An English E-Newsletter for Yeshivat Har Etzion
Building and Reuniting
Building and Reuniting
As the years pass by, it's not uncommon for Gushnikim to bump into each other and sometimes even get together to catch up. Yet, how often does it happen that Gushnikim find their paths not only coinciding but also intertwining?
After completing Rabbanut Semicha at Yeshivat Har Etzion, Rav Hillel Maizels í95 MTA and his wife Yael participated in the Rothschild Foundation's "Likrat Shlichut" program, which trains community rabbis in Israel. Rav Hillel and Yael, who were familiar with community life as it exists in South Africa and Buffalo, New York (their places of upbringing, respectively), identified the need for a similar system here in Israel. They sought the appropriate community, with both the desire to develop itself and the potential to do so.
Zimmerman í95 was living in the City of Ariel with his wife
Dana and their two children, Gilli
Shirah and Eytan Ohr. Though he is an
occupational therapist by profession, Avi accepted the city's offer to run
the new Community Aliyah Program for North American olim. The
program, sponsored by all of the major aliyah organizations and
institutions, encourages olim to make aliyah directly to Ariel.
Many olim have been drawn to Ariel with its substantial benefits
and assistance, affordable housing, easy access to
When Rav Hillel heard that the city of Ariel was looking for an Anglo community rabbi he immediately pursued the contact details. Moments later, the two Gushnikim, who spent 5 years of yeshiva together, were talking about community life in Israel, the future of the Jewish People and the earliest opportunity for the Maizels family to visit Ariel for Shabbat. A few visits later, Rav Hillel, his wife Yael and their daughters Hodaya and Elisheva were all geared up to make the move to Ariel. Rav Hillel now serves as the Rav of the Ohel Efraim community in Ariel and is teaching in a local school.
Maybe it's not such a coincidence to see Rav Hillel and Avi teaming up. Back in Yeshiva, when Avi was the madrich for the American students, Rav Hillel was the madrich for the MTA students from South Africa and Australia. A few short years down the line, and the Maizels and Zimmerman children are playing in gan together, while their fathers and mothers are working to develop a paradigm for community life in Israel. Whether itís a reunification or a natural continuum, Rav Hillel and Avi are taking what they developed in Yeshiva and giving it as a gift to so many others.
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