Tonight dh and I went to a dinner in honor of the tenth anniversary of Karmiel’s hesder yeshiva, Orot Karmiel.
The room was packed and I didn’t see anyone else from the charedi community there, but it was quite full so I very possibly could have missed seeing someone. We know a number of people in the garin Torani (Torani seed group), which is why we were invited, and we had a lovely time. Delicious food, lovely music, nice people and interesting speeches.
Unlike most dinners, this one had no cost – no sponsorships, no solicitations, no pressure – it was an evening celebrating ten years for this yeshiva. As one of the speakers said, ten years ago if you told someone you were living or learning in Karmiel, the response was similar to if you told them you lived in Eilat – almost as if you lived in a different country! But Karmiel is growing, and along with it all of the different religious communities in Karmiel are growing as well.
There were a number of speakers, including the chief Ashkenazic rabbi of Israel, the past head rabbi of the Israeli army, the mayor of Karmiel, the chief rabbi of Karmiel and the rosh yeshiva of the hesder yeshiva. They all spoke beautifully but my favorite was the rabbi of the army He spoke about how hard it is for him to understand those who say that there’s a contradiction between being in the army and learning Torah. On the contrary, he said, there are many fine young men are serving in the army who are learning Torah while also fulfilling the huge mitzva of protecting the Jewish people; Israel is surrounded by enemies who would happily see the entire Jewish people destroyed in a minute, and the army is critical to the protection of everyone living in this country.
Since religiously Israel is so polarized, I especially enjoy opportunities like this when I can interact with others who are outside of my immediate social group. Dh and I both liked the tone of the evening, about the value for Torah study that was evident as well as the commitment to actively supporting the community; in the local hesder yeshiva this isn’t given lip service but is actively done by the local garin Torani (who staff the yeshiva).
It was a long evening but we agreed that it was a worthwhile way to spend several hours, and I hope that the yeshiva continues to grow and thrive!
Edited to add: Thank you to the blog reader who sent a link to an article about the evening with accompanying photos. (I’m in the headline photo but fortunately my face is obscured by someone else so you’d have to know exactly where I was to figure it out!)