Be"H Erev Sukkot, 5777
To Panim-el-Panim activists,
I congratulate you on your holy work!
To unify all of Am Yisrael into one entity.
As our Sages told us, the four species in Sukkot
Represent the different sectors in Am Yisrael
That need to be unified
So that G-d's kingdom is revealed.
You are privileged to be the connecting link!
(Mesilat Yesharim, end of chapter 19)
"לך אמר ליבי, את פניך ה' אבקש" - A deep yearning from the depths of our souls arises – we wish to meet with our Creator face to face! A wish that G-d willing will break through the Heavens and hasten our complete redemption!
We have both the responsibility and the merit to look into our dear brothers and sisters' hearts and intuitively perceive the growing thirst to meet G-d's will, which is hidden. We must ignore all the widespread foreign cultural influences and continue to believe in ourselves, relating to our inner-being with courage, faith and everlasting truth that is based on the Torah!
B"H during the last year the Almighty granted us the privilege to work in over 80 high schools, giving over 4,500 shiurim. Additionally, we met with 80,000 soldiers in over 2,000 shiurim and Shabbatot. We strengthened our relationships with women-soldiers, students, and teachers whom we meet on a regular basis in our Batei-Midrash and in the different frameworks.
At the end of the year we have entrusted our fiscal management in the hands of our new Financial Officer, Reem Ratzon.
The end of a year and the beginning of a new year is a time for contemplation and self-examination – we need to recognize G-d's hand in all our endeavors and realize that we are privileged to be a part of a miraculous process. The ability to expand our activities in institutions and frameworks on a large-scale, such as the Ministry of Education and the IDF, for many years, is not to be taken for granted; particularly in light of the fact that many factors do not understand the need to connect Am Yisrael to the Torah and to Jewish tradition. We are grateful to the Almighty for his guiding hand and for all the goodness bestowed upon us, and to those who take part in our activities and do their outmost to be faithful emissaries for these purposes.
We are on the verge of a new year, one in which we will invest our best efforts in passing along the contents and expanding our activities in high schools, the IDF army bases, working with teachers and students, in Kibbutzim and Moshavim.
On the logistic side, this year we wish to promote the Public Relations and Fundraising Division, which will be led by Beni Gur, who has recently joined us, and with the help of each and every one of you.
G-d willing, this year we will deepen our own personal Torah study, consequently deepening and expanding our activities ten times over.
On this occasion we would like to request the forgiveness of anyone whom we may have offended and wish us all Shana Tova & Gemar Chatima Tova!
Shana Tova and Happy Sukkot Holiday to you and your families!
For the new year 5777
Continuing to build here on earth - Heaven
Especially in times of "U Va Le Zion Go'el"
In Yerushalaim & in Eretz Israel.
Times of miraculous redemption
The rebuilding of our nation!
And recreating our spirit, our soul -
This, for Panim-el-Panim is the goal! :
Ahavas Isroel, Torah, Emuna
The infrastructure of this new Shanna.
Teaching the basics of our identity:
High-school ~ Army ~ University
Before ~ In & After: Soldiers! Commanders!
Amongst many many others.
Thanks for being our partners, indeed
Appreciate your generous deed.
With love and appreciation!
In the name of our entire nation!!!
Shanna Tova!!! Geva Rapp
During the month of Av the first End of the Year Conference was held for Panim el Panim Directors and coordinators, which was aimed at bringing everyone together and discussing issues that underlie our activities.
This year we have chosen to deal with the characteristics of today's younger generation in order to look into, from the Jewish law perspective, the true essence of this generation. We wanted to understand whether these characteristics are a reflection of the true internal essence or merely external manifestation of foreign cultures.
The conference was held at KKL Center in Nes-Harim, near Jerusalem, and included approximately 40 senior staffers. Guest lecturers were invited to speak and discussions in small groups as well as plenary sessions led by Rabbis and Heads of the different divisions were held.
On Tishrei 25 a one-day seminar was held at Midreshet Oz on the occasion of the beginning of the year in which Rabbi Tzvi Kostiner, Rabbi Chagai Valusky, Rabbi David Jiami and more have spoken. Throughout the year, seminars are held at the Midrasha once a month for the benefit of our 40 lecturers who come from all over the country.
Additionally, we plan to hold a seminar on Jewish army laws and the character of King David once every three weeks as well as a conference for our lecturers once every three months in which we will discuss issues that concern the contents we teach soldiers, be given shiurim, and gain important insights for the future.
At the beginning of the month of Elul the school year (5777) at Midreshet Lahav has begun!
This year our Midrasha includes 45 staffers.
Yedidya opened the day and Rabbi Kashtiel continued to lead a joint study on Shlichut (mission) and our special mission in high schools and with the general public.
During the last month many activities on Elul and Tishrei holidays took place and now we continue to other activities concerning topics related to the Jewish year cycle.
This year, we have had the privilege of conducting approximately 70 Minyanim in Kibbutzim and Moshavim throughout the country. In some Kibbutzim this initiative has been taking place every Yom Kippur, and in some it is the only religious activity!! Logistically, tremendous efforts have been made, however, these were made for a worthwhile cause… to see the excitement in one's eyes and to share in the spiritual elevation people experienced give us the strength to continue this blessed activity.
We wish to thank Yair Gantz and Michael Kirshenbaum for leading this project each and every year with tremendous dedication!!
To listen to Yair Gantz's interview on Galatz click here (The interview can be listened to toward the end of the program).
A year ago Mr. Reem Ratzon joined our organization and has established the financial division so that it will include organized employees' contracts and allowances, a yearly budget and so forth. B"H we are moving toward the final stages of establishing the infrastructure and in the process of replacing our current accounting program with a newer advanced one.
We wish to express our gratitude to Reem for his great efforts and wish him continued success.
Following many years of intensive work in fundraising we have decided to take it one step further and recruited Mr. Benny Gur, who has many years of experience in this area, to manage the Public Relations and Fundraising Division. So far, Benny has learned about the organization as well as accompanied flights to the U.K., America and Canada. B"H we plan to recruit all our employees to first of all comprehend the significance of this issue and to contribute to the success of the organization, each according to his/her personal ability. Details will follow! Good luck to Benny and his team.
One of our women lecturers invited women soldiers to her home to do Hafrashat Chala (Dough Offering). The soldiers saw the sweet little kids playing together, jumping and enjoying themselves as well as experienced the pleasant atmosphere, even without electronic devices and TV. At the end of the evening, one of the soldiers came up to the lecturer and said with sparkling eyes: Until now I didn't think about raising a family at all. Now, that I see your children, I want that too… I decided that I will also raise a family.
I would like to add something from my own Yom Kippur experience: this year, we have decided to join Panim el Panim's incredible project in which Minyanim are being held in non-religious rural settlements. Following hasty arrangements we drove to the settlement Atzmon, near Karmiel. This was a lofty experience! Such a spiritual elevation I haven't felt for a long time B"H! I couldn't stop the tears from falling when at the end of the Neila service the Hall was slowly filled by people who came from all the nearby settlements. Even the dogs came wishing to be a part and wanting to hear the Shofar. We also had the privilege of gathering the women in the evening to learn a bit about Yom Kippur and about ourselves. I was even requested by people from Atzmon to tell a story related to the Chag to the children. I have received from the Almighty a special gift this Yom Kippur and from the people in Atzmon who invited me to be a part of their prayers! We are privileged to be part of this nation!