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.

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.

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.