An ongoing joke throughout Israel is that literally nothing happens in Petach Tikva. So, imagine the whole community’s surprise when there was a stabbing at the HaGadol Mall (הגדול קניון) on Jabotinsky street. Colleagues at school and the DOEE were urging me to buy a can of pepper spray, to avoid traveling at night, and to be weary of the shuk. Rumors of the uprising of the third intifada buzzed and still come up in conversation.
Last week, a friend actually reached out to me about piloting a new effort aimed at supporting American volunteers that are in Israel during this “difficult time.” I stayed at the Heritage House in the Old City, Jerusalem for the high holidays and one of the madrichas there contacted me about setting up a dinner and a class on the Jewish value of חסד (chesed- kindness) at a local restaurat in Petah tikva. Essentially, Jewish communities in the states began to donate money to help support young adults on programs such as MASA. Friends and family can’t be here to hug us themselves, so what makes a Jewish mother if not food? So, I organized with ITF PTK to meet at Alfredo, Petah Tikva for a free dinner based on the premise of getting together to discuss the situation, our role as volunteers, and to help support a local business in our city. Rabbi “Rav Gav” came to speak with us (pictured below) and overall, I’d say it was a very successful event and I am hoping that we can extend the program to other volunteer groups throughout Israel.
In the meantime, praying for peace and hoping that violence will subside soon.