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!

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.

 

 

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.

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.

 

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.