The grandfather was a Holocaust survivor at age 13. The opportunity to celebrate his bar mitzvah had been crushed along with everything he loved and knew. Scarred and alone, he declared that his sons would never have a bar mitzvah. But Lev Yehudi was there when his grandson turned 13, and the son said ‘why not?” to his son having a bar mitzvah. And then he too decided to have his first aliya, and his bar mitzvah, on the same day that his son was called up to the Torah.
Most who choose to go to the beach on a Shabbat morning don’t voluntarily give that information over to their rabbi or Torah teacher. But Yardena is different and so are her teachers.
The view from the car window as we approached Kiryat Malachi was flat and straight for miles. It was very different from the familiar Judean hills surrounding Jerusalem. The lines of the hills and mountains around Jerusalem draw the eye ever upward towards the heavens. It always seemed to me as if the area’s topography was enlisted in a larger scheme to instill hope in those who live and visit there. But in Kiryat Malachi, the land is flat and people must create their own hope. We drove down the streets, no longer in Jerusalem territory, and I soon discovered that in this town, it takes a mountain of human strength to create a small mound of hope just big enough to get by.
It is not enough to make aliyah and move to Israel, olim must contribute to the rebuilding. There is so much we can do. There is so much we are doing. For the Jewish people, for the Land of Israel.
In a region too often associated with conflict, one initiative is doing its best to provide unconditional love and support. And with its new center in Kiryat Malachi, the sky’s the limit…