Did you ever have an encounter with Judaism that changed the way you wanted to be Jewish? Or met people so warm, so special, so aglow with their love of being Jewish that you thought, I’d like to live my life more like them?
For so many of us, those experiences happened because of the people and the place that is Moshav Mevo Modi’im, commonly known as just “The Moshav.” Through the Moshav’s many talented musicians (like The Moshav Band and The Solomon Brothers), artists of all stripes, and inspiring teachers, countless Jews have been touched by this place, and changed for the better.
My cousins Michael (z”l) and Leah were some of the original members of Moshav Meor Modi’im, started by a group of Americans who wanted to create a place where the love of Judaism that Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach had exemplified would be lived every day, and from where this love could be spread to all who came into contact with them.
And so it was. Now, over 40 years later, these “originals,” along with their kids and grandkids, had built a remarkable place, open to all, where people came to gather during their biannual festivals, to learn on Rosh Chodesh, to sing and feel connected through the music, to be moved by the art and jewelry and crafts, all inspired by Torah.
And then, in a blink of an eye, it all went up in flames yesterday. From what we hear, all but five of the homes have been destroyed. Homes that have always been open to host visitors, guests, students, and anyone who was searching for something more meaningful or accepting, are gone. The founders of this amazing place, who took less traditional paths to live according to their ideals, were already dealing with the struggles that come with aging – and are now homeless. Their extended families, and the many families that were attracted to the Moshav — families with young children and babies — are now homeless.
Rebuilding their homes and lives will be no small effort. Yet this place and these people are so special, there is no doubt that they must rebuild, and we must help them in that effort. Please give what you can and help them and all of us recapture the magic of the Moshav.