Thursday, November 22, 2012

Note From TIPS Israel Chair, Nov 21, 2012

Dear partners and friends,
We hope that we are in the last  night of the rocket attacks.
 I spoke  this week with all the members  our Israel steering committee ,
 to hear how each one has been coping with the situation .
I joined the army  ( Home  Front  Unit ) to help people in our neighborhood, to find shelter in the interior stair cases, in order to be safe.
Most of them are new immigrants from Ethiopia , who needed explanations  and information.
Of course business was not as usual , and we would like to have out routine back.
It was  more difficult  with  the kids .
I would like to thank you again,  for your partnership,  care , concern and support ,
that helped us to overcome .
Lets pray for quite days from now on .

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Monday in Sderot, Kiryat Malachi, Hof Ashkelon, Nov 19

late: Monday, November 19, 2012,    E-mail update from Tzachi, our TIPS Partnership 2gether JAFI Director

Dear all, Shalom
In today's update I would like to tell you about a day on my job in Kiryat Malachi and Hof Ashkelon …
All started with quiet night, some may say too quiet… in this war you may never know. But thank G-d we had quiet night. However the morning started witha  few "red alert" calls. My wife and kids are away, up north with her family; those who know me know how much I waited to be with them again and now we need to be apart…
6:26am – wake up call, my wife Orna, "are you ok?" early morning Red Alert in Hof Ashkelon, Shaar Hanegev and Eshkol – A.K.A the area surrounding Gaza.   "Sure! I am fine! Do not worry…" I finish the call and get deeper into my small room in Sderot to my "safe area"…
6:45am few more rockets,  a few more "Red Calls"… I am ok\\OK. 
7am getting ready try to get a shower – YES!! no calls, no alerts – I am clean!! Breakfast and off to work.
8am Kiryat Malachi, almost no one in the streets. I can see group of soldiers helping and supporting the local community, mainly the adults and the new immigrants… Dvora and Daliya (the TIPS chair)  told me they are going door to door making sure each individual knows where he must go if siren goes off again.
8:30am meeting with Dvora at the Kiryat Malachi's Emergency Operating Center, an underground bomb  shelter that was renovated some years ago with the help of our partnership communities. Perfect time to say THANK YOU AGAIN!
9:30am 2 vans with JFNA solidarity mission from USA arriving together with Mr. Alan Hoffmann - Director-General and CEO – Jewish Agency for Israel . Dvora and I are welcoming them, talking about KM, the partnership. We are visiting the mourning families of 3 victims; we see their house, the black hole that used to be home only few days ago…
11:15am on the way back to Dvora's office in city hall, SIREN… ha ha, imagine this… Dvora and I rush out of the car, lay down on the ground, hands on head, waiting… BOOM! – The report will say "another successful hit for the Iron Dome…" but for us…funny / bonding / terrifying moment.
12pm  Hof Ashkelon, meeting Revital at Hof Askelon's Emergency Operating Center, also a big underground bomb shelter, renovated with the help and the support of the partnership communities… Revital is supervising and organizing the logistics and transportation.
1pm lunch time, I am on a diet, so no thanks, I go to my office, try to reply to  some e-mails… SIREN!!! Rushing down again to the bomb shelter… shame, they didn't finish eating, food can wait – life is much more important…
1:15 SIREN again,,, a few minutes after the last one, again… HOW CAN I WORK?!!
4pm   back to Kiryat Malachi, Daliya is back from work in Jerusalem and finally we have time to chat. We dare to go out and we sit at the "Good Old Joe" – the coffee shop that looks so empty today.
5:45pm back to Sderot, on the radio I hear the reports "Red Alert in Sderot…" and I am thinking about my kids, up north, away from all of this…
6:30pm Eshkol, my other partnership, long chat with the Northeastern NY Federation, they had to postpone their Mega Mission to Israel 70(!) members… everything was ready for next week… but who can blame them?…
A few more calls, some e-mails, and many hopes for quiet night and peaceful days…
Tzachi – Sderot

Monday, November 19, 2012

Operation Pillar of Defense, Nov. 2012

    As the number of rockets from Gaza to Southern Israel increased, in order to protect its citizens, Operation Pillar of Defense was launched.  The number of rockets fired from Gaza have increased since then with over 800 rockets fired in five days, even as Israel responds.  Thankfully, the Iron Dome has knocked down hundreds of rockets heading toward Beersheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

    In the beginning of this war, an apartment building in Kiryat Malachi, our partnership community,  was hit directly by a rocket 15 seconds after the Code Red alarm sounded. Two people in an apartment did not have enough time to head to the inner staircase and were killed instantly as was a neighbor who had come to warn them.  Others were hospitalized with injuries.  One of the dead was a pregant mother of 3, on leave from India for a month, where she and her husband were taking over the Chabad center in India where the former couple directing it were murdered several years ago.

     I have been sending our friends and partners in Hof Ashkelon and Kiryat Malachi e-mails of support and have been astounded that they are writing back.  In the midst of the tension, they take the time to write because they very much appreciate support from friends elsewhere.   They write:

"It is really heart warming!" (to hear from you)

תודה רבה על שאת חושבת עלינו,

  thanks for your good thoughta

 Thank you for thinking about us. We hope for better and safer days

 Thank you for your caring. These are pretty rough days in Israel generally and in Kiryat Malachi and the south especially. A mate of mine has been killed together with 2 other citizens. It's hard to realize that a friend that I know for years would never be among us anymore.  Although our lives became abnormal and even hysteric, we fully support our government and IDF. We try to remember every minute of suffering when  this horrible situation became the reality for thousands of Israel citizens, and bombs were sent toward us even before "Pillar of Defense" operation.

So, please take the time and send a message.  Send it to people you know or post a comment on this blog.  It will be most appreciated.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Adina Bar El in Phoenix

The day after arriving in Phoenix,  Adina and Moshe participated in the Lymphoma 5K Walkathon at the Phoenix Zoowith their host family, Daphna and Yoram Gold, Carol and Chaim Talmon, and other Phoenix Israelis supporting Yoram as a lymphoma survivor. 

After that they were off to to the Fountain Hills Art Festival and Sunday they Talmons drove them to Sedona and the Grand Canyon, beautifully powdered in snow.
Monday morning the Bar-els went to  the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix before Adina began her speaking engagements. 
Philip Haas had a "fruit of the seasons" exhibit which was amazing

Chihully always keeps a few of his pieces at the Gardens.

They also  had a special behind-the-scenes tour from a friend of Adina's, including seeing the Seed Vault, the library, and baby desert tortoises saved from being eaten by the coyotes and birds. They also saw a Brazilian Capoeira demonstration, which is a form of dance and self defense, gaining popularity all over the world,  including Israel.

Tuesday evening at the JCC book fair, Adina spoke to about 35 people about the Yiddish children's periodicals in Poland between the two world wars.

What a fascinating topic! It produced a lot of discussion and questions by the very interested crowd. 

Carol and Haim Talmon took the Bar-el's on a quick, one-day journey to beautiful Sedona

 and then the spectacular Grand Canyon on Sunday, the 11th.

On Nov. 14th, Phoenix held a TIPS committee "meet n' greet" with Adina and Moshe and 7 members of the local TIPS committee at a wonderful kosher, Vietnamese, vegan restaurant called Fresh Mint, in Scottsdale. It gave everyone the opportunity tofind out about our visitors, the Bar-els.
Ethan, Cindy, Tamar, Adina, Moshe
  Adina's next event that day was at Har Zion Synagogue talking to children about her moshav and what is going on there right now with the rockets,
and being worried about her children who live there.
She also talked about one of her books,  showing what the writer and the
illustrator's parts are in the making of a book. She talked to another group about her mother and how it was to be in the ghetto and getting food for the
children.  She used one of the stories that her mother told her to illustrate how her mother got money for food.

On Friday, November 16th, Adina spoke to seniors at Beth Emeth Congregation in Sun City.  Over 40 people attended and who absolutely loved her, loved hearing her stories, and LOVED telling her THEIR stories.
She read Yiddish stories. She also talked about what is going on in Israel with Operation Pillar of Defense right now with her children and grandchildren being
in the bomb shelters, etc.

That same day, Chaim took Moshe and Adina to the MIM, Musical Instrument Museum. They were so fascinated that they stayed for five hours!

On another day, because of the Bar-els have a 700 tree olive orchard, they also visited the Queen Creek Olive Mill.

On Sunday, November 18th, Carol drove Adina  to Tempe to the Temple Emanuel Teacher's workshop, where she lectured about "Bibliotherapy" to Hebrew school teachers.
It was a small, but very attentive group, who had students they felt could be helped with this teaching tool. The audience was given stories and activities they could use in their classrooms.  The teachers gave her A VERY positive response!

Using one of her stories, translated
Using a well-known US board book

Then they were  off to the Health Fair at the Orthodox shul Bet Yosef where we met a few key people from the Phoenix Jewish News who set up an interview with Adina for Monday morning at their office. Adina is looking forward to talking about her feelings regarding what is happening in Israel and what it is like to be here, while her children and grandchildren are there.

Adina proceeded to do a storytelling for a small group of  children for about 20 minutes ), which they really enjoyed.  They  had a great time going around to the vendors, and tasting delicious kosher samples). That was their lunch. 

The following was printed in the latest issue of the Jewish News.  Adina was interviewed by a writer from there just before she left for home.
˜"What will be, will be"

Staff Writer
Adina Bar El, an author and researcher who lives in Hof Ashkelon, Israel, was recently in the Valley speaking at four community events through the TIPS (Tucson, Israel, Phoenix, Seattle) partnership between the Jewish Agency and the Jewish Community Association of Greater Phoenix. She stopped by the Jewish News office to discuss the events in Israel.

Adina Bar El has three grown children, one in the Galilee and two in the Hof Ashkelon area. While Bar El was in Arizona, some of her children and grandchildren moved into her house because she has a safe room (a room completely reinforced by concrete, from the floor to the ceiling and around the perimeter). They moved because "after a few days (of the warning alarms), they couldn't bear it anymore," she said. "The children were very frightened."

Their safe room was built, Bar El said, after an attack in 2008, when she had to protect two of her grandchildren, who were babies at that time. "Suddenly, there was an alarm and I laid down on them to cover them and said to myself, "˜What will be, will be. I have to protect them."

"The whole country is a battlefront," she said. "But, we have a (normal) life. We have parties and we go to work and to learn and so on. We are keeping on with our regular life, but we have to defend ourselves. We have to live our lives."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Author Dr. Adina Bar-El in Tucson

After a great visit in Seattle, Adina and Moshe flew to Tucson where they were again quite busy.

About 15 people attended met at the home of Riemke Brakema, had a loely dinner, and saw a presentation of life in Moshav Nir Yisrael from its inception to the present.  They also head about Adina's family life from survival during World War II to growth in Israel. 
The Tucson shaliach, Guy Gelbart, read several of Adina's stories aloud.

 Adina spoke at the University of Arizona Hillil.  Dr. Ediward Wright, head of the Judaic STudies program, introduced Adina.  She spoke about her PhD dissertation on Jewish childrens' newspapers in Poland between the two wars, including her three trips to Poland to gather information as well as travels to YIVO and Harvard.  Students, faculty, and community members attended. 

Some of the local TIPS attendees at events, including Diane and Ron Weintraub and Gila Ben-Jamin.
The Bar-els enjoyed a visit to the DeGrazia Gallery of the Sun and the desert museum.

 Friday morning there was a community breakfast at the JCC.
Some attendees at the breakfast

Gila and Rabbi and Mrs. Cohen at breakfast

Adina at the Projector
Below are some of the photos from Adina's presentation at her moshav, Nir Yisrael, which began in 1949 with immigrants from urban Europe, who were trucked to this site in the northern Negev and given a small home, an outhouse, two cows, and land to farm.

Adina's parents wedding picture is above.  Adina's grandfather had gone to Eretz Yisrael in late summer 1939 to scope out the area for his family but landed too late as Poland had been invaded by the Germans.   The man below knew Adina's grandfather in Poland. 
A great article about their meeting is in the Arizona Jewish Post.  Check it out at:

 After the war, Adina's mother Lola/Leah was the only one of her immediate family to survive.  She insisted on going to Eretz Yisrael to be with her father.  The smaller picture is baby Adina with her grandfather.

Olive Street in Nir Yisrael, named for their 700 plant Olive Orchard, on 5 acres.  In the lower left hand corner is Moshe driving their tractor.  Their home is to the right.

Their Olive Trees
 A sample of some of Adina's children's books in Hebrew:  The Kangaroo and the, A Zoo at Home, They Shot Birds Too

Monday, November 5, 2012

Israeli Author Visits US, Part 1, Seattle

Dr. Adina Bar-el, author of more than 16 children's books and 2 book for adults and many, many stories for all ages, is visiting the TIPS Partnership 2Gether communities in the U.S. of Seattle, Tucson, and Phoenix.

After adjusting for jet lag, she began her presentations by leading a workshop for 20+ Jewish school teachers in Seattle.  Her presentation focused on how to teach about Israel through books, and she uses a number of her stories as models.  She also talked about using books for bibliotherapy and how it is used in Israel, especially for children living near the borders.
The next morning she talked to three different groups of children at SJCS, Seattle Jewish Community School.  With the younger children, she read her stories and interacted with them.  With the 4th and 5th graders, she discussed the process of making a book/story from the inspiration to publication.
Reading a story to SJCS first graders
While she was out, Moshe was treated to a visit to the Museum of Flight.

Shortly after dinner, Adina spoke to more than 2 dozen 4th graders at Temple Beth Am.  She gave a picture presentation on how her moshav has changed from is founding in 1949 when new immigrants from cities in Europe arrived in Israel and were trucked to the northern Negev desert to farm.  Her presentation also showed how they struggled but prospered to today.  Adina and her husband have 700 olive trees and produce olive oil.  The TBA students were delighted to see a YouTube video on how the olives were harvested and asked to see it a second time!
Adina presenting at TBA
Adina with two of the 4th grade teachers at TBA

Wednesday morning while it rained hard, Adina caught up on laundry and e-mail correspondence while Moshe took the bus down town with Howard C.  and visited the art museum.  That afternoon Adina spoke to two high school English classes at NYHS (Northwest Yeshiva High School).  One group was reading the book Maus, so Adina talked about her parents' experiences during the Holocaust and also about the efforts and rewards of being a writer.  Students met her after class as they wanted to have more time with her.

Thursday, Adina spoke to four groups at SHA, Seattle Hebrew Academy.  She talked to them about what goes in to writing stories and books, the history of her Moshav, and read a number of her stories to them.  With the younger children who are studying Hebrew through the Tel-Am program, she interdispersed Hebrew words as she read to them. Adina was very impressed by one first grader who told her that he has already written twenty stories!
Adina in front of Seattle Hebrew Academy

That night, Adina and Moshe spoke to a number of local TIPS volunteers and some Federation staff at the home of Lorna Isenberg.

Friday morning, Adina left the house at 7:30 to go to Bellevue to speak to three groups at the Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle (JDS), including the 8th grade class, many of whose members will be in Kiryat Malachi during their trip to Israel in May.

Adina was impressed by the attentiveness of the children and teens in every setting where she spoke.  The were active participants and several times gave her great ideas for future stories.  She was impressed that two different children noticed something in one of her books that she had not seen before.  One of her illustrators added a picture story to the book with a dog on each page.  The children were able to seen special things two of the dogs were doing that she had never noticed before.

Friday night, Moshe and Adina had a nice Shabbat dinner with their hosts, Dina Tanners, and Howard Cockerham, and enjoyed the company of their friends Leslie and Harold.

Saturday night, a dozen local Jewish writers came to the home and had a wonderful experience listening and dialoging with Adina.  Several had ideas for how she can publish her stories in English.

Sunday morning was Adina's last scheduled school visit at TDHS, Temple de Hirsh Sinai.  First, for an hour she spoke to 20+ parents of religion school students about her life and the development of her moshav.  She also had read aloud four of her stories.  Parents really enjoyed them and were disappointed that she did not have a book of her stories in English for them to buy.

  After that, Adina spoke to the 5th grade class about how she writes books.

Adina recently finished translating Alice in Wonderland from English into Yiddish.   She was astounded and delighted to find out that Ron H, one of the 5th grade teachers at TDHS, has translated Alice into another language, Anglo-Saxon.

After visiting the Sunday Fremont Flea Market and seeing the Ballard Government Locks, Adina rushed home to meet with Prof. Naomi Sokoloff, Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington.  A post-doctoral fellow at the U could not attend, but he knew of Dr. Adina Bar-el and read her research when he wrote his doctoral thesis!  What a small world it is.

In addition to all these speaking events, Adina and her husband Moshe also were taken to see Snoqualmie Falls, saw the spectacular downtown library, walked along the waterfront and went to Ye Old Curiosity Shoppe, visited Costco, Macy's, and Burlington Coat Factory, handed out candy on Halloween,  drove through the University of Washington and saw the spectacular color of the fall leaves in Seattle. 

At Snoqualmie Falls

They met many many people, and hope to be in contact with a number of them in the future.  Thank you Adina and Moshe for all that you have given to the Seattle Jewish Community!