We in Ariel were happy to welcome minister of commerce Naftali Bennett. Naftali visited the local religious public school Ohr Zevulun. The first and second grade classes welcomed the minister with Israeli flags. He was promoting the importance of buying Israeli made “blue and white” products.
Kehillat Ohel Efraim is always happy to be part of the city wide Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration for the religious community and this year was no different. The davening and dancing were spiritually uplifting. The presentation co-ordinated by Yochai Etias was inspirational. This year a special tradition was instituted, where a shofar was presented to one of the recent Olim families. Rav Hillel was proud to make the presentation, this special shofar will be passed along each year to the newest Oleh family. We’re eagerly awaiting the next ones coming this summer!In the day time, the Ohel Efraim community together with Shvut Ariel had a joint tiyul in the Shomron, near Itamar. Rav Hillel carried on the tradition of reading his original children’s book telling the story of Yom Ha’atzmaut!
I wiped off the dust from the old binder and flipped carefully through its pages: a letter from the minister of Education, Zevulun Hammer, a visit from the Prime Minister, Yitzchak Shamir, a request for support to purchase seats, a thank you note for borrowing a Sefer Torah (Torah scroll) . . . and so hours passed like the blink of an eye. Another binder and another folder, another story and another board meeting . . . Twenty five years means a generation and also a community! This is true also for our Community – Ohel Efraim. In reaching our 25th anniversary a generation has passed. The generation of founders worked day and night in order to establish the first Ashkenazi Synagogue in the Ariel, working hard to obtain a structure, furniture, Sifrei Kodesh and a minyan. We are the second generation, the continuation and we hardly realize what was done in order to come to this era where our synagogue stands and flourishes. The differences between the two generations are great.
A title on a page caught my eye . . . from somewhere in the eighties. I ran to my computer and opened a folder My documents/Ohel Efraim/life cycle events/bar mitzva/ “Guidelines for a bar mitzva”. The printed page in the folder and what I see on the screen match exactly, the same things, just one generation later! Both now and then families from the neighborhood came to Ohel Efraim to celebrate their Bar Mitzva on Shabbat, then and now we gave guidance so families could feel at home. The similarities between the two generations are great.
Maybe the scenery in the past twenty five years have changed, but the principles are the same: a synagogue which is a place to serve all the city’s residents, a place where every family can feel at home, where everyone can come and connect to their Creator. Just like the half shekel donation to the mishkan (tabernacle): “The rich should not increase [his donation] and the poor should not decrease.” With the half shekel, everyone brought the same thing. What was done with this money? It was melted down to create the foundations of the mishkan. The mishkan was established on the contributions of the entire congregation. Everyone had a part in it and everyone could feel connected to it.
These thoughts echoed in my head as I sat in Ariel’s Cultural Arts center and listened with pleasure to the Chazannut of Yisrael Rand, laughed with the stories of Shlomi Goldberg and joined in with the songs from the soul of Shlomo Carlebach, surrounded by shul members, residents of Ariel and friends from across the country. Everyone felt connected to Ohel Efraim.
Translated by: Dr Yael Maizels
Here’s a link to an article in Hebrew: “Looking back on 25 years of Ohel Efraim” – Composed after our Gala evening of Jewish Music celebrating our 25th anniversary. Enjoy!
Tu Bishvat is always a special time for kids at Ohel Efraim. This year was no different as we hosted the annual Tu Bishvat event. The older kids learned about which brachot we make including spices with a great powerpoint by Rav Hillel.
They then made besamim boxes with Yael Lockerman.
The younger kids played fruit bingo and made cut paper trees with Rabbanit Yael. The youngest kids had fun with stickers and coloring in.
If you’re looking for a simple Tu Bishvat craft – try fruit bingo. All you need are blank bingo boards 4) Bingo, and fruit stickers (or tree stickers). Print out enough boards for all the kids, and then let them make their own boards by putting on stickers. Put aside one of each sticker so that you can use them to choose a fruit to call out. Let the Tu Bishvat fun begin!
This year in Ohel Efraim we’ve been blessed with tremendous growth particularly of young couples and young families. Part of this is due to an exciting development, the Ariel University is now offering student housing right next to Ohel Efraim! If you’re interested please feel free to be in touch with us.