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On Thursday evening, September 14th, HaMinyan HaMishpachti HaMasorti in Kfar Vradim celebrated its 20thanniversary as a Masorti/Conservative congregation. With great excitement and after several months of extensive planning and hard work, the big evening finally arrived, bringing with it the many guests who came to celebrate with us. Members of HaMinyan HaMishpachti and the Masorti Movement,friends and supporters from throughout the years, many of whom came from afar, gathered in the spacious, decorated courtyard in front of our Beit Knesset.
The festivities began with the dedication of the synagogue building to The Max and Pauline Zimmer Family Foundation of Los Angeles. A plaque was unveiled beside the main entrance to the building attesting to and recognizing their ongoing support. Accepting the honor was Ninel Khayat, one of the Zimmers’ granddaughters. In her remarks, Ninel pledged the fund’s continued support.
The main event of the evening was held inside the synagogue, which had been decorated with posters bearing our new, colorful “20th”logo and the names of the B’nai and B’not Mitzvah who had celebrated their big day with our Minyan between 1996 to 2017. Other posters displayed the names of our donors from Israel and abroad.
Opening remarks and greetings were given by Sivan Yechieli, Mayor of Kfar Vradim, and the CEO of the Masorti Movement in Israel, Yizhar Hess, both of whom have helped and supported our kehillah over the years.
A moving ceremony followed, which focused on the following Minyan personalities and activities: The Minyan’s Founders, Rabbi Zvi Berger and “Sukkat Shalom”, NOAM and its predecessor Chug HALOM ,Tikkun Olam and Life Cycle Events. Our active members,who have volunteered their time in these areas and more, were duly recognized throughout the evening.
With great grace and a smile, Rabbi Nathalie Lastreger introduced each segment with her remarks and a short video, followed by certificates of appreciation being awarded to the volunteers.
Without a doubt, the most moving part of the evening centered on Rabbi Zvi Berger. Beloved in Kfar Vradim, HaRav Zvi was our first rabbi and served the kehillah for thirteen years. He and wife Linda were instrumental in strengthening the Minyan and in expanding awareness and participation in Masorti/Conservative Judaism in the Western Galilee. “Sukkat Shalom” was his vision, and its fruition is an important part of his legacy. The relationships that have been forged between him and the leaders of our various neighboring communities, Druze, Christians and Muslims,remains to this day, and many were present for the 20th celebrations. Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutch, who followed Rabbi Zvi as our congregational rabbi, was also in attendance and spoke of the significance of inter faith dialogue.
The title of “Rabbi Emeritus” was bestowed upon Rabbi Zvi, along with a framed proclamation to that affect and a photo album compiled from the many photographs that tell the story of his tenure with the kehillah. Last but not least, we were happy to present him with a new tallit in honor of his new status. He wrapped himself in the tallit and did not part with it all evening. His speech was very moving, and he read it in a loud, clear voice. His dear friend Sheikh Nimer Nimer of Hurfeish also praised Rabbi Zvi. Rabbi Zvi and Linda expressed their thanks and mutual affection to the kehillah by presenting a silver kiddush cup to the Minyan.
The ceremony ended with the singing of “Hatikvah”, after which a festive tent was opened, and our guests were treated to a delicious celebratory dinner. Toasts and blessings for the New Year ended the memorable evening.
Many thanks to all those involved in the planning, preparation and execution of this wonderful event. There is no doubt that volunteerism is alive and well in our Minyan. We will continue to represent the Masorti/Conservative Movement here and in the region, with renewed strength and commitment.
We wish to thank the Kfar Vradim Town Council and its employees for their behind the scenes assistance, as well as Rabbi Nathalie Lastreger for her invaluable leadership and contributions in realizing this event.
The excitement still continues, along with the images, reactions and kind words that will remain with us for a long time to come.
Best wishes for a Shanah Tovah and Gmar Hatimah Tovah to everyone!
פוסט זה זמין גם ב: Hebrew