Rosh Hashana 5773, September 2012

Rosh Hashanah 5773
September 2012

Dear Friends of Makom Bagalil,
As we near the end of Elul, the white flower stalks of the chatzav (squill) have sprung up all over the Galilee, there are clouds in the morning, the nights are almost cool. Change is in the air. A new year, a sense of beginning anew.

Looking back on this past year, we here at Makom Bagalil are feeling pride and satisfaction at what we have accomplished in a number of different areas, at the thousands of lives we have touched, at the message we have broadcast loud and clear to a variety of audiences, of listening, of mutual respect, of shared responsibility. It was a good year for us.

At the same time, we look back with a certain amount of disappointment and frustration - at how little we did, at how hard it was to do it, at the prices we paid, at how much is left to do. The world did not get perfected during the past year, and neither did the Jewish state.

We enter the new year excited and energized by our successes, standing on the solid foundation of what we have built up to now, ready for the daunting challenges of the year ahead. We thank you for being with us so far, and invite you to stay with us on this journey.

Best wishes for a year of health, peace, and blessing.

Rabbi Marc J. Rosenstein, director

In the column to the right you will find links to video clips and media coverage of the Galilee Circus' three week summer trip to Philadelphia and St. Louis. If, upon watching them, you feel the urge to run away to the circus, we are not responsible.

But seriously, it was an extraordinary experience, both in its impact on the twelve kids who participated, and in the message to the many and diverse audiences (there were 24 performances in under three weeks) who enjoyed the show. In Philadelphia we performed by ourselves; in St. Louis we joined together with the St. Louis Arches youth circus to create a joint troupe.

A highlight was our appearance as a guest act in Universoul Circus, a professional tent circus...

Rabbi Rosenstein accompanied the group. You are invited to read his reflections on the experience, and some thoughts on the interfaith aspect of it.

We have received a grant from the Anna Lindh Foundation for an exchange program this year, with Circus Poehaa in the Netherlands. But beyond that, we are interested in returning to North America; if your community or organization is interested, let us know.

We'll be performing this week for a corporate family event at Superland amusement park in Rishon Letzion, and participating in a circus festival in Modi'in during Sukkot. Meanwhile, this week we're holding ''open house'' to attract new recruits for the new year.

Meeting places
A subject we have been thinking about for years is the challenge of helping visitors find meaning in historical sites in Israel, especially when they lack a grounding in the traditional texts that relate to the land. Over two decades, we have accumulated quite a bit of experience in dealing with this challenge, yielding some interesting products:

  • Lost in Safed, an interactive, independent tour experience
  • Zippori Live, a living history program we produced with theater educator Joyce Klein in the early years of Zippori National Park.
  • Exploring Acco, a new independent small group tour of Old Acco
  • A Tale of Two Cities, a full-day or two-day interactive seminar in the excavations of Yodfat and Zippori.
  • The Marketplace of Ideas, a living history game in ancient Korazim.
  • Touring Zippori with Zippy, an activity-based family guidebook to Zippori (Hebrew).
  • The Silence of Rabbi Yossi, a text-study tour of Zippori.

Our current project: creating educational activities and independent tour kits focusing on the town of Shelomi, for families and groups stayng in the youth hostel there.

Just before the Ninth of Av this summer, we cosponsored a program with the Misgav culture department at nearby Tel Yodfat: tours in the late afternoon, followed a performance by the Tair Theater Company of a drama based on the [in]famous surrender of Josephus at Yodfat.

Meanwhile, we have launched a new ''Mobile Bet Midrash'' - a monthly series of three-way encounters for the local population: text-place-ideas. Last week we featured ''Safed - Between Kabbalah and Halachah;'' Next month: ''Yodfat - Jews and olives.''

Inquiries welcome. The Galilee is us.

Meeting others

Dugrinet, our Hebrew-Arabic website, continues to seek opportunities to create encounters between different populations in the Galilee. Our newest project: working with an LGBT youth group to help them use Dugrinet and the media in general to convey information and combat prejudice and misinformation.

After the unveiling of our new format in the spring, we have been making good progress in increasing the amount of Arabic on the site, including original (not translated) Arabic content. We expect to begin posting an English digest of interesting articles, within the next month.

Chava Alberstein Cards
As mentioned in a previous newsletter, singer-songwriter Chava Alberstein has donated a set of her paintings from her latest CD booklet, to support, our Hebrew-Arabic website. We have converted the paintings into colorful 4 x 6 in. top-fold note cards, and will be happy to send out packets of 8 assorted cards with envelopes, as follows (via air mail):

Contribute $18 - receive one packet of 8; $30 - two packets; $40 - three packets; $50 - four packets

To donate, click here; then send us an email with mailing instructions.

Feel free to forward this offer to friends who might be interested!

Watch us fly!

Final show at City Museum, St. Louis:


For useful background information on Arab-Jewish relations in the Galilee, click here.

And for our teacher-inservice curriculum on teaching Israel, published by "Makom," click here.

Gailee Diary
Rabbi Rosenstein's weekly "Galilee Diary" on life in the Galilee is available on-line.  A selection of entries from the first eight years of the Diary has now been published in book form, and is available from the URJ Press.

Scholar in Residence

Contact us if you are interested in Rabbi Rosenstein speaking in your community in the coming year.

For More Information
Or visit, call, or write:
Galilee Foundation for Value Education

Moshav Shorashim,
D.N. Misgav 20164
Tel. 972-9902431
Fax. 972-9902403

We need your support: contributions, volunteers, orders for our programs

To order or volunteer, write to us.  To contribute, click here.  Opportunities: sponsor a circus kid, place an ad in Dugrinet, sponsor a pluralism program. 
Let us know your interest.

Coming to Israel?

Contact us to arrange a study tour,  "Neighbors" encounter, or circus performance for your group.  We are also happy to receive individual visitors.