Beit midrash

Newsletter #46 – February 2018

This past month:

Bat mitzvah program:

This was a busy month for the program. We had a meeting about heroes, discussing who were our women heroes? What do they teach us about ourselves? What is a hero to us? We prepared small gifts for each other and there was much excitement and a joyous atmosphere.

The next meeting was with the dads, who are also an important part of the girls’ lives, and we discussed their unique place and relationship. Each father and daughter had some personal time figuring out a riddle, and family time with baking bread. One of the girls summarized the significance of the meeting by saying that she had not had her parents to herself since she was two years old.

The next meeting was also family oriented, with the families joining the Kabbalat Shabbat and a potluck dinner of the community.

Finally, we ended the month back in our usual intimate format of mothers and daughters, focusing on the experience of becoming women and menstruation. Many questions were raised and answered, discussing issues such as embarrassment, and suggesting perhaps celebrating the female health each cycle symbolizes. Each girl received a small kit for herself as a part of this moving meeting.

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Beit midrash:

We have thus far had 7 meetings of our course in kabbalah, this month discussing the traditions that originated in Safed. Please join us for upcoming lessons. Contact Shlomit for details.

Sweet Shabbat:

We continue the tradition of a sweet Shabbat and now donate the baked goods to elders without families. Thanks to all our volunteers that prepared baked goods that were handed out to elders over 90, for whom the Shabbat was so much sweeter!

Homework workshop:

This month we were pleased to start a new project of volunteers assisting children with their English schoolwork. Every Sunday afternoon, everyone is invited to come and bring their English schoolwork and get whatever assistance they need, free of charge. Please come and enjoy this new project!

40 years for the Masorti movement in Israel:

On Tu B’shvat the Masorti movement celebrated this momentous occasion with a fascinating day of study, followed by a Gala dinner (650 people!), in which community honorees were bestowed with a lovely plaque. We were delighted to celebrate with Tzachi Aizik, our honoree, and a significant and special day was had by all. See you at 45!


Coming up:

Kabbalat Shabbat on Feb. 16th, 2018 at 17:15, followed by a community dinner. Please join us!

Sweet Shabbat: the evening before the Kabbalat Shabbat, we will be accepting baked goods that will be distributed to elders without families.

Purim: communal reading of Megillat Esther on Feb. 28th, 2018 at 18:30. Lots of fun for the whole family!


Newsletter #45 – January 2018

This past month:

Bat Mitzvah program:

We are up to half the program and it seems that the girls and their mothers are greatly enjoying their quality time together, being creative, studying and discussing significant issues they don’t get to in the day to day.

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Beit midrash:

We have had six meetings of our dive into aspects of mysticism in Judaism. All are invited to join.


Hanukkah party:

At our new community center we had the annual Hanukkah party, starting with Havdallah, and followed by a magic show, and ending with delicious sufganiyot for all.

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Certificate of recognition for the Sweet Shabbat project:

The city municipality had a celebratory event to appreciate all the volunteers in the city. The community was honored to be appreciated and receive a certificate for its continuing Sweet Shabbat project.

This month the Shomer Tzair youth movement groups of 7th and 8th grade joined us in preparing baked goods to be distributed to families in need. The youngsters came to the community center and we all baked lots of cookies.

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Coming up:

Kabbalat Shabbat:

Friday evening, Jan. 19th, 2018 at 5:15 pm, and this time a special event – the Bat Mitzvah program participants will be joining us.  After the service we will have a potluck dinner.

Sweet Shabbat:

Thursday, Jan. 18th, we will be gathering baked good to distribute to people in need in the city.

Community Honoree:

Zachi Aizik has been chosen as the Community Honoree. As a part of the celebrations for 40 years of the Masorti Movement, he will be bestowed with this honor on Jan. 31st, 2018. Zachi, born 1974, has lived in Yokneam since 2001, and married to Dassi, father to Shira and Daniel. He owns a company for advanced electric solutions, as well as being a student for an MA in Management of Nature and the Environment. Over the years Zachi has become an important member of the community, contributing much to the renovations of the community center this past summer. Being a part of the community has inspired Zachi to become active in other projects of Jewish pluralism in the region. We are pleased and honored Zachi is a part of our growing community.


Newsletter #41, September 2017

This past month:

End of summer celebration:

The annual community end of summer and vacation (yay!) kicked off the activity at the new community building. Lots of excitement among about 100 kids and parents at an entertaining balloon show. After which, the parents blessed the children with the traditional blessing. To round it out, everyone enjoyed popsicles.

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General assembly:

This meeting included affirmation of the CPA’s 2016 fiscal report, electing new board members and deciding on members’ fees for the upcoming year.


Bat mitzvah program:

A meeting to learn about this year’s program will be held Sept. 3rd.

Housewarming and bringing of Torah:

At long last we are delighted to be moving into a special space just for the community on Thurs., Sept. 7th.

Kabbalat Shabbat:

On Sept. 22nd with a potluck communal dinner.

Sukkah decorations workshop:

Sept. 24th at 6pm there will be a workshop for children and parents. RSVP

Beit Midrash (study group):

Starting Oct. we will have a yearlong course about “Secrets of Jewish Mysticism”, led by Rabbi Dubi Hayyun from the Masorti community in Haifa. First meeting (free) on Sept. 26th.

Tashlich ceremony:

On Sept. 27th at 6pm we will meet by the Hashofet stream for a Tashlich ceremony. Please consider bringing breadcrumbs.

Yom Kippur:

Services will be held as customary at the hall of the Alonim community center. Kol Nidre from 6:30 pm.

Newsletter – April 2015

Beit Midrash study group

Earlier this month we finished the study group’s course based on the well known song from Passover – “Who knows one?”. The participants engaged in a refreshing look at central themes of Judaism, such as a new perspective on the Fathers and the Mothers. It was a small but unique group, which willingly accommodated two members who are not native Hebrew speakers. At the final meeting, everyone expressed satisfaction and interest in more of such study in the future.

Bar Mitzvah program for boys

This month the first program for boys of Bar Mitzvah age also came to a close. Throughout eight meetings the boys became familiar with various topics of Jewish tradition, while being encouraged to question and inquire. We are sure this is the first of many programs to come.

Community needs survey

In January 2015, the Ohel Menashe community initiated an online community needs survey. The anonymous survey was designed, conducted, and analyzed by a professional firm.

Most of the participants were women (74%), and all participants were married having an average of 3 children per household. All participants had an academic education, and the average age was 44 (range: 32-80). Of the participants, 62% described themselves as secular, and average length of living in the city was 13 years.

Regarding community activities in which participants currently take part; 45% reported participating in Yom Kippur services, and 25% participate in holiday activities or services. Another 30% reported taking part in volunteering, donations or Tzedakah activities. Regarding activities in which there is a prospective high interest in taking part: 47% chose volunteering, donations or Tzedakah activities, and 42% chose Yom Kippur services. At the other end of this scale; activities in which there is low interest were: daily prayer services, counseling by a rabbi and Shabbat morning services. Interestingly, men displayed a higher interest in Kabbalat Shabbat services.

Regarding what the character the participants would like the city to have from pluralistic perspective: 90% would like the city to have an open atmosphere and 86% would like to choose for themselves how to celebrate holidays.

In the open ended sections, participants were asked to state what activities they would like to participate in, and were not mentioned in the survey. Most requests were for Jewish cultural events (some specifying lectures, other request remain unclear). Some participants mentioned local occurrences of shaming people who had behaved in a manner deemed inappropriate at a (orthodox) synagogue, or a girl who had a Bat Mitzvah and had read from the Torah.