30 November 2010

Happy Hanukkah! - The Festival of Lights

Style Menorah - The Maccabees: "Mi Chamochah Ba'elim A-donai? - Who is like you Oh G-d?"
Hag Ha'urim "The Festival of Lights" it is coming... We say in Hebrew "Hanukkah" (Hanu - "they rested" and Kah - "twenty five" recalling the day when the fighting ceased and the Temple was dedicated. - Hanukkah literally means "Re-Dedication"

Is celebrated (begins at sunset) in December 1 until December 9, 2010.
(on Jewish calendar, 25 Kislev until 2 Tevet, 5771)

Hanukkah or Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, is a celebration of the victory of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple. It also commemorates the miracle of the oil that burned for 8 days

The Families celebrate Chanukah at home or at Synagogue. They give and receive gifs, decorate the house, entertain friends and family, eat special foods, and light the holiday menorah.

At home
Lighting the Chanukah Menorah - The Chanukah Menorah has 8 branches, in contrast to the one in the Temple that had 7 branches. Commencing on 25th Kislev, the Chanukah menorah (or Chanukiah) is kindled to proclaim the miracle of the Temple lights, when the cruse of oil containing only enough oil to light the Temple Candelabrum for one day, lasted for eight days. Starting with one light on the first night, an additional light is added on each of eight nights.

Publicizing the miracle - The lights are placed near a window or doorway in order to publicize the Chanukah miracle.

Ma'oz Zur - This popular hymn is sung after the candles are lit. The song recalls the miraculous defeat of Israel's enemies over the generations.

Chanukah Gelt* or Chanukah Money* - The Chanukah Gelt is distributed to children after the candle lighting.

Dreidel or Spinning top - While the lights are burning, it is customary for the children to play a "put and take" type game with a spinning top, called Dreidel. On the sides of the top are Hebrew letters that both indicate the rules of the game and offer a mnemonic of a Hebrew phrase indicating that "a great miracle happened here."

In the Synagogue - Lights are kindled in the synagogue as well as in the home. Extra prayers are recited. Psalm 30 with its theme of the deliverance of the House of God is an integral part of the festival service in the synagogue.

The Story of Hanukkah
- Every year between the end of November and the end of December, Jewish people around the world celebrate the holiday ofChanukah, the Festival of Lights. Chanukah begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev, but the starting date on the western calendar varies from year to year. The holiday celebrates the events which took place over 2,300 years ago in the land of Judea, which is now Israel

- Long ago in the land of Judea there was a Syrian king, Antiochus. The king ordered the Jewish people to reject their G-d, their religion, their customs and their beliefs and to worship the Greek gods. There were some who did as they were told, but many refused. One who refused was Judah Maccabee.

- Judah and his four brothers formed an army and chose as their name the word "Maccabee", which means hammer. After three years of fighting, the Maccabees were finally successful in driving the Syrians out of Israel and reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem. The Maccabees wanted to clean the building and to remove the hated Greek symbols and statues. On the 25th day of the month of Kislev, the job was finished and the temple was rededicated.

- When Judah and his followers finished cleaning the temple, they wanted to light the eternal light, known as the N'er Tamid, which is present in every Jewish house of worship. Once lit, the oil lamp should never be extinguished.

- Only a tiny jug of oil was found with only enough for a single day. The oil lamp was filled and lit. Then a miracle occurred as the tiny amount of oil stayed lit not for one day, but for eight days.

- Jews celebrate Chanukah to mark the victory over the Syrians and the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple. The Festival of the Lights, Chanukah, lasts for eight days to commemorate the miracle of the oil.

27 November 2010

The Aleh Foundation - One Life at a Time

The Aleh Foundation was formed in 1984 by a group of women to help cope with the staggering need for disabled children in Israel.

In 1989 a delegation from Israel reached out to Rabbi Shlomo Braun to establish a US fundraising office and expand the Aleh Foundation’s public relations and fundraising activities. The Aleh Foundation opened its first office in the United States in
1989, and developed a network of more than 30,000 friends throughout the USA who became staunch supporters of our activities. With the Aleh Foundation’s help, the rehabilitation centers in Israel grew from a hospice program of 23 children to become the nation’s largest provider of educational rehabilitative services to severely developmentally disabled children operating in four different cities in Israel.

The Aleh Foundation hosts an array of successful fundraising events in the Gotham, The Museum of Jewish Heritage, The Marriot, as well as parlor meetings in different locations. Aleh Foundation hosts Gala Events in Los Angeles as well as Chicago and other locations in USA. Prominent Leaders and celebrities from the USA and Israel join our elite circle of friends in our state-of-the-art fund-raising projects. Aleh Foundation organizes many different Bar-Bat Mitzvah Projects in schools or custom-tailored to their needs and School Projects instilling chesed in their curriculum and in their every day lives.

In addition to funds, the Aleh Foundation also sends highly specialized equipment to Israel for use by disabled children, including therapeutic communication toys; specialized cups and spoons; custom designed carriages (See illustration) and wheelchairs, hard-to obtain medicines, clothing and many personal items, all donated by generous supporters.

The Aleh Foundation is now expanding its services to include other select Israeli institutions in the areas of:

Educational and recreational activities
Therapeutic services
Family Respite
Funds for serious illnesses
Food and Clothing
Medical Care

Want to help and donate?
The Aleh Fondation - Helping the Helpless: "One life at a time"

23 November 2010

"We can make a difference..."

...and we should do it"

The Ethics of Jewish Responsibility
Chief Rabbi, Professor Jonathan Sacks

Today we are witnessing a strange paradox. We are confronted daily by images of global disasters: terror, suicide bombers, damage to the environment, countries and continents affected by poverty and diseases, and natural disasters, tzunami, earthquakes. There is something natural - a basic instinct of empathy and sympathy - that makes us want to help when we see people suffering.

At the same time, often feels small and insignificant. What can we do to help? The impact can cause appears inadequate before the scale of these tragedies. There are six billion people today. What a difference an individual can do? We're just a wave in an ocean of humanity, dust on the surface of the infinite.

The story of the "ethics of responsibility" is a Jewish story for our time. Judaism began with Abraham, a single individual. And still the faith of one of the smallest peoples in the world. But Jews have always had an impact disproportionate to the numbers. Why?

The reason is the radical belief embedded in the heart of our faith, we can make a difference - and we should do it. G-d calls us to become His "partners in the work of Creation." The Judaism is not a faith that leads us to accept the world as it is. It is a faith that challenges us to make the world as it should be. It is a cry of protest against injustice and random cruelty of the world.

Some of the main ideas of Jewish ethics: tzedakah (social justice), chesed (acts of kindness), Darche Shalom (the ways of peace) Kiddush Hashem (sanctifying the Name of G-d), and the principle that; "all Jews are responsible for each other". We call Tikkun Olam - Repairing the World , we are called to mend the fractures in the world, one action at a time, one day at a time.

We tend to consider these ideas as something established as if they were self-evident, but are not. They are rooted in a singular vision of G-d, the universe and our place in it. Judaism maintains an extremely high dignity and importance of the individual - as opposed to the masses, the crowd, the nation, the empire. We do not believe that we are tainted by original sin, or that fate is entirely in the hands of Providence. G-d enables us, as a wise father trains his son to grow, develop and exercise responsibility. We are here to do a difference.

Torah really is, as it says in Deuteronomy, "his wisdom and understanding to the nations".

The ethics of responsibility is the key that gives access for fulfilling the life. In the end, what makes us feel fulfilled is not how much we earn, or what we have, but the feeling of having contributed something of value to the world. Simple things like engaging in acts of compassion and generosity, caring for the sick, comforting with the bereaved, offering hospitality to the lonely and helping those in need.

We hope that every act of kindness lights a candle of hope in a world often dark and dangerous.

17 November 2010

The Light Speaks

The Menorah, which literally means Light, a seven-branched candelabrum that has been part of the Jewish tradition for about 3.000 years.

Listen to what the lights are telling us.
by Yanki Tauber

- I'm pure, and keep my purity wherever I go. Light rays that penetrate the filthy dungeon are as pure as those rays that flood a white marble palace.

- My most important use is not providing for you something that has not, but enable him to preserve and develop what you does.

- When you are in darkness, may be on the verge of great danger, or a step of great riches, and be unconscious of both. I, the Light, enlighten you with the knowledge of your potential and what you can accomplish with it.

 - I realize great things, but I can effortlessly.

 - I'm truth.

- I'm a healing force.

I'm colorless, although it embodies all the colors. I lack the substance, mass and weight - but am still an integral part of physical reality. In other words, Am Spiritual.

I struggle to get rid of the physical, but I'm inexorably linked to it. In other words, I'm you.

I'm not an existence for myself, but the revelation of my source.

The Menorah is the symbol of the seven days of creation, the Sabbath, and of Israel’s mission to be the “light unto the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). This light is interpreted through Zechariah 4:1-6 in his account of the menorah when G-d explains that the symbol represents the edict of, "Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit”

- Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch

15 November 2010

The Hadassah Medical Organisation in Jerusalem

Building bridges to nations through medicine

With 800 beds at Ein-Kerem and 300 at Mount Scopus, Hadassah comprises two University hospitals with medical, nursing, dental, occupational therapy and public health schools. Hadassah is world renowned for its highly advanced technology, equipment, treatment, facilities, skilled personnel and advanced research.
It serves as a referral centre for last resort care for people all over Israel, the Palestinian authority, neighbouring Arab countries as well as Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America - and as a pioneer in new medical specialities.

Hadassah is responsible for treating more than 1,000,000 people each year. It has treated more terror casualties than any other hospital in the world, Israelis and Palestinians alike, including saving the lives of wounded terrorists.

"Building bridges to peace through their medical activities"

08 November 2010

"KAV-OR" Organization

Click for English version video

"Kav-Or", Distance Learning and virtual playground for Children in Hospital, a registered public association (NGO), first began operating in 1993 at the "Kaplan" Hospital in the city of Rehovot and at the "Sha'arei Zedek" Hospital in Jerusalem. "Kav-Or" initially operated from within the framework of educational initiatives taken by the David Yellin College of Education in Jerusalem. In 1997 the initiative became an independent registered association, with a Board of Directors of its own, and its goals were redefined. The Association center is, to this day, located at the College, which continues to provide it with great assistance.

"Kav-Or", operates in more than 100 schools children's wards in 27 hospitals, from Eilat in the South to Nahariya in the North. Kav-Or also treats children victims of terrorism who require medical and psychiatric treatment because of the trauma they have undergone. Kav-Or provides its services to hospitalized children from all sectors of Israel's society - veterans and immigrants, religious and secular, Jews and non-Jews – many of whom are from underprivileged backgrounds. To support its work, the Association works with many volunteers as well as with a Friends association.

"Kav-Or", works in collaboration with Ministry of Education schools located in hospitals as well as with additional organizations working to help the children. The program has earned the recognition of the Ministry of Education and Culture and is highly regarded.

Hospitalization involves fears and pains and children's being cut off from their familiar surroundings. In order to alleviate these difficulties, the "Kav-Or" organization provides hospital classrooms as well as stand-alone and portable computers and peripheral equipment, designs friendly learning environments and runs a special website for children that is also translated into Arabic and allows access to activities in additional languages. "Kav-Or" computers have rich and user-friendly menus to access programs, learning software and games, in various fields of  interest and adapted to various age levels. Menu content is updated to keep up with innovations in the field. The Kav-Or website is composed of two sections, one for the general public and the other, requiring a password, offers hospitalized children a variety of activities.

Take a virtual tour "Kav-Or" Org

06 November 2010

TELETON 2010 / 60 years AACD Brazil

Click on the image and go in the site to make your donation