(See explanation below of the pictures above)
As you are painfully aware, in Summer 2005, Israel threw out over 8,000 Jews from Gush Katif and attempted to re-settle them. I will not review and repeat all of my personal objections to this terrible action, but suffice it to say I was VERY public in disagreeing with the government of Israel in what they did back then. (History has shown that MANY of those who supported the making of Gaza Judenrein made a HUGE mistake).
However, yesterday, I participated in a small ray of hope of those expellees getting back on their feet! As I mentioned a couple of days ago, a Sefer Torah was written in honor of Toronto philanthropist, Kurt Rothschild. This Torah was then transported to the community of Halutza for placement in their temporary Aron Kodesh before the permanent one is ready. I joined about 500 others as we went to this new community. It is located in a hustling, bustling metropolis of barren land (an oxymoron if I ever heard of one!) at the Southern tip of Gaza and 2 km from the Egyptian border. They have caused the desert to bloom and have risen like the mythical Phoenix from the ashes of Gush Katif! Currently, there are 15 families, but the building is being geared towards a community that will house (B'ezrat Hashem) about 500 people. The area is beautiful and serene. It was SO special to dance, sing and rejoice at this event. Besides the festivities, we also had some speeches and light refereshments in a Sukka built just for that day. The evening ended with us davening Maariv under a black sky with millions of stars overhead. (If you ever want to feel the vastness of the cosmos and the grandeur of Hashem, try davening in a desert area under millions of stars!)
A HUGE Yasher Koach to World Mizrachi and Mr Solly Sacks for organizing this event and being a driving force behind it all. It was a HUGE Kiddush Hashem and one that I will not soon forget!
Wednesday night was capped off with a beautiful open Sukkah (thanks Jeremy and Susie!) with many friends...it SO feels like Chol HaMoed Sukkot. It is wonderful...