Rank & File

Israeli Organizations Step Up to Organize Rosh Hashanah Meals for Internationals

Lone soldiers at a seder in Ashkelon last year
Ray Scally

WHAT’S THEIR STORY? When London-native Charlie Kesem went back to the International School of Storytelling this summer for an alumni gathering, her passion for true storytelling was re-ignited. “I sat with Sue Hollingsworth, one of the founders, for three hours about a story that happened in my life,” she told Haaretz of her return to the school in the English village of Forest Row. “You’ll know when it’s ready to tell, she told me.” Drawing from that experience as well as London’s “Natural Born Storytellers” and Europe’s “Story Nights,” Kesem will launch “True Stories: First Times” in Tel Aviv this Sunday, featuring seven storytellers, mostly in English. The lineup includes Kesem, Lani Levine, from Charlotte, North Carolina, Malynnda Littky, from Detroit, former New Yorker Daniella Altit and Israelis Noam Fattal, Nova Dobel and Idan Cohen. “Coaching them, that’s the biggest inspiration and honor,” she adds. “When people tell their story, connection comes.” For more info, visit Kesem Storytelling Collective.

RABBI RETURNS: The Schechter Rabbinical Seminary’s annual evening in memory of Dr. Aubey Rotenberg celebrated the return of Rabbi Dr. Reb Mimi Feigelson after a 16-year stint as spiritual mentor and lecturer at Schechter in Los Angeles. “They found me here and created a position for me to bring me to the United States, which is the only way in the world I would’ve gone there,” recalled Feigelson. “I always knew I was coming home. I was on a long-term leave during which I raised a generation of rabbis.” Feigelson, who was secretly ordained by the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach in 1994, told Haaretz the movement brought her back to Israel by creating another position for her – spiritual mentor of the seminary. The evening looked at the role of the rabbinate and Israeli rabbis from the angle of Ethics of the Fathers, said Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch, the seminary’s dean. Other speakers included Rabbi Michael Graetz, Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin and Rabbanit Sarah Segal-Katz.

FIND-A-SEDER: Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is very much a family holiday in Israel that has developed its own version of a seder, festive meal. For internationals who do not have a full network of relatives in the country, the two-day festival can get a little lonely. A number of organizations have stepped in to bridge that gap, establishing their own traditions that newcomers are always welcome to join. In Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Tel Aviv International Synagogue, White City (at the 126 Ben Yehuda Synagogue), Chabad on the Coast and JICNY are all hosting dinners. In some cases, lone soldiers are invited for free. All events can be found on secrettelaviv.com or janglo.net.

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

Have an idea about an item for Rank and File? E-mail us at:column@haaretz.co.il