Shalom! I’m Eilat. As Director of the Israel Center of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, I’ll be sharing stories of connection between Minneapolis and Israel, and helping you experience Israel — whether you’re on the shores of Lake Minnetonka or the beaches of Tel Aviv.
Rani Halpern recently returned from Israel as part of the Sabes JCC Artist Labs’ trip, where she and 19 other artists saw Israel through a creative lens. Of course they stopped in Rehovot! Here’s Rani with her experience (and visit the P2G FB page to see more!):
Our visit with the artists in our sister city of Rehovot was one of the highlights of our trip for me.
The last day of our trip in Rehovot we experienced home hospitality, participated in a mosaic workshop and had dinner together with the Rehovot artists. It was an inspiring end to our trip and, I hope the beginning of ongoing relationships.
I was fortunate to be matched with a wonderful mosaic artist (Areleh Kedem) for home hospitality. I had just finished making a mosaic ketubah in Minneapolis, so we had much to discuss sitting together in Areleh’s Rehovot kitchen, and I loved meeting the 10 Israeli women who were taking a mosaic class in her home studio the evening I stayed with her.
Our last afternoon in Israel, the Artist Lab participants and the Rehovot artists all took part in a mosaic workshop together at the Minkov Orchard in Rehovot- a great way to get artists talking to each other is to have them working next to each other on a project that requires some concentration, but not total concentration, such as mosaics!
After we completed our projects, we were treated to a lovely dinner together with the Rehovot artists in one of the historic sites, the Minkov Orchard building.
It was a fabulous last evening for our trip – sharing home hospitality, a workshop and a meal allowed us to leave Israel having made personal connections with working artists in Rehovot.
A Peek into Rehovot
Israel is a place full of memories. We are constantly remembering. We remember the Holocaust, we remember the fallen soldiers, we remember the victims of terror. Throughout Israel memories are set in stone, bronze, cement or any other kind of material used for beautiful and, at the same time, poignant memorial sculptures. There are so many memories and stories scattered throughout this small country and each memorial sculpture holds a story of its own filling a different void.
Danny Karavan, one of Israel’s leading sculptors, designed one such memorial sculpture. Named the Memorial to the Holocaust Plaza, this sculpture sits on the Weizmann Campus and looms
above the visitors with a massive Torah Scroll split in half covered on the outside with ID numbers of concentration camp prisoners.
To quote Shimon Peres, They killed many of us, but they didn’t kill the Ten Commandments. Indeed, this massive sculpture reflects the history of a nation which still stands strong.
Programs in Israel: Masa Israel Teaching Fellow
This year, Yom HaZikaron (Israel’s Remembrance Day) falls on May 11th. Throughout Israel (and in our own community) on the Eve of Yom HaZikaron (May 10th) people gather to remember those who have fallen for the State of Israel.
In 2002 I read about the death of a friend from the past through, of all places, the StarTribune. In the days of dial up, it was painstakingly slow to confirm that Eyal Weiss had indeed been killed in action and within hours I and friends all over the world connected to pour out our memories which morphed into the shape of tears. Tears which will never fully dissipate, no matter how many years go by.
Eyal was in my garin, a core group, which went into Nachal to serve in certain parts of the IDF service together. We were a tight group consisting of Scouts “tribes” from Tel Aviv, Tzehala Rehovot and Yerucham.
Eyal was a leader by all accounts and plenty has been written about him since he was killed.
I have my own personal memories of the conversations Eyal and I had, shaded by the mango trees, as we took breaks from working in the fields of the kibbutz. I remember the bond which grew and grew as the whole garin got to know each other and created a united group of friends. Going into service with friends is a special experience which can only be found in Israel. The friendships last, even when we are no longer in touch with each other. We were a united group, and that will always stay in our hearts and in our memories, no matter how far we are apart geographically.
When parents in our community approach me and share with me that their son or daughter want to go to Israel, join Garin Tzabar and serve in the IDF, my heart swells with pride.
While the path is far from being an easy one, for those choosing it, Garin Tzabar offers a safety net which can provide long lasting friendships, character building experiences and a connection which cannot be replaced by anything else.
Israel in the Community
Sunday, May 8
Tuesday, May 10
Yom HaZikaron – An evening for remembering Israeli fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.
7pm | Sabes JCC
Friday, May 13th
Sunday May 15th
Israel is 68! Let’s celebrate! Join the Twin Cities Yom HaAtzmaut celebrating Israel’s 68th birthday with family activities, a petting zoo and live performance by the Israeli band Halehaka.
4 pm | Sabes JCC