A lasting impression

Even though he no longer has an official position, Peres has not retired but has entered into a new venture to facilitate business opportunities between Israelis and Arabs.

Students of the Gidonim Reut High School traveled to Poland to spend eight days cleaning up and restoring the Jewish cemetery in Czestochowa. (photo credit: Courtesy)
Students of the Gidonim Reut High School traveled to Poland to spend eight days cleaning up and restoring the Jewish cemetery in Czestochowa.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
FOR SEVERAL summers now, students of the Gidonim Reut High School have traveled to Poland to help clean up and restore the Jewish cemetery in Czestochowa, which is approximately the same distance from Krakow as Tel Aviv is from Jerusalem. At the end of their annual mission, a ceremony is held in which each student is asked to visit the grave that left an impression on him or her and to state why. Sometimes it’s because it is the grave of a relative. Sometimes it’s because the student and the deceased share the same name. Sometimes it’s simply because the grave was overgrown with weeds and the student had made it presentable.
Another aspect of the ceremony is the reading of a letter from one of the school’s former principals, the late Aryeh Geiger who, together with Dina Weiner, initiated the cemetery project.
During eight days of hard work, the students cleaned up and documented approximately 900 gravestones, some of which had not been visible under the weeds and bushes. After the data they assembled have been processed, they will be posted on the school’s website.
This year’s student group was led by Weiner and Danny Kahn, who while in Czestochowa, met with Mayor Krzysztof Matyjaszczyk in his office. The mayor is keenly interested in the project, which has received wide coverage in Czestochowa’s electronic and print media. Gazeta Czestochowa featured an article about the project on its front page.
IN THE midst of Operation Protective Edge, The Temple Institute has launched an unprecedented crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the construction of the Third Temple on Mount Moriah.
“This is what will bring true peace as the promised house of peace and prayer for all nations,” says the institute’s international director Rabbi Chaim Richman.
The campaign began this week on rosh hodesh Av with the message that if the ninth of Av commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples, the first of Av symbolizes the beginning of the construction of the Third Temple.
THE TEL Aviv-Jaffa Municipality placed a large advertisement in blue and white in one of the Hebrew newspapers last Friday in which it welcomed the city’s honorary citizen Shimon Peres on his return home. The nation’s former citizen No. 1 did not exactly return home – that is, he did not return to the apartment on Oppenheimer Street in north Tel Aviv that he shared for many years with his wife, Sonia. That apartment was sold soon after her death in 2011. Israel’s ninth president, who is now a private citizen, has moved into a three-room apartment in the ultramodern Ne’eman Towers overlooking the Tel Baruch beach.
Even though he no longer has an official position, Peres, who will celebrate his 91st birthday tomorrow, has not retired but has entered into a new business venture with his son Chemi to facilitate business opportunities between Israelis and Arabs from countries in the region. He believes that peopleto- people relations based on mutually beneficial joint ventures will do more to bring about peace than anything that politicians might achieve.
ALTHOUGH HAREDI parents generally balk at sending their children to university or other secular educational facilities, there is an increasing realization that certain secular qualifications are needed for professions and careers that will guarantee a decent livelihood. There is also the realization that in the digital age, knowing how to use a smartphone is not enough.
That may be the reason that leaders of various haredi communities have become more lenient in allowing women to pursue courses of study that until recently had been taboo.
One recent example is the Ma’aleh School of Television Film and the Arts, which utilizes films to bridge the gap and promote dialogue between religious and secular Jews, while simultaneously but non-coercively giving secular Jews a better knowledge and understanding of their heritage.
Last week, Ma’aleh inaugurated a special course for haredi women that will enable them to reach their creative potential without compromising their beliefs and will give them the tools to earn an income. The coordinator of the program is Rachel Elitzur, herself a graduate of the school. As soon as it became known that the haredi leadership was not raising any objection to the enrollment of women from its communities, Ma’aleh was flooded with requests for registration.
IT’S BAD enough for Ben-Gurion University of the Negev president Prof. Rivka Carmi that rockets from Gaza have disrupted university studies, but on top of that, 1,500 BGU students have been called up for reserve duty. Carmi revealed this on Sunday to participants in the third Australia-Israel-UK Leadership Dialogue, at the group’s opening dinner at the King David Hotel, Jerusalem.
What she didn’t say was that hundreds of BGU student volunteers remained in the conflict zone to run summer camps for area children, and to work as volunteers in many other spheres to help residents of the South wherever and whenever help was needed.
Carmi, a pediatrician by profession, recalled the days when she would meet with colleagues from Gaza and consult on any number of issues related to the medical care of children and adolescents.
It breaks her heart, she said, to see how many innocent children in Gaza have been killed or injured in the current conflict, but at this stage she can’t meet with Gazan pediatricians. This is because Israel has to continue its battle with Hamas, which she said is in the world’s best interest.