The featured Video – Don’t Give Up
On the first year anniversary of the tragic fire that burnt the homes of the residents of Moshav Mevo Modiin, we are honored to release this cover of the Moshav Bands inspiring tune “Don’t Give Up”, performed by the residents of the moshav and friends. We would like to deeply thank all those who gave their time, efforts and talents to this project. May we merit to see the new moshav sprout from the ashes, stronger and more beautiful than before, bzchut our teacher Reb Shlomo Carlebach and the amazing residents of the Moshav who’ve always had their doors open to anyone in need, lifting our hearts and spirits, teaching us what shabbos is gan Eden truly is like.
Pesach Sheini is the holiday of 2nd chances. One year after the fires that devasted Mevo Modiim last year on Lag Ba’Omer, the Moshav is been given a second chance to start a new Beginning.
On this milestone, I have the privilege of interviewing Alon Teeger, the Chairman of the Moshav who has been very involved in the process of putting the pieces together.
Q : How have you and the Chevra been holding up? There were so many challenges – the need for housing, the dispersion of the members, the legal and monetary battles…
This Lag Ba’Omer it will be one year since the catastrophic fires engulfed our community and destroyed 80 percent of the residents’ homes. We were immediately housed by the Regional Authority at Ben Shemen, then briefly at Yad Binyamin and then at the Chofetz Chaim Guesthouse.
The first feeling that we all had was an immense sense of gratitude.
It would be remiss of me not to mention all the individuals, the private organizations, the Government, and the Regional Council, that came rushing to our immediate aid. It was both inspiring and comforting for us to know that so many people cared. I cannot even begin to imagine what our plight might have been have we been left to our own very depleted resources.
Q- Where are you holding with getting the Land rights sorted out?
In the aftermath of the fire, it was obvious to everyone that we could no longer sustain a lengthy court case to resolve our land rights issues with the Israel Land Authority (“ILA”). The Government’s emergency aid package provided temporary accommodation for the Moshav residents and urged the ILA to resolve our land rights dispute within 3 months.
By November 2019 a comprehensive aid package to rebuild the Moshav was drafted by the Government. This aid package gave the Regional Council control over the reestablishment of the Moshav including the development of infrastructure for 150 new homes on the Moshav, in line with the program to expand the Moshav that was approved in 2018.
After 11 months of difficult and often frustrating negotiations with the ILA, the members of the Moshav voted to accept the ILA ‘final’ proposal.
Q – How are you going to make the most of your Second Chance – your Pesach Sheini?
As a community, we will now most certainly face many new challenges because the basic structure of the Moshav is to undergo major changes.
Some of the most difficult challenges will be the integration of over 120 new families into the Moshav as well as having to live through 3 to 4 years of infrastructure development, the building of the new homes, and the rebuilding of our destroyed homes.
Many of the members are facing enormous financial hardship and will require financial assistance to rebuild.
Q – What progress has been made on the Moshav during this past year?
To date, there has been very little visible evidence of progress on the Moshav since the fire.
The destroyed houses are still there waiting to be demolished, and the burned and scarred landscape still bare stark testimony to the catastrophic fire. Most of the burned trees have been cut down in and around the Moshav, and some of the rubble around the houses has been removed.
We have managed to restore the old water system and to reconnect electricity to allow about 10 families, whose homes were spared or only lightly damaged, to return to the Moshav, but even for them life is far from normal and they do face daily difficulties.
But hopefully, we are finally beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel, as the planning for the reconstruction and development of the Moshav begins to move into the delivery phase.
How do you envisage the future of Moshav?
The new reality on the Moshav will necessitate a shift in consciousness. Under the new dispensation, the residential component of the Moshav is to be privatized. Each homeowner will sign an urban contract with the ILA and will own their individual homes. The Moshav will no longer be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the communal areas as this responsibility will pass over to the Regional Council.
The Moshav will retain the rights over the tourism areas for the development of a 100-room hotel and the establishment of The Shlomo Carlebach Health and Educational Center. We will also retain rights over the agricultural land.
The future of the Moshav will depend on our ability to accept change and seize this moment. I have confidence that we will rise to the new realities and that we will create a vibrant and exciting new community going forward.
Q –What is the vision for the Moshav going forward?
In the good old days, and up until the fire, the Moshav hosted thousands of individuals and literally hundreds of groups on Holidays, Shabbatot, and a variety of other events. The bi-annual Moshav Fairs were always a great attraction as were the monthly Rosh Chodesh women’s gatherings.
I am confident that the Moshav will bounce back and have an even stronger appeal than it had before the fire. I think that all of the Moshav’s activities will continue and will hopefully be enhanced and expanded after the rebuild.
Just like the Jewish world changed after Reb Shlomo, so will the world change after Covid19. It seems that the entire world is getting its chance for a Pesach Sheini – it’s a second chance which maybe dovetails with Shlomo’s message of Unity and Peace. A world more united, more joyful, and more spiritual.
Q – With this as a backdrop, can you briefly describe your vision of the rebuild of the Moshav which is a showcase/attraction to highlight:
- Centre of Health for the Body and Soul
- Shabbat and Holiday Retreat (House of Love and Prayer)
- Eco-Environmental (te Heritage Center will be built and showcase an Environmentally friendly building)
A very integral part of the new Moshav will be The Carlebach Center, where visitors and participants can be inspired to connect to their Jewishness through the teachings, stories, and music of Reb Shlomo.
This Tourism Project is envisaged to include a unique 100 room Hotel, a Heritage Centre, and Visitor Centre showcasing an interactive exhibition of Reb Shlomo’s life and contribution over 4 decades. Topics such as the rise of the Chassidic movement and its personalities, pre and post-Holocaust Jewish history, the 60’s generation and their return to Judaism (House of Love and Prayers, the holy Beggars, etc,) identification with Israel and the strong connection to Jerusalem, the holy Israeli soldiers, the struggle of Russian Jewry, and the rise Carlebach Neo-Haddisim (taking the best of the Hassidim, including amongst others Breslov, Ishbitz, Rav Kook.)
The Heritage Center will also showcase the Carlebach family history and the worldwide impact of Shlomo‘s music and how he revitalized and inspired Jewish song prayer and Ahavat Yisrael and so much more.
The Moshav will also hopefully be an educational central point for local and international School and Tour Groups to experience a joyful, loving and open approach to Judaism as well a key part of the Tourism in the greater Modiin Area which includes:
- Tour of the Graves of the Maccabees and the archeological history of the area.
- Nature and Meditation walks and courses in the fauna and flora in Ben Shemen Forest.
- Neot Kadumim, the Biblical Botanical Gardens.
- A visit to the moving Zaglembie Holocaust Memorial.
- Bike Rides/ Horse rides in the Ben Shemen Forest etc.
The role of the educational tourism on the Moshav will not only be to inspire Jews to embrace and learn about their heritage, but also for our non-Jewish brothers and sisters to see and experience the beauty of Judaism, Shabbat and the land of Israel.
Q – As you mention, the Moshav is adding 150 more homes. What is the process for people who want to move to the Moshav?
We are putting together a Buyers Group to enable like-minded Chevra to purchase homes on the moshav. To sign up to receive information, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite the setback of the fire (and maybe also because of it), we continue to invite the world to share in our vision and to support our ‘Second Chance.’