Sunday, June 23, 2013

In Memory of Noam Yehoshua Hirsch

As many of you heard, Noam Yehoshua Hirsch z"l, Nomi Spanglet's nephew, died tragically and suddenly several weeks ago. Beloved in his school, family and community, Noam's passing struck a painful blow throughout numerous communities in Israel and abroad. Still, the faith, fortitude and strength demonstrated by his family serves as an important lesson in Emunah for each of us. For this reason, we felt it appropriate to share with you the words of Hesped offered by Noam's father, Joel Hirsch. May the inspiration we all receive from his powerful words serve an aliyah for the neshamah of young Noam Yehoshua.
To read the hesped, click here.

תהא נפשו צרורה בצרור החיים

Forever Thin

by Sarah Bar Asher – Head of Orot Israel College’s School of Naturopathy

The holidays announced that they are going on vacation right after Shavuot and not coming back until Rosh Hashanah. So, we might as well take advantage of this window of opportunity and turn our attention to weight control. Put it this way: Weight gain “stands” on three things: on absentminded eating, on clandestine eating, and on the “such-a-wastes.” Let me explain.

Absentminded eating:
At bedtime, a person may say that he did not eat all day, and he may sincerely believe that he is telling the truth. He is not lying. He simply was not there when the eating occurred.
If we eat while driving, talking, writing, or just standing around, we will not remember that we ate. Our memory will still be hungry, and as a result, we will want to eat again. Thus, unless we sat at the table and said, “Hineni muchan u’mezuman, I am hereby ready and prepared to fulfill the mitzvah of eating lunch…” (so what if there is no such blessing?!), it is as if we did not really eat. Of course, the calories added up, but our brain was not the one doing the counting. Rather, it was our fat cells.

Clandestine eating:
We are well-mannered people. We know that it is not polite to show everyone exactly how much and what we are capable of eating. However, it is important to be a fly on the wall when we are alone in the kitchen. Thus, when the ice cream calls from the freezer and pleads that it is cold and needs to warm up in your mouth, do not bring it home in the first place. Do not put it - or yourself – to the test.

The “such-a-wastes”:
It turns out that many people eat “such-a-wastes.” You know the type. They declare that Moshe’s leftover schnitzel is such-a-waste. Or that Yossi’s half-eaten sandwich is such-a-waste. You are not a vacuum cleaner. You deserve the most delicious food in the world, which means food that was prepared especially for you. Nothing else is as esthetically pleasing (i.e. not crumbled up), served at the right temperature (i.e. not cold), or as fresh (i.e. not dried out or wilted). And most importantly, it is counted by your brain, and therefore, it is not fattening (on condition, of course, that it contains nutritious ingredients).

Therefore, keep these three things in mind. And remember: nothing stands in the way of faith. No, that was not a typo. Because every overweight individual wants to become thin. But in order to achieve a healthy weight, wanting is not enough. One also needs faith. The problem is that most people do not believe that they are capable of controlling their weight. Therefore, they lose hope and despair, or they do not even bother trying. What can we do? Think about people who lost weight and managed to keep it off for many years. Tell yourself, “If they can do it, there is no reason why I can’t successfully accomplish my goal.” And indeed, there truly is no logical reason why you should not succeed. You just have to believe with your entire heart. If you believe, it will work. Admittedly, for every person who keeps the weight off, there are many others who turned their bodies into accordions. But you want to stay thin. So, stay positive, and forget about all the accordion players, even if you happen to be one yourself.

And finally, a good diet plan should be based on your own personal circumstances. It must take into account your metabolism, any medications you take on a regular basis, the results of your blood tests, your weight, your lifestyle, your budget, your daily schedule, and so on. Therefore, be sure to invest in a healthy meal plan that works for you.

What’s New at Orot Israel College’s Land of Israel Studies Department?

by Dr. Ayal Davidson - Head of Orot Israel College’s Land of Israel Studies Department

Recently, several exciting events took place at Orot Israel College’s Land of Israel Studies Department.

First, Rav Professor Neria Guttel, President of Orot Israel College, and Rav Dr. Moshe Rachimi, Dean of Students, joined the students and faculty of the Land of Israel Studies Department at a festive dedication ceremony for a new departmental room which was designed by the students themselves.

Next, a brand new departmental website was launched at the dedication ceremony. The site contains a wide array of informative articles, videos, and pictures and will serve as an ideal forum for online student discussions.

Finally, the Land of Israel Studies Department hosted a daylong seminar for the Association of Midrashot. The seminar focused on daily life during ancient times and included a study of various plants, their uses, and their Biblical names. In addition, Dr. Aryeh Borenstein treated the participants to a fascinating tour of archeological sites in the western Shomron.

MK Nissan Slomiansky Visits Orot Israel College

By Rabbanit Nomi Shachor – Tanach Department, Orot Israel College

On 25 Iyar 5773 (May 5, 2013), Nissan Slomiansky, a Member of Knesset for the Bayit HaYehudi party and chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, visited Orot Israel College’s Elkana campus. Invited by Tanach Studies Department Head Rabbanit Nomi Shachor, who teaches a course on historical and spiritual outlooks on the State of Israel, MK Slomiansky delivered a fascinating lecture entitled, “Gush Emunim and the Settlement Movement in Yehudah and Shomron.” Rav Professor Neria Guttel, President of Orot Israel College, introduced MK Slomiansky and thanked him for his considerable support for Orot throughout the years.

MK Slomiansky opened with a description of his studies at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavne and Bar Ilan University. During this period, he developed a close friendship with Rav Hanan Porat z”l, who introduced him to the founders of the Gush Emunim movement. Eventually, he chose to forego the rest of his academic studies in order to focus on public service – a decision that proved to be “a watershed moment” for him. As Gush Emunim’s first secretary-general, he worked to bring the movement’s dreams to life – particularly in the wake of the Yom Kippur War when Gush Emunim was transformed from a political protest movement into an activist movement working to realize Jewish settlement rights throughout the Land of Israel.

During the course of his gripping talk, MK Slomiansky touched upon various issues connected to Gush Emunim – such as the movement’s special relationship with Rav Tzvi Yehudah HaKohein Kook zt”l; how non-observant Israelis joined the movement; and the creation of a new settlement model: the communal settlement. He also discussed the movement’s spiritual impact and Am Yisrael’s bond with Eretz Yisrael in accordance with Torat Yisrael. Although much has been achieved, he feels that there is still much to be done, as evidenced by the disengagement from Gush Katif several years ago. He believes that the settlement movement requires political activism, both within and outside the government, and he credits the movement’s success to the spiritual strength, dedication, and sacrifices of the many families who heeded the movement’s clarion call and built wonderful communities throughout Yehudah and Shomron.

In conclusion, MK Slomiansky called upon the Orot students to join the settlement enterprise – whether in Yehudah, Shomron, the Galil, the Negev, or any other part of Eretz Yisrael.

Deputy Education Minister Visits Orot Israel College’s Rechovot Campus

On 17 Sivan 5773 (May 26, 2013), MK Avi Wortzman, Israel’s deputy education minister, visited Orot Israel College’s Rechovot campus. He and his staff had a chance to learn about Orot and meet with assorted faculty members.

Rav Professor Neria Guttel, President of Orot Israel College, and Rav Chaim Fogel, a member of Orot’s board of trustees, spoke to the deputy minister about Orot’s considerable achievements and accomplishments and noted that Orot is the country’s largest and most comprehensive religious educational college. They also pointed a number of creative solutions Orot has found to various national priorities – including increasing the number of preschool teachers, training civics teachers, preparing teachers for the Education Ministry’s new “Ofek Chadash” program, and much more. In addition, they discussed the different advanced degrees currently offered by Orot as well as those still pending final approval by the Council for Higher Education.

Mr. Ofir Abicsis described the social, welfare, and educational contributions of the garin Torani (core group) in Rechovot’s Oshiyot neighborhood, and Rav Ami Danino, Rosh Yeshivat Orot Yaakov, focused on the yeshiva’s unique ability to transform boys from lower socioeconomic neighborhoods into outstanding hesdernikim.

At the conclusion of his visit, the deputy minister expressed his deep appreciation and admiration for Orot Israel College and promised to continue his support for what he called "an illustrious institution".

5773 Convocation Ceremony at Orot Israel College’s Rechovot Campus

Some 270 Orot Israel College graduates were awarded B.Ed. degrees at a gala convocation ceremony at our Rechovot campus. The ceremony was held at the campus amphitheater, which was packed with the graduates, their families, and Orot faculty and staff members.

Following a festive reception for the graduates, Rav Professor Neria Guttel, President of Orot Israel College; Rav Chaim Saban, Orot’s vice president; and Rav Chaim Fogel, chairman of the board of trustees greeted the graduates and shared some divrei Torah. Next, Mr. Dedi Elchai spoke in the name of the graduates.

The keynote speaker was MK Rav Shai Piron, Israel’s Education Minister, who discussed the roles of teachers and educators. Mr. Rachamim Malul, Rechovot’s mayor, praised Orot and noted its significance to the city of Rechovot.

The degrees were awarded in the presence of Rav Noach Greenfeld, director of the Education Ministry’s Teacher’s Training Division and former head of Moreshet Yaakov College, and Mr. David Buskilah of the Teacher’s Training Division.

Singer Eldar Yechiel, an Orot alumnus, entertained the audience with his beautiful music, and Mr. Natan Fried, dean of students at the Rechovot campus, served as master of ceremonies.