Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

The Moshav of Reb Shlomo will rock again!

On Lag ba’Omer, the Moshav has burned down. There are two kinds of people, those who’re shocked and those who need to be shocked. But shock or not, that doesn’t mean that life is over. There are a great history and a great future to be had at the Ben Shemen forest.

I grew up in a forest so visiting was always strangely familiar. Strangely because Holland doesn’t have hills, let alone mountains to look out on. Or days without rain. This village was founded by Reb Shlomo Carlebach and his chevreh with great effort in 1975.

The tall pines were almost as high as the ideals of the people who lived there. Each house was an individual humble palace. It still looked like camping — what we did when we first received the Torah.

There lived the artist and healers, the singers and players but foremost, the enthusiastic Jews. Nothing was taken for granted and especially not the messages of Judaism and people.

There in the shul, you could grab a guitar and lead Mincha. Just another Minche became the last one before Mashiach’s arrival!

At one of those Chol haMo’ed faires, I needed a place to eat my sandwiches. At the first house after the entrance, I found a lovely ritual booth. It was empty, at the heat of the day but I was sure they wouldn’t mind me eating there. When they came, they were startled for a split second to find someone munching in there but they immediately joined me and suggested I’d eat from their food too. And they asked who I knew until they got to someone in their family whom I knew. Now I was really family. They wanted me to come again. They had a quality that is so often lacking and greatly undervalued; it’s called: relaxed friendliness.

There was a time that the residents of Reb Shlomo’s village, of the “Moshav,” didn’t have enough money to buy food for themselves, so they needed to stop receiving guests for Shabbat.

Reb Sholomo on his next visit disagreed. They said: But when you have scarce means, your own needs take precedence. Try winning an argument with the greatest rabbi alive. He said: That is true generally. But in this case, the whole reason d’être of the Moshav is hospitality.

This is how Reb Shlomo lived himself. Money was only to help others.

The people and the Torah scrolls were saved from the flames, most houses and animals not. It’s the opposite of the Holocaust when books and people were burned but stuff stayed behind — to be looted.

Two generations grew up there. Will the elderly founders have the spirit to start all over? You betcha. When you’ve been living in the palm of G^d’s hand, things can hurt you but nothing can break you.

I don’t know much of what really happened. False stories, fake news, abound on the Internet. Like the aerial picture “proving” that the shul was miraculously saved, not showing the shul nor the grounds of it.

After Israel succeeded to reunite the City of Jerusalem in 1967, Reb Shlomo asked for government funds to buy tons of flowers to have Jewish children go from door to door in the Arab neighborhood and bring a message of peace. His request was not answered and the moment was lost. Thinking of this now the suspicion is that anti-Zionists tired to burn down the forest which consumed his Moshav.

But I do know that now it’s our turn to help the Moshav. A nice sum has been raised but that’s not enough. The villagers need toothbrushes and phylacteries. Then they need fresh clothes. Then they need money to buy food and a table and candles for Shabbat. Then they need money to pay rent and heating (winter will come). Then they need money to rebuild. Please open your hearts and be generous like mad.

About the Author
To subscribe to his daily blog posts, enable an "RSS Feed Reader" for your device. Then click on the circle next to the ToI blogger's picture, containing a dot with two quarter circles around it (the Feed Computer icon). * The author is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (DES - Diethylstilbestrol), born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science, Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. * He likes doing age-appropriate and age-inappropriate things and looks forward to getting to know his timeless mature out-of-the-box soul mate. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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