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Rabbi’s Blog: OZ v'Hadar

02/23/2024 12:53:15 PM


Dear OZ family,

Some of the participants from our Israeli mission are in Israel this Shabbat and some have returned. This week and next, at Seudah Shlishit, we will hear reflections of those who attended, and I invite everyone to hear about our trip, and to be inspired to commit to our next mission, which will be I”YH, in May. We are told that what Israel needs now, they will continue to need for some months, so we hope we can replicate the success of this mission in the near future. As I wrote, and said earlier, Israel desperately needs us now, and this is the time to show our support for that need.

This is the time to set our Pesach and Sukkot plans for Israel. Israel needs our support and monetary infusion much more than Italy, Panama, or Acapulco. Just shopping in Israel and taking a taxi helps considerably. This past Tuesday between stops at the Yahalom base, where they train soldiers in detonation and freeing hostages, with minimum collateral damage, and our barbecue at the Dolev base, we stopped for a boxed lunch at a shopping mall in Ashkelon. It was empty, and this is almost 5 months after Oct. 7.

Israel needs us for a lot of things now, and first and foremost, to be there.

I am including in this message some pictures from Heichal Shlomo, the seat of the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi’s minyan, where we davened Shacharit during the week. The Aron Kodesh was transferred from a shul in Padwa by Shlomo Umberto Navon, who has taken dozens of such structures from defunct shuls all over Europe to find them homes all over Israel. It was originally built in 1733 and dedicated by Binyamin Modini, and has an everlasting memorial in this elegant shul. It is a poignant example of how we can gain some degree of immortality by placing our name in a shul memorial plaque or on a pew. So many such opportunities remain for the renovations of OZ that we made in the last few years (contact the office for more information).

Notice the shoe horn across the front of the Aron, to help Kohanim slip back into their shoes after the daily Birkat Kohanim. There is also an electric outlet, which I also believe was not part of the original structure. They also had numerous zoom participants saying Kaddish for all to hear, over a computer, set up at the Bimah.

In addition to the Seudah Shlishit presentations, I do intend to speak about our mission on Shabbat morning. I remember hearing from some of our members’ children who were already embedded in Gaza by the first Shabbat after Simchat Torah.

They said we should sing on Shabbat like we never did before. We had BODI and a special dinner and the entire Shabbat was very moving. This Shabbat, Ezra Levi and friends will do the same for us over the Shabbat davening, and we’ll talk about the mission at tonight’s OZ dinner as well. Join us for a great Shabbat.

Am  Yisrael  Chai !

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Allen Schwartz

Fri, July 19 2024 13 Tammuz 5784