Wine & Cheese and The Mentalist

17 03 2013

Last night (3/16) the Ariel Anglo community was invited to a special performance by Yona Schnitzer, the Mentalist. The show was held in the newly renovated, formerly known as the internet Cafe room, in the Matnas. Prior to the show there was a nice selection of wine and cheeses, with fresh baguettes and some nosh. After a bit of socializing it was time for our minds to be blown.

The show did not disappoint, The Mentalist had a steady stream of volunteers come up and he was able to guess, or read our minds, to determine which card we looked at. He went all “Inception” on one person and implanted a specific card in her mind, and when she revealed the card, he took out a closed box of cards, and sure enough that card was flipped around.

Here are videos of two tricks that I volunteered for.

One of the cooler tricks was he had 3 volunteers, one wrote the name of a childhood friend, one thought of a vacation destination, and the third drew a doodle. All three put a slip of paper with their answers in a sealed envelope, and somehow the Mentalist got them all right.

It seemed like everyone who attended had a great time, and much time was spent afterward trying to break down the tricks and figure out how he did it.

After the show a group of us kept the party going by heading over to CheckPoint, a local kosher bar in Ariel. While we were there someone who works at the bar came over to our table and wowed us with some insane card tricks.  All in all it was  a great night. Many thank to Reuven Franks for setting everything up, and all those who helped out.





Ron Nachman

21 01 2013

I didn’t know Mayor Ron Nachman well, we had met on a few different occasions,  but he does receive a large chunk of the credit when people ask me why we moved to Ariel. When my wife and I were searching for a community we spoke with a representative from Nefesh B’nefesh and explained what kind of town we were looking for and he told us that Ariel is trying to build an Anglo community. and it seems like it would be a good match for us.

Shortly after we moved here, my wife and I, along with other Anglos had our first meeting with the Mayor.  It was exactly 4 years to the day before he passed away. The day is easy to remember because it was the night before our daughter was born. We discussed different ways to attract Americans to Ariel. He was open, seemingly honest, and didn’t worry about being politically correct.

The Mayor once took a small group of Anglos on a tour of the region, he told us the story of how he came to a barren mountaintop, and built it up to the city it is today. He showed us the importance of the Ariel Bloc for the security of Israel, and told us how he has done more for peace,by pushing for and building the Ariel and Barkan Industrial parks, where Jews and Palestinians work side by side.

More recently, The Mayor made an appearance at the Mamad (Religious Public School) for their Chanukah Assembly. He thanked all of the kids and said it was in their Z’chut, through their Teffilot that he had been feeling better lately.

I’ve been reading what different politicians have been saying about The Mayor over the past few days, and there is probably no greater tribute than across the political spectrum, he was respected and admired.





A new Shul in Ariel

31 10 2012

One of the aspects of Ariel that we consider to be very special is its diversity.  Unlike many other yishuvim in the area Ariel has a mix of many different levels of religious observance, varied nationalities and a range of ages.  In this post we want to share an event that occurred in one of Ariel’s religious communities, Netzer Ariel.  The community of Netzarim from Gush Katif has been living in Ariel since 2005.   They originally settled in the Ariel University dorms and eventually moved into a temporary caravan site near the college.   That has been the status quo since 2005.

The Netzarim community has added a new element to religious life in Ariel which complemented some of the more veteran communities including Ohel Efraim and Shvut Ariel.  They brought a Yeshivat Hesder to Ariel and have a wide variety of social and religious activities.

Rav Hillel lays a stone for the new Netzer Ariel Shul

We were happy to take part in the stone laying for the new Netzarim Shul in Ariel, in the neighborhood planned to finally give this community a permanent home.  The community was touched by the busloads of Mizrachi Olami members who came to join in the simcha!   We hope that the growth of the religious communities in Ariel grows for years to come.





Shana Tova from Ariel!

11 09 2012

The start of a new year always gives us pause to think about the one coming to a close.  Here in Ariel a lot has happened over the last year and we hope for similar blessings in the coming year.  On a communal scale we have celebrated a number of births.   We have had a number of inspiring teachers come to Ariel who have raised the level of Torah learning.

On the city level we have had recognition of the local college in Ariel as a University and we’re all excited about the start of new building projects which will enable even more people to make their home in Ariel.   Wishing all of us a year full of health, happiness, spiritual growth and a deeper connection to Eretz Yisrael.

Ariel Wishes you a Shana Tova





Parent and children learning event

6 08 2012

When the Hochhausers moved to Ariel from Beit Shemesh a few years ago, Elie took it upon himself to organize Shabbat afternoon learning for parents and kids. (הורים וילדים). After learning is completed Elie asks the kids questions from the parsha and gives out treats and tickets. Every couple of months Elie organizes a Friday morning event; there is some learning, snacks, an activity and the kids can “cash in” their tickets for prizes.

This past Friday was one of those days. We went to a Ma’ayan (little pool) near Har Bracha. There were over 40 people, a mix of Anglos and Israeli’s who participated. The morning started off with a short play, yours truly managed to stumble through my one line, some singing and then it was off to the pool.

The kids waiting for the play

The Play

Once the kids, and some parents, were through splashing and playing in the water, it was time for snacks and prizes.

One of the things that we really liked when checking out Ariel is that it was, and still is, a growing city. There is still a lot of room for new projects and ideas. All it takes is someone

to come and take the initiative to get something started, whether it’s Shabbat afternoon learning or a women’s basketball game. It’s easy to make an impact and help the community grow.

Kol Hakavod to Elie for organizing the learning every Shabbat, may we continue to have more and more people every Shabbat

Ariel Learning

Standing by the pool





Baseball in Ariel?

24 07 2012

Before we made Aliyah, we would take the kids to Tiger baseball games. My oldest, who was 4 when we moved, really enjoyed going to the ballpark and was able to sit through an entire game. Fast forward about 4 years, and he is still really into baseball. Every morning he asks me who won the Tigers game. He is always asking me to either play catch with him, or pitch to him. And now that the kids are on summer vacation, when the Tigers play a day game, I’ll let them stay up and watch a few innings.

I kind of feel bad for him, because other than me, at least in Ariel, he has no other real outlet for his love of baseball. He has cousins from Modiin who are also really into baseball, and play Israeli Little League. His oldest cousin is currently playing in a tournament in the States with the National Israeli Youth Team.

I’ve recently started thinking about what options we have in Ariel. One option is to take him to Karnei Shomron, it’s a yishuv about 20 minutes from Ariel – that has a little league. There are a few downsides to that plan:

  1. That would be his only Chug (after school event), and it wouldn’t be with his local friends,
  2. Shlepping back and forth to Karnei Shomron would probably be a pain for my wifeJ

I was discussing this with a friend of mine here, and he suggested that I start a local Chug, It wouldn’t be a Little League more of a “learn how to play baseball”. There are several issues with this option:

  1. I don’t know how to teach baseball
  2. I don’t have gloves, bats and balls.
  3. There isn’t a good flat area that we can play on.

So that is the (lack of) Ariel Baseball situation I’m curious to see how this all plays out over the next year or two. Ideally more American kids (and their families) they don’t even have to be American, just an interest in baseball, will move into Ariel and we can get a team started here, and join the Israeli Little League circuit.





Introducing the University of Ariel

19 07 2012

Ariel University – Picture taken from Wikipedia

When I moved to Ariel almost 4 years ago, there was confusion as to what to the call the University in Ariel. Was it a Michlala, (which a lower level college) or a University Center (Which I guess is one step higher). The reason for all the confusion was the School had applied to become a full University a number of years ago, and they were on a probationary University Center status. In the past few months there has been some controversy and news in around Ariel as the temporary status expired.

The other 7 Israeli Universities were against granting the Ariel U full status, whether politically motivated or financially motivated (they didn’t want the money pie cut an 8th way) it seemed like the school wasn’t going to be granted full University status.

But that all changed this week, there was another vote and this time it passed. You can read more about it here or on their Wikipedia page.

The University of Ariel (I honestly don’t know if that’s what it’s called) is officially the 8th University in Israel.

This is viewed as a big plus for the City of Ariel, which now not only has the Cultural Center, country club, promise of a new mall and several new building projects, but now can add a University to her profile. Hopefully this will attract young families who are either getting their first or second degrees at The U (I’m trying out different nicknames here), and want to live close by.

I’d also like to wish a Mazal Tov to Yael Maizels, the Rebbetzin of Ohel Efraim, who just got her Doctorate from Ariel U this week in Biology, she lectures there as well.  Her new official title is Rebbetzin Dr. Yael Maizels Ph.D.

 








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