A Breath of Fresh Air in the Mountains of the Shomron

Archive for the ‘From the Rabbi’s Desk’ Category

The Mohel of Ariel – יש מוהל באריאל

Rav Hillel Maizels of the Ohel Efraim Shul in Ariel is available for brisses!

mohel

As the only mohel in Ariel, Rav Hillel’s accessability to the town’s residents is a huge plus. Now parents don’t have to start searching for a mohel, when there’s one right on their doorstep. And especially if the brit is on Shabbat, the family doesn’t need to host the mohel for the whole shabbat.

Rav Hillel’s warm bedside manner and professionalism take after his father, a well-known mohel in South Africa.

 

 

To contact Rav Hillel: 054-7601015 or yaelhillel@gmail.com

 

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Reflections on 25 years

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Rav Hillel welcomes the crowd to the event.

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.

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Ohel Efraim members old and new join in singing Hatikva.

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.

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Yisrael Rand and accompanying chazzanim.

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.

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The crowd joins in for a Carlebach niggun.

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

Reflections on 25 years (Hebrew)

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!

חגיגת חצי יובל לאוהל אפרים

 

Dvar Torah for Parshat Vayigash

Parshat Vayigash

Why did Yaakov send Yehuda down to Egypt “to prepare the way” when Yosef was already there?

Laying a stone for the Netzarim Shul in Ariel

Although we created this website to highlight what’s going on in Ohel Efraim, we took part in an event over Chol Hamoed Succot that we just have to share.  The community of Netzarim from Gush Katif has been living in Ariel since 2005.   They originally settled in the Ariel University dorms and eventually moved into a temporary caravan site near the college.   That has been the status quo since 2005.

The Netzarim community has added a new element to religious life in Ariel which complemented some of the more veteran communities including Ohel Efraim and Shvut Ariel.  They brought a Yeshivat Hesder to Ariel and have a wide variety of social and religious activities.   Kehillat Ohel Efraim and Kehillat Netzarim have been partners in learning initiatives in the city.

Rav Hillel lays a stone for the new Netzer Ariel Shul

We were happy to take part in the stone laying for the new Netzarim Shul in Ariel, in the neighborhood planned to finally give this community a permanent home.  The community was touched by the busloads of Mizrachi Olami members who came to join in the simcha!   We hope that the growth of the religious communities in Ariel grows for years to come.

Open Succa!

Welcome to our Succa!

On the holiday of Succot we live for seven days outside in a temporary structure.  Succot are naturally open, you can often hear your neighbor’s zemirot or get a visit from the local wildlife.  Succot lend themselves to guests.  This fits nicely with a theme represented by the four species that all elements of Am Yisrael are bound together on Succot.

Happy to be in the Succa!

Our Succa this year was blessed to have two gatherings grace its walls.  On Friday night Shabbat Chol Hamoed Succot we invited the whole community for singing, Divrei Torah and snacks.  I taught a special song “Om Ani Choma אום אני חומה” that I learned from Rav Amital Z”L from my days at Yeshivat Har Etzion.

Come and have a bite!

On Shabbat afternoon Yael organized the first ever Ohel Efraim Succa Hop!  We visited the Kessin, Maizels and Buchbut Succa, had snacks, sang songs and told stories – but this time for the under seven crowd!

Ed:  All pictures were not taken on Shabbat or Chag!

Ohel Efraim Year Round

A short clip of some of our activities and a message from the Rabbi and Rebbetzin.