http://www.afnevehanna.org to 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.

Torah and Me…searching for a personal meaning

American Friends of Neve Hanna is happy to announce that Rabbi Liron Levy and the scribe will begin holding workshops prior to Rosh Hashana.  There will be a symbolic ceremony, with all the children and staff, to begin the writing of the Torah.  The next series of workshops will be titled Torah and Me…searching for a personal meaning.  The final workshops are for the B’nai Mitzvah class on how to write the Torah and learning the art of the unique calligraphy.

When the Torah is about to be completed, each child will have an opportunity to write a letter, under the guidance of the scribe.

Go to http://www.afnevehanna.org/torah-project to learn more and become a part of this special opportunity and project.  You too can help make a difference in the lives of our children. The proceeds from the Torah Project will be used for the therapeutic programs, leisure time activities and holiday events.

Neve Hanna Children’s Home is Changing Children’s Lives!

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.

 

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.