(photo credit: REUTERS)
LESS THAN two weeks before the High Holy Days, the Rabbinical High Court of Appeals vacated the Fruman building on King George Avenue and moved into its permanent home, on Am Ve’olamo Street in Givat Shaul. Participants in the first hearing in the new premises included Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau and Rabbinical Court judges Rabbi Aharon Katz and Rabbi Eliezer Igra. The former premises of the court were previously used by the Tourism Ministry, and before that by the Knesset. The building will now be revamped to become the Knesset Museum. It will be much more accessible to pedestrians and users of public transportation than the Knesset itself, and will enable younger and future generations who never saw the founding fathers of the state to familiarize themselves with how they looked, where they came from and what they did. A nation that does not know its own history is doomed to fall into oblivion.
ECOLOGICAL AWARENESS has come to Beit Hanina, where Amir Al Keisi has opened a natural foods store on the main street. The store goes by the name of Green Market. Al Keisi, who has been dealing with organic and health foods for some time, was aided in his new venture by MATI, the Small Business Development Center, which provided sound business advice and helped him develop his concept.
IT’S NOT too often that one sees Uzi Dayan, former head of the National Security Council and currently chairman of Mifal Payis, with a big, black kippa on his head. But Mifal Hapayis distributes funds indiscriminately for schools, community centers, sports centers and the like, and Dayan likes to visit places that have benefited from Mifal Hapayis funding. On the first day of the new school year, he went to the Makor Haim Yeshiva in Kfar Etzion, and dressed appropriately. Anyone who buys a lottery ticket is a silent partner to the magnanimity of Mifal Hapayis.
ONE ON One, a new philanthropic fund, was launched in Jerusalem last week with the support of rabbis and community leaders from the national-religious sector. The fund will offer donors several options for earmarking their donations, and through its website will enable donors to more or less keep their fingers on the pulse of whatever cause they decide to support. The fund is chaired by Rabbi Yitzhak Neria. The CEO is Yehuda Am Shalem.
IN THE Ofarim settlement, some 32 km. north of Jerusalem, members of Bnei Akiva inaugurated a new clubhouse in memory of Gil-Ad Shaer, one of the three teenage yeshiva students who last year were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas. The inauguration ceremony was attended by Shaer’s parents and other family members, as well as by MK Moti Yogev, Beit Arye-Ofarim regional council head Avi Naim, local residents and members of Bnei Akiva, including the organization’s leadership. The event was particularly poignant because Shaer had been a Bnei Akiva youth leader.
MINDFUL OF the fact that there is no single definition of Judaism and that everyone interprets Judaism in accordance with his or her own needs and beliefs, Rabbi Shlomo Ra’anan, in 1997, established Ayelet Hashachar, a nonprofit organization working toward creating a united society of religious and non-religious Jews in Israel. A totally non-judgmental organization that recognizes each individual for who he or she is, regardless of religious practice or background, Ayelet Hashachar has developed a platform that serves as a bridge for people of opposing viewpoints to work together. Aware that for most people, the most important part of Rosh Hashana (beyond the apple and honey tradition) is listening to the shofar, Ayelet Hashachar established a special course for moshav and kibbutz members throughout the country to learn the Halacha of shofar blowing. The teachers were all rabbis and experienced shofar blowers themselves. Ayelet Hashachar has also supplied shofars to kibbutzim and moshavim that did not have one. Ra’anan explained that in doing so, it ensured that many more people would hear the sound of the shofar and be stirred toward doing good deeds.