Sunday, 12 February 2017

Growth and Development for a Hebrew Birthday

Today was my Hebrew birthday, always a difficult day for me. I am not sure when it became such a hard day. Perhaps it was when I realised how many years had been taken up with a chronic illness, perhaps it's the realisation of how many moves I have made. Perhaps it's the fact that I seem to put in so much effort but still the struggles remain. If I could just have some stability, that would help so much. I mean 43 moves in one life time is really quite insane.

So I rounded up my mom and my husband and off we went to Kever David and the Kotel tunnels. To me this was really significant. Firstly David HaMelech (King David) had really wanted to build the Temple and put in so much effort. It was of course his son King Solomon who had the merit of building the First Temple. King David wrote Tehillim, the Psalms that are filled with his own struggles on all kinds of levels. King David certainly endured much suffering but came through it all praising Hashem. It's so very special to live in the Holy Land of Israel and to be able to visit these special places. A strong reminder that the history we read of in the Bible and teachings form Judaism are not just stories they are real!

As we walked from the grave of King David to the Kotel, the above image was one of very many impressive sites that we could visit or enjoy along the walk. The image says so much. I don't know enough about the history of all the excavations, but it has a powerful effect when standing and pondering it for a while. There are places that have some signs with information. One can learn up more for those who are interested. For me, it is enough to have that strong message that King David yearned for the Temple and here I was walking to the ruins where the Temple had stood. What will it take for this generation to internalize the same kind of yearning that King David had?

The line today to get to the Kotel was super long. It seemed like every tour in Israel was coming to the Kotel today. I thought the waiting would never end, but of course, as King Solomon teaches, everything has it's time and so the time to go through to the Kotel happened for us too.

Going into the tunnels is so incredible. I love being able to see the progress as the team working inside excavates, improves, cleans. Do they do some building too? Finally we were able to stand at the very special place that is opposite the Holy of Holies. Praying there is always special. It would be nice if the tour groups would have some more respect for those who are praying. Oh well, I guess we have to put in our fair share of struggling to make up for what Jerusalem has been through.

All in all, it was special to have the opportunity to have the reminder of what is important in life and where our focus should be. Focus on the Temple is something that we have our attention on during our prayers three times a day.

With all the crowds and the pushing, we were left with mixed feelings. The place helps to give one a reminder of what is important to the life of a Jew. It helps us to realise just what a miracle took place in the Holy Temple every time the Jews gathered to pray. Quite a thought to consider that there was enough space for everyone? A total miracle!

As the day draws to an end, I ask you to join me in reaching my goal. To use my skills to develop a special centre. The centre contains a number of services. We have even spoken about having a vehicle that we can use to take groups of students or visitors to visit these Holy places and Kivrei Tzaddikim. What are your thoughts about visiting these Holy Places? What are your thoughts about the Kotel? Do you yearn for it like David HaMelech did? Will you join in to build a centre that has services set up to do our part in Hastening the Final Redemption?

This post is prepared for you by
Occupational Therapist, healing facilitator, certified infant massage instructor, freelance writer and co-author of "Tuvia Finds His Freedom" and author of "Healing Your Life Through Activity - An Occupational Therapist's Story"

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

It's All About Building

There is much work to do in order to build Israel to the level necessary for the final redemption. I have had a dream of a treatment centre for years. I began working on developing this centre when I was in South Africa. For various reasons, I decided to relocate my full idea to Israel. The more my learning progresses and the more I work towards this dream, some revisions have taken place.

At the beginning of 2017 I wrote a post about our progress in developing this centre. You can read that post here

One major change or addition to my original idea, has been the addition of our very special service to empower orphans especially at the time that they marry. As a part of this we were starting to set up a store. Not just any store. This store had items we had spent hours in sourcing, gathering, displaying etc. Some of the items went directly to our orphans and some were sold to help to earn the funds necessary to cover the expenses in establishing and managing this service. As we progressed, a widow had wanted us to add some bridal gowns to what we do.

We had no space for the bridal gowns but did see the potential. We decided to give it a go, knowing we required the support of kind donors in the community in order to make this a reality. This was a very huge leap of faith and can succeed with the support of others.

The video that follows outlines where we were at about a 18 months ago.

One of our greatest challenges has been a venue to house these bridal gowns. Since we were developing this service from our home, the growth in this service has had an impact on us too and visa versa. Around Pesach last year, we had to move and since the bridal gowns were only being temporarily stored (in someone's apartment with little access for us to the gowns) we wanted a place where we could bring the bridal gowns too. We tried another crowd fundraiser but without success. Finally the move had to happen. We had a decision to make and there was not much time to plan it correctly.

The items from our store were sent off to the orphans from Bayit Lepletot who are preparing to get married. At least 8 orphan brides were assisted from these items. That part was good, but we did not obtain the necessary funds to move the gowns and set them up.

On our side, we made our move. We had many unforeseen challenges and set backs with the move but the bridal gowns came with us. Sadly the room for the bridal gowns is smaller than I thought it was. As you will see in the next video, we can hardly step back enough to video the gowns sufficiently. Every bride who has come to us has complained about the lack of space. There is not a lot we can do without 1) brides renting gowns which enables us to earn from the rental fee and 2) community support.

As you will see in the first video, our goal was to help orphan brides at no charge. Currently we can not do this unless we have a sponsor for the orphan bride. The simple reason is that we have not yet covered the costs involved in setting up this service. Our rental prices are kept on the lower range to help those marrying on a budget. While the brides stall in coming until we have larger space, we still, have rent of the space to be paid where they currently are.

I have many plans for developing the bridal service. It has so much potential, but only in the right venue.

The apartment we are in does have another room, smaller and darker. The other room was supposed to be for my OT treatments and consultations. Already I had to let go of a client due to lack of adequate space and equipment. I have also been delaying on marketing my OT services as the space is just not suitable.

We have begun another campaign. The next video shows the bridal gowns and tells a little about what all this is aimed towards, ie the development of my full vision.

Please take a look at both videos and visit our crowd fundraiser. Crowd Fundraising has become a very effective and popular way to come up with the funds to begin a venture, expand a business, improve a service, bring out a new product. We do have a few products on the go that we are developing, however, our first major need is the venue, the location to house the work that we are doing.

We have some very touching letters of thanks from those we have assisted. Please help us to continue to grow and develop what we are doing. Please help us to build this centre. In doing so, you will enable me to use all of these skills, knowledge and insight that Hashem has blessed me with, in order to give of myself in the very best way possible. 

Take a look at the image at the start of this blog post. What a difference a venue makes when there is space, light and the opportunity to breath and move and really experience the location or room. Look again at our video. The work we are doing deserves the appropriate venue so as to help our clients in the best possible way. 

Please share the campaign. If you email me a capture of your sharing the campaign, I will email you a Pdf copy of a poem and drawing that I wrote and drew some years ago. That is my thank you for every share of this campaign.

Thank you for your assistance

This post is prepared for you by
Occupational Therapist, healing facilitator, certified infant massage instructor, freelance writer and co-author of "Tuvia Finds His Freedom" and author of "Healing Your Life Through Activity - An Occupational Therapist's Story"

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Who Belongs in Israel?

I did not expect to find it in a professional group, but the issue about occupation in Israel creeps in there too. I do not like to get into politics but if pushed then here is the answer. If you would like to know who belongs in Israel, the answer is to be found in Tanach. G-d created the world. The vast majority of the land is available to the 70 nations who are not Jews. There is one tiny stretch of land that G-d instructed with a very specific purpose. When that purpose is fulfilled, peace radiates out to all of the world. 

It is really so simple. We follow the way that the creator of everything wants, and the result will be life, goodness, peace, unity and blessing. Go against His direction and the result is the opposite.

If you would like to know where those sources are to be found, sign up to study with Rabbi Eliyahu Shear. The answers are all quite clearly written in the Torah and then the additional section which makes up Tanach. 

If you would like to begin entering in to debating why you believe that someone other than who G-d directs to live in Israel should be here, my answer is take your argument to G-d. I have no time for such matters. There is too much work to be done in building the land

If you still wish to argue my response is - what about the promise that G-d offers? Don't you want peace? Don't you want unity? Don't you want blessing and goodness and life? These are the gifts that G-d promises to following His will. The Tanach is filled with stories of what happens when we try another version of what G-d wants. Along with His directive as to who should live in Israel and what should take place here is an entire lifestyle of how to live. I am not the one to make this up. It's right there in the Tanach. Only do yourself a favour and read the original. 

If you do not understand Hebrew, sign up for a shiur. Rabbi Shear is happy to read the Hebrew and translate. If you would like to do some of your own reading, Rabbi Avraham Greenabaum has notes available in English. He also teaches Torah for the nations, ie all those who are not Jews. Yes, G-d has given a way of life for the non-Jew too. It is not as complicated or as much responsibility, but there are 7 laws for you to follow. Find out what they are and what you can do to bring peace, unity, kindness, respect and life. Real life.

The choice is yours, do you want life and all the goodness and blessing that G-d offers with that or would you prefer the opposite?

This post is prepared for you by
Occupational Therapist, healing facilitator, certified infant massage instructor, freelance writer and co-author of "Tuvia Finds His Freedom" and author of "Healing Your Life Through Activity - An Occupational Therapist's Story"

Friday, 3 February 2017

Thinking of our Friends From Amona

Guest Post by Judith R. Simon

Friends, as many of you know, the people that I love fall into many categories of political / religious / financial / life choice / other. And I like it that way. Wouldn't life be boring if all my friends felt the same as I did on all issues? It enriches my life and expands my horizons.

That having been said, I feel it necessary to express some of my strong feelings about what happened this week in Amona, so that those of you who may feel differently than I do can at least understand why I am in so much pain right now.

The media presents the residents of Amona as illegal builders on Arab land. Many have expressed that they deserve what they have gone through, for building illegally on Arab land.

The truth is far more complex than that. 

Twenty years ago, the people of Amona built a small town in good faith, with government backing. Only recently did Yesh Din search out and track down Arabs who claimed ownership of .5% of the land on which the town was built (2 dunam out of 500 dunam -- half a percent!!!).

When a person builds in good faith on land which is later discovered to be partially owned (and a very small part at that) by someone else (who only claims it 20 years later at the behest of an organization with a clear political agenda), is it fair to forcibly remove him from his land, destroy his home, and then BLAME HIM FOR IT? ???

In several parallel cases in the Negev where Bedouins built on land that is 100% owned by Jews with indisputable documentation, the Supreme Court refused to allow the government to evacuate the land until proper alternative housing has been provided. My friends in Amona are living in a crowded dormitory, sleeping on bunk beds, sometimes a family with 6 or 7 kids stuffed into one room. Their homes are scheduled to be destroyed within the week. 

Twenty years, children born, full families raised, furniture, memories, food cooked and consumed, art projects hung on refrigerators, clothes hung in closets, paintings hung on walls, beds made, light bulbs changed, windows washed, children kissed. All this destroyed. All this life that was built and nurtured deemed wrong. 40 Jewish families uprooted and tossed out like yesterday's garbage. From their homes in Judea and Samaria. For what? Because they are Jews.

You may disagree with me, and that's your choice. But please understand my pain, and understand that the people of Amona are victims of a power struggle between elements of Israeli society, the Supreme Court, and the current government. They are suffering emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually. They are in trauma now, going through tragedies created by others.

Please judge with mercy, not with vitriol.

Thanks and Shabbat Shalom.

P.S. Please comment, but please check your comments and leave out hatred or nastiness. Thanks.


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