Ariel Commemorates Holocaust Memorial Day with Special Delegation

Ministry of Education regional officials commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day in a unique way this week – by visiting Ariel and the Holocaust and Heroism Memorial Museum.

Mayor Eliyahu Shaviro led the tour of some 130 officials on Monday, taking them to see the sights in Ariel and on a special tour of the Holocaust and Heroism Memorial Museum – the lifelong project of Irena and Yaakov (Kuba) Wodislavsky (z”l) , of blessed memory.

The Museum has become the focal point of Ariel’s Holocaust education program, which provides each middle-school student in Ariel with the opportunity to become a museum guide.

“Ariel has made remembering the Holocaust an educational goal,” Shaviro stated.

“We all know that young generation will be the last generation to meet Holocaust survivors in person, and we therefore are teaching them how to transmit the lessons of the Holocaust to the generations which follow.”

“We in Ariel support the Holocaust and Heroism Museum as ironclad landmarks for the city, and we view it as a site of national importance,” he continued.

“I thank the regional branch of the Ministry of Education for choosing to visit Ariel as part of their enrichment activities for Holocaust Memorial Day.”

The tour itself included both attending the Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony of Ariel’s ORT high school, held at the Ariel Regional Center for the Performing Arts (ARCPA), and attending a special film screening and roundtable discussion overseen by Irena.

Happy Purim! A Day of Giving and Receiving with New Olim

As Jewish communities around the world are celebrating Purim, so are the many thousands of beneficiaries of the programs of The Jewish Agency.

It will be a very special Purim for the new olim for whom it will be the first time they celebrate it in Israel with all the immense fanfare that entails – parades, the streets filled with children in costume, the radio constantly playing holidays songs, while for some coming from remote communities, it will be the first time entirely.

You may find this surprising, but Purim is considered by many as the most holy Jewish holiday. It is believed that when the Messiah comes, all holidays will no longer be needed.

All, except for Purim.

The reason being, that Purim isn’t meant to simply mark a historic g-d given event and teach us its lesson, rather it is meant to teach us that what is most important, most basic and enduring, is our faith in g-d and our unity as people. It is believed that the salvation that took place on Purim, the reversal of fate from complete annihilation to salvation and strength,  didn’t derive from the prayers or actions of Queen Esther or her uncle Mordechai, rather from the fact that the Jewish communities, spread all across the exile of the Persian empire, were united as one in faith and prayer. Realizing the most fundamental commandants of loving g-d and loving your fellow man. And so the traditions of Purim – reminding us of the reversal (hence the costumes) are so full or righteous, faith filled and caring deeds – praying, reading the story, giving Tzedakah (charity) to the poor and Mishloach Manot (food care packages) to one another.

Hence, this tradition of unity is central in all our programming. Last week I visited our Etzion Campus in Jerusalem where 257 young adults make their first steps in Israeli society. All came alone to Israel and face many uncertainties and hardships. Yet, they were excited to lead a special tradition of giving, and prepared beautiful Mishloach Manot for lone olim soldiers. While they gave, they also received. As Israeli high school students and the staff of the Jewish Agency joined to make a surprise visit to them and give them Mishloach Manot. They were excited and thankful, that while they hardly know anyone in the country, people so cared about them.

Important to note that while we serve some 5,000 lone young olim annually, due to lack of funding we have at this very time 700 young adults on waiting lists, hoping to make Aliyah while joining these programs. That is why your support is so critical and we thank you for it!

 To give you a small glimpse into who these brave young people are, I am enclosing a picture of Shimon and Dana (center of photo).

Shimon is a 25 year old architects who made Aliyah from Mexico. He is so driven that he is choosing to volunteer to the army for a full service although he is exempt. As he speaks 5 languages, he hopes to serve in intelligence. When asked why he made Aliyah, he says “To put it in one sentence, so I can join in the building of Israel”.

Dana is a 23 year old economist from Moscow. She grew up attending the Jewish day school and going to Jewish summer camp. She feels she received so much and debated what would be the proper way to give back? To stay in Moscow or move to Israel? Her lack of faith in the regime led to her finally making the tough decision to come to Israel. Here she hopes she can give back.  

Thank you for all that you do for Israel and the Jewish people and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Happy Purim!

#ArielHolidayGiving: Hanukkah Edition

American Friends of Ariel is proud to introduce the #ArielHolidayGiving program.

Join our annual giving program to accompany Ariel throughout the holiday seasons around the Jewish calendar.

  • For the High Holidays and Sukkot (throughout October 2016), fund one of our newer projects, the Ariel Student Village. The Ariel Student Village, like the Sukkot holiday, draws residents from across Ariel together. In this program, students from outside Ariel (or even outside Israel) lend a hand to help in dozens of projects in Ariel’s pioneering neighborhood, including helping residents in need, assisting the elderly, and tutoring students from disadvantaged backgrounds – as well as running festive programming throughout the year.
  • Hanukkah (December 25, 2016 – January 1,2017) celebrates the combination of two miracles: the victory of the Jewish Maccabee army over the ancient Greeks in the Land of Israel, and the ability of Jewish education to survive Hellenism (symbolized through light). We, too, seek to honor these initiatives – by funding Higher Education scholarships for discharged soldiers.
  • Purim (March 12-13, 2017) is a holiday of high drama – and you, too, can support our Art and Culture programs in Ariel to continue the Arts among city youth.
  • Passover (April 10-18, 2017) brings Jews together around the world to discuss the past and celebrate our freedom. For decades, we have funded Community Passover Seders to help those who cannot afford to make the traditional meal on their own.
  • Millions of Israelis commemorate Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day (April 24, 2017) by attending local Holocaust museums nationwide. We in Ariel offer a fully human connection to the Holocaust through the hard work of Irena and Yaakov (Kuba) Wodislavsky (z”l) – the curators of the Holocaust and Heroism Memorial Museum. Irena runs the museum free of charge and is closely involved with local schools.
  • Israel celebrates three days of patriotism throughout the year: Memorial DayIndependence Day, and Jerusalem Day (May 1-2, May 24, 2017). Help honor the founders of Ariel and their tireless efforts to bring Jews back to the Samarian heartland by supporting the Ariel Pioneers Museum and Ron Nachman Legacy Center.
  • Shavuot (Pentecost) (May 31, 2017) celebrates Jews receiving the Torah, or Bible, from Moses and accepting its teachings. To continue that tradition for future generations, we have provided funding for Bar and Bat Mitzvah Training for decades.
  • The Ninth of Av, or Tisha B’av, (August 1, 2017) commemorates  the destruction of both Temples in Jerusalem. Help us support synagogue expansion and construction programs to rebuild and strengthen Jewish life.

Each donation makes a big difference – come be a building block for the Ariel community!

Save the Date!

Our Annual Memorial Ceremony for Ariel's founding mayor, Mayor Ron Nachman ob"m, will be held this year on February 2, 2017 at the Ariel Pioneers Museum and Ron Nachman Legacy Center. 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will also be in attendance as he renames Ariel's main road in Ron Nachman's honor. 

Save the date!