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Connecting in So Many Ways

Last Thursday night we baked challah in honor of the Shabbos Project. The Shabbos Project is a global, grassroots movement that brings Jews from all over the world together around our shared heritage of Shabbat. During dinner, we prepared the dough and as it was rising we attended our night classes. After our classes and mishmar we braided and baked the challah’s and enjoyed the beautiful aroma that filled the Midrasha. It was enjoyed by everyone who came!

Rav Dovid'l Weinberg was our guest speaker for Mishmar that night. One idea he taught us was that now in the month of Cheshvan we need to connect to Hashem in our own unique way. In Elul we are commanded to say selichot and we shouted out to Hashem those special tefilot. In Tishrei we blew the shofar, its sound shouting out to God without words. In Cheshvan we have no special commandments in which to connect with God. In Cheshvan we need to find our own unique ways to connect Hashem.

We spent last shabbos in each of our Rakezet's communities. Batsheva in Ramot, Rina in Ramat Eshkol, Aliza in Rechavia, and Michal in Neve Daniel. It was an amazing opportunity to connect and spend time with them and their families. On Friday night we went to the local shul and experienced a beautiful davening full of singing and a great atmosphere. We had delicious meals and heard great divrei Torah. We also walked around the neighborhoods and saw what life is like living in all these different communities. On shabbos day we ate lunch and spent time with many different families from the community who all had different stories to share. Afterwards, we went back to our Rakazot’s homes for shalashudus. It was a beautiful shabbos, definitely one we won't forget!

On Monday, we had the privilege of visiting Chevron.  Amidst the graffitied walls and boarded up buildings, a new community emerged. Our tour guide, a resident of Chevron, explained the tactical and religious significance of the land and it's unfortunately bloody history. The purchase of this land was discussed over an entire perek in the Torah, something that is viewed as unusual. Many say the reason why, is due to the fact that the ownership of this land would later be the topic of much dispute between the Jews and Arabs, and Hashem wanted to make the ownership clear. Around ninety families have given up most of their comforts to live in Chevron, knowing the importance of keeping a Jewish presence there despite the danger. It was an honor to see a place that so many have given up their lives for, and it was incredible to witness people who live by their beliefs so strongly and are willing to sacrifice for the good of the nation.

After Chevron, we went to Givat Hatachmoshet (Ammunition hill). Rav Jason was our guide and he told us about the history of the hill from the time it was built as an officer’s school during the British mandate area, through the war of Independence in 1948 that led to a divided the city, and lastly to the Six day war in 1967 and the battle that took place there between our paratroopers and the Jordanians. 182 olive trees were planted on the hill in memory of the fallen soldiers and as we walked around the hill and through the trenches we could only try and imagine the battle that took place then. We feel truly blessed.

Last night was ‘Yemenight’ and this morning we left for another amazing day in which we will experience the Tanach through the Land. Stay tuned for all the details in next week’s news!

Courtney Baker, Rebecca Baratz and Chana Leah Backman, Shana Alef




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