Friday, December 25, 2009


Ahoy Mateys! This humorous musical produces a fun and relaxing atmosphere for family, friends and children. The costumes were creative and colorful, and the music was very professional. I went with a young lass, my friend Chaya, for an afternoon performance of the Pirates of Penzance at the Hirsch Theatre in Jerusalem. Of course, we allowed her mom, Rene, to go along for the ride since she was holding the doubloons.

In the beginning of the performance, the main character, Frederic, along with his Pirate mateys, are celebrating with "Yo Ho Ho" what they believe to be his 21st birthday. Due to his nursemaid being hard of hearing, she had misunderstood his father's desire for him to become an 'apprentice pilot' and instead turned him over to a band of buccaneers of the high seas when he was a wee lad to serve as an 'apprentice pirate' until his 21st birthday.
But a dilemma unfolds when it is brought to everyone's attention that Frederic was born on February 29 which only comes every four years on leap year – Aye! Aye! Mateys, that 'ere's the truth! So when they calculate the years versus the birthdays, he may be 21 years old, but he has only had five birthdays! – Oy vey!
Although, the gentlemen of fortune were considered 'scallywags' within society, this particular band of Pirates was totally unsuccessful as bandits of the seas, and considered total failures with no booty 'n plunder, and known only for their merciful kindness to their victims. They claimed they were lilly-livered cowards with no stomach for criminal activity since they were nothing but innocent orphans cast upon the sea of misfortune.
The dilemma broadens when Frederic meets a refined young lass on the beach. The fortunate meeting eventually introduces him to the landlubbers of high society until it is discovered there is a 'pirate among them'!
Life for the town turns topsy-turvy as the rumor-mill churns! 'Pirates among us! They're coming to steal your doubloons!' Oy vey!
The town constable and his tribe shudder at the mere mention of "PIRATE"! Assuming the worst conduct imaginable is thrown at the community's doorstep – coming to steal everyone's pieces o' eight - it is their responsibility to rid the town of the scallywags and send them to fiddlers green! But HOW?
They begin to ponder a strategy, when an elderly military General, who acclaims fame, not by military feats but by wealth, comes to the rescue with his numerous unwed lasses who have become enamored with the tenderhearted simpletons.
The concluded strategy is a wedding, Aye! Pieces o' eight! Is a purty good booty for each lass!

Aye! Aye! with a hearty Yo, Ho, Ho!, a little Jewish flavor was added to the performance in Israel. A rabbi shows up hoisting a wedding chuppa, instead of ol' Jolly Roger! Each callah grabs a shy chatan and passes through receiving the blessing of the rabbi.

Aye! Aye! Mateys! the buccaneers have plundered the General's household, but it’s the lasses who take home the booty!
In the end, Queen Victoria appears to pardon each of them.
My thanks to Chaya and her mom, Rene, for my wonderful birthday present 2009!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why 9 Lights at Hanukkah?

חנוכה = Hanukkah, from חנוך = education, but also means dedication
חנוכיה = Hanukkiah (9 branch candle-holder used only at Hanukkah)
8 lights represent the miracle for 8 days in which oil reproduced itself
1 light is the 'shamash', the servant candle which lights the 8
Compared to:
מנורה = Menorah, the 7 branch candelabra which rested in the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) & illuminated the inner sanctuary. It was lit with a special processed olive oil from the olive press. The Menorah, the olive and its oil are the symbols of present-day Israel: the olive branch represents the supernatural peace of Hashem which rests over the Jewish People; olives must endure the pressure of the olive press to become the purest olive oil, a reminder of the struggle for the Jews to survive their dispersion among the nations; and the Menorah represents the nation of Israel, a light among the nations. Yet, more than that, the light represents the illuminated face of Hashem upon His people, and the fulfillment of prophecy that He will return this people to their homeland from the 4 corners of the world, NOT for their sakes, BUT for His namesake!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Don’t Follow the Path, Pave It!

(ALL material for this posting was provided for by The Committee for a Jewish Shdema and Women in Green.)
“Don’t follow the path, pave it!” is the motto of the dedicated, pro-active, and energetic Shdema Youth. These young people from around the country participated in various events in Shdema during the past year. Realizing the importance of Shdema as a flagship for the struggle for the Land of Israel, they decided to organize themselves and to recruit additional youth to the campaign for a Jewish Shdema.
In the past months they’ve intensified their activities with events, hikes, and building projects.
• During the month of Elul, dozens of youth from Yeshiva L’Tze’irim came to Shdema for Slichot.
• Last Friday, youth from the military academy (mechina) of Nokdim came to Shdema to hear the lecture of Brig.Gen. Yehuda Duvdevani in honor of the yartzeit of Rehavam Ze’evi.
• Last Sunday, the youth of Shdema hiked from Shdema to Herodion. This area never sees Jewish hikers, and the youth were treated to many “discoveries”: water wells, almond orchards, and caves. So far, there’s no water or electricity in Shdema, so the discovery of nearby water sources is propitious for our future development plans.
• On Monday, 8 Cheshvan, girls from Midreshet Tohar in Yad Binyamin visited Shdema. They immediately went to work painting, planting, and cleaning. Before departing, they heard lectures on the importance of the struggle for Shdema and on Rachel Imeinu, whose resting place is just a few hills over from Shdema.
Another group of youth also visited Shdema that Monday. They found good use for some of the trash littering Shdema by recycling old tires into armchairs!

To join the activities of the youth for Shdema or to order one of their special t-shirts, call Tzuri at 054 6522292 or Tchiya at 050 4500834.

Attached are a few pictures of the latest activities by the Shdema youth in Shdema and the logo of their T-shirts.
With love for Israel,
The Committee for a Jewish Shdema and Women in Green
For details : Nadia Matar 0505500834 or Yehudit Katzover 0507161818

Thursday, October 22, 2009

GREATNESS: The Israeli "Gandhi"

Moriel and Hodaya visit Har Herzl Cememtery to learn about great men and women in Israeli history. They are in Kita Tet.

(In Memory of Rehavam Ze’evi, 1926-2001)
At the bottom of the stairs I had just descended, two teenage girls yelled at me: “Take our picture! Take our picture!”
I asked: “Why?”, and they replied: “BECAUSE WE ARE IMPORTANT!”
How can a photo-journalist walk away from such self-proclaimed ‘greatness’? So I accommodated their demand. After all, if youth proclaims greatness, who knows what will be in their future!
Don’t even ask what their importance was. They are teens! And most teens carry with them a confidence of self-significance. After all, unbeknownst to them, they have not yet been tamed by the experiences of life.
I photographed them and requested of them to tell about their day’s event at Mt. Herzl Cemetery.
Excitedly, they rambled on about learning of the historical greatness of the man Herzl, followed by lectures of heroes and heroines while visiting the military area. All the while, I thought: “What a perfect, yet - so it seemed – a missed opportunity for them to learn of greatness in their immediate generation, since the whole purpose for hundreds in appearance, including Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Peres, along with a number of other government ministers, that day was for the Memorial of Rehavam ‘Gandhi’ Ze’evi, assassinated over 8 years ago.”
As the girls sailed out the gate, running after their bus which was leaving them behind, I stood watching and silently prayed for teachers not to neglect to educate our youth of the examples of greatness which has passed on in their generation so they will be able to recognize greatness in their midst.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Saba Efraim with his grandchildren, Yosef & Yaakov Tzvi
It’s a big mitzvah to invite guests into your succah during Chol Hamoed Succot. My host at Horesha was Ephraim who warmly invited me into his family succah. A happy, proud Saba, he was met with smiles and joy from a number of grandchildren including Yosef and Yaakov. Along with Saba’s instructions, the kids explained a little about the happiness of being in their succah. He is a great example of a Jewish grandfather taking his religious responsibilities serious and passing the knowledge of Torah from one generation to another.As I watched Ephraim light up with joy as he held each one of the boys, I thought of the rewards Hashem must extend to a Jewish man who trains his children and grandchildren to walk in the ways of the Lord! Yet, the greatest of these blessings must be the peace of knowing that no matter what happens, in the end that child will know he is a Jew, living in a Jewish land, among the Jewish People, serving the God of Israel!Such a Jewish father or mother never looks back with regret! The Jewish People always look forward with hope for a better tomorrow!
May the Guardian of Israel extend His peace upon the mountains of the Shomron and upon the homes wherein His righteous ones live! They are the watchmen, the shomrim, for the rest of Israel. Is it any wonder our enemies want them removed.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009



Train a child according to his way; even when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
The most popular story in the Tenach about Shiloh is in Book of I Shmuel, chapter 1. It is about a woman who so desired a child, she prayed to Hashem and He gave her the gift of a son that we come to know as the Prophet Shmuel. Amazingly, Hannah handed over her son, Shmuel, into the care of the Priest Eli who could not control his own sons! How could she trust Eli to bring up her child in the ways of the Lord?
Hanna represents a mother’s faith in Hashem for the ultimate care of her child. Looking beyond the circumstances, even though a mother often sees the worst, a mother will rise above the negative and believe the best for her children. She will stand with her face to the wall, weeping in persistent prayer, hounding the gates of heaven until she is consoled by no one but Hashem. Her faith only allows her to see the best in a son or daughter. Many times I have witnessed this innate love and faith of a righteous Jewish mother win out in the end and even the most rebellious sons become the mighty or the most humble leaders among men.
Walking amidst the sons and daughters of Israel who are taught the ways of the Lord is such a pleasure!


Asaf P’ney-El and Company
Performers and musicians mingled among the crowd dressed in appropriate attire for the place and the occasion. Suddenly, you were stopped in your tracks when someone started shouting! Drawing a crowd, the actors started acting out Biblical drama depicting characters of an ancient episode in history

Monday, October 5, 2009

Israeli Children Plant a Stone

Bulldozers in the background!

Children lined up to plant a stone on the hillside of their future new home, B’nei Dekalim. Although they are too young to understand the past, the stone represents renewed hope for their mothers and fathers who were the youth of yesterday when they experienced the expulsion from their homes; and a new vision for tomorrow for their grandparents, former residents of Gush Katif.
The ceremony of the Even Pinat was followed by a performance of the Boys' Choir, Pirchei Neve Dekalim. The music was fun and enjoyed by young and old kids alike.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

'WHO AM I? מי אני

AND WHERE AM I? ואפה אניOn Succot 2009, children and youth made 'aliyah to Shdema' to rejoice in the G-d of Israel and celebrate their freedom to live in the Land of Israel. Many climbed the hill to Shdema for the first time, while others returned after going up a number of times.
Hundreds enjoyed the main events: the donkey ride;

Elazar the balloon-man & a knife-swinging juggler.

Brothers slugged it out to see who would be the rightful 'boss' of the hill in a bitter duel to the end!
While a brother & sister drew swords and cried out: "On guard!"

Kids surrounded the baby donkey to comfort her while mom was out & about with other kids.

ב'עזרת השם יהיה אלייה לשדמה בשנה הבאה, משבוע ל'שבוע

Friday, October 2, 2009


Deep within the soul of a Jewish Jew is buried a love for the Land; and hidden within the Land is a cry for the Jew to return and take possession of it. The People are Hashem's inheritance; the Land is the People's inheritance; and children are an inheritance from the L-rd!

CHILDREN OF THE OUTPOSTS: B'nei Adam; Ronen Farm; Gilad Farm; Horesha

Hebrew roots of another kind: NACHALA = נחלה
During neilah (closing) service on Yom Kippur we make several statements to remind us of who we are followed by an acknowledgment of who He is. Embedded in the list is: “We (the children of Israel) are Your (Hashem’s) heritage!” = אנו נחלתך...!
The Hebrew root of this word is:
נחל = (na chal) a. to receive a possession such as wealth, glory or inheritance;
b. river or stream which flows from a fountain or water that flows through a dry river bed during the rainy seasons and is dry through summer (wadi)
Derived from this root are:
נחלה = (na cha lah) a. inheritance or heritage which is found often throughout the Torah, referring to the Jewish People as Hashem’s heritage and the Land of Israel as the inheritance of the Jews;
b. taking possession of any thing
Verb infinitive:
לנחול = (lin chol) to possess, to inherit
Modern term for a Jew who settles the Land of Israel:
מתנחל = (mit na chel) settler
התנחלות = (hit na cha loot) a settlement
Verb infinitive:
להתנחל = (l’ hit na chel) to settle on land

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Call It "Normal Growth"

This collage speaks for itself! It was sent to me by my friend, Sharon Katz, editor and publisher of Voices Magazine. The Big Pic is what I call a 'herd of Katz'; bottom left is Sharon and Izzy Katz. The New Year message reads:
The Katz Family wishes you a year of blessing:
*Torah light *good health* happiness *fun *success *nachas *song *laughter *adventure *chesed *doing for others *doing for yourself!
May Hashem bless you and your loved ones in this coming year, and may we as a People know peace, security, the Ingathering of the Exiles and the Rebuilding of our Holy Temple and the Redemption of our nation.

VOICES MAGAZINE is found online at:
You can also access Sharon's blog at:
It provides firsthand acounts, plus a wealth of other information about regular Jewish folks living in their homeland, Israel!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Israeli youth living in Hebron have to face the hostility of foreign anarchists on their doorsteps all too often. Being provoked by obscene remarks, they have been forced to defend themselves against the intruders by speaking up for themselves.
I was in Hebron recently and stopped by to visit the Rebbetzin and her children. She was not home, but I had a good visit with three of her kids, T’hila, Emunah and Yosef. Surprisingly, they remembered they had shared refreshments with me in their Succah last year and asked me to come again this year.
In the course of our conversation, I asked them what they would want to say to the world at large. After a few bold statements, I asked them to write a short letter in their own words which follows. Yosef was too busy to bother since friends were awaiting his appearance outside.
יש לנו את הזכות לגור בחברון כי זה ליד קברי אבותינו ואמהותינו הקדושים: אברהם, יצחק, יעקוב, שרה, רבקה ולאה. אנחנו מזמינים את כל מי שרוצה לבא לבקר ולחדק את המקום.
(TRANSLATION: From T’hila: “We have a G-d given right to live in Hebron! It is the burial place of our righteous forefathers – Avraham, Yitzak and Yaakov, and also three of our ancestral mothers – Sarah, Rivka and Leah. We invite everyone who wants to come and visit, and strengthen this place.”)
כה חשוב לגור בחברון כדי להראות לכל העם שחברון שייכת לעם ישראל ולא צריך לחלוק אותה עם שום עם אחר כי ה הבטיח לנו אותה ושום עם לא יכול להגיד שהיא שייכת לנו כי אברהם קנה אותה בכסף מלא מעפרון.
(From Emunah: “It is so important to live in Hebron in order to show all people that Hebron is designated for the People of Israel, and it should not be opposed by other people because Adonai promised it to us. And again people should not say that the city is not ascribed to us because Abraham bought the land with money from Ephron the Hittite.”)

Thursday, September 10, 2009


שבות אוריה = Shvut-Oriyah means “The Return of the Light of G-d”.
Names given to religious Jewish children are usually names or phrases found in the Torah. I believe such names carry with them prophetic, if not divine, statements for the times we live in.
Such is the young lady, Shvut-Oriyah, from Kiryat Arba. As she walked through hostile territory to protest illegal Arab building, she had an aura of self-confidence and self-determination, a quiet, non-assuming trust in the G-d of Israel.


I am Devorah from California, and I recently made aliyah in January 2009 at the age of 21. I formerly lived in Anaheim, although I was born in France. I studied in Berkeley where I received a degree in English. Yeah! After aliyah, I was fortunate enough to get a job. I am working in Jerusalem and living in Givat Ze’ev. I will be joining the Israeli army for a year in October.
People are curious why I came to Israel. But I can honestly say I never felt proud to be Jewish until I went to college where I rediscovered my Jewish identity. After coming with Taglit to Israel, I felt a connection to the land and knew that this was my home, Israel, where I belong.

Little Girl on a Swing

One of my very best favorite friends, Racheli Katz, recently became the ‘Natzig’ for the children of Givat Zeev when she wrote a personal letter to Mr. Yossi Avrahami, the Rosh Hamoatzah. I had the honor of taking her to deliver the letter by hand but Mr. Avrahami wasn’t in his office. Racheli was well received and taken seriously by his secretary when she explained her request. His attentive secretary took notes and promised to give the letter to the Mayor when he returned to work. She also said the Mayor would phone her once he reviewed her letter.
Racheli explained she was 6 years old so she drew 6 hearts on the letter, a heart for each year of her life. She designed a girl on a swing as her logo, then wrote her request in Hebrew: To Yossi Avrahami from Racheli: “I am requesting swings.”
Her full petition is a request for swings to be put in her favorite playground, the Dinosaur Park across from her synagogue. Her appeal is not for herself alone, but also for her friends around the same age. At one time, the children had fun on swings until they suddenly disappeared. So, Natzig Racheli is speaking on behalf of all children who miss the swings as they frequently play in the park, especially during the summer months of school vacation.
(PHOTO Natzig Racheli & the Mayor's Secretary)

Kickin' Up Their Heels

What event takes place when Maayan and Oriyah face off?


ANSWER: Two sisters dukin' it out! OR, in this event, two sisters kickin' up their heels! Afterwards, huggin' & makin' up!
All happening at the Shdema Cultural Center, July 31, 2009