Schawuot 5776 / 12.6.2016 / 6. Sivan 5776

We wanted to meet in our green shul on the estate Gatow for shiurim, to work, to laugh and chat. When I came along that day with my second son Aaron, many busy hands were already diligently watering, removing "Beikraut" (yes, I had to learn that there are  no "weeds", but only "Beikraut" ...), and organizing the water supply and much, much more.
The short walk from the remise to the field was a good attunement to nature, to harvest,  to dirty your hands and to make contact with the soil, which gives us so much and which we sometimes just take for granted, while it is not self-evident and not "just there". 


Shavuot - Jalda could explain much better the holiday at which we celebrate so much: The handing over of the Torah, Ruth's story, or rather her decision and commitment, the beginning of the harvest and the receipt of the first fruits and grain ... It is a happy feast, enjoyment of life, the beauty and the growth of nature. And so all of us were in the fields, weeding and watering, chattering or in silence - all according to our nature and mood.
After work we gathered at the raised strawberry bed and Jalda told us much about Shavuot, its meaning, its history and especially what Shavuot can tell us today. We thought of those who were missing and all those who could not come - especially Anna, Marlis and Etha. Many questions were asked and answered enthusiastically by Jalda .... of course also the first strawberry harvest was picked and enjoyed.
Then we sat together in  the garden of Rita and Ulli in a large circle in beautiful weather.
There we enjoyed tasty packed lunch (naturally milky, sweet course  ...) and Rita's great soup. Anja read from the book "The Triumph of Eve“  and at the very end, as unfortunately some had to go home already, Dvora gave a super exciting presentation on "Park Sanssouci and Kabbalah" - an essay in the context of her current studies in Potsdam. 


Yes of course, cleaning up and washing dishes also belonged to the tasks ... as in all families.

Text: Esther Trapp          Photos: Romy Köcher 
Translation: Etha Jimenez and Joseph Rebling

Pflanzfest 8. Mai 2016 / 30. Nissan 5776

This year's planting ceremony took place on Sunday, May 8th, 2016/ 30th of Nissan 5776. It was also the 15th day of the Omer time and the 1st day of Rosh Chodesh Iyar. At this versatile holiday we had the ideal weather conditions for the season´s  opening of our  green shul: blue skies, sunshine, about 25 ° C and a refreshing wind. We were about ten enthusiastic Ohelistas who looked forward to digging the earth,  to sowing and to watering, - and to watching the growth of our plants later on.
 A few days earlier, Anna and Daniel had repaired the winter damages, so we could get started right away with the gardening. And there was another surprise: just before the planting festival, Anna had built a junior raised bed for those of us, for whom the other beds are too wide or too high. A big thanks to Anna and Daniel. It is a very touching side of Ohel as Chavurah that, handicapped members are given the opportunity to participate in all activities as good as possible. I am very grateful for that.


Even among our youngsters, there are already hard-working elves. Ben is one. He is becoming a competent all-around gardener more and more: planting, handling the water hose or generator and filling the water barrels. With his help, I could also help with the watering of the flower bed. Thank you, dear Ben.
And there was another big surprise: Ben was allowed to drive the tractor. Ulli had promised him that, when his arms and legs are long enough to use the tractor t
hrottle, brake, gearshift and steering wheel, he is allowed to drive it on the field. Now it was time. For Ben certainly the biggest surprise and the highlight of the day. As expected, he steered the vehicle safely and prudently over the field. Others were infected by his enthusiasm and also drove a round. The tractor is a special model from the fifties and in good condition. So it was a great honor to drive it.


When we had finished sowing and watering, we went back to the carriage house. We sat there together on the grass in the light of a mild evening sun. Of course, we now were very hungry, and enjoyed Rita´s delicious vegetable soup and  sumptuous strawberry cream  cake.  A fitting end to a promising start of the season on the field.
Our green shul opens our hearts to the wonders of nature and the presence of the upper worlds. It is a very great opportunity for us as a group and for each individual.

Text: Etha Jimenez               Photos: Anna Adam
Translation: Etha Jimenez and Joseph Rebling

Pessach 5776 - 2016

Around 7 o'clock in the evening the large, bright room filled slowly but steadily. The large table had been beautifully decorated by eager helpers. For the first time, we celebrated in a Nachbarschaftsheim in Herbartstraße. Many new and old friends were happy to meet again, and both large and small children explored carefully where there might be hidden corners to play and rollick around.


The Passover Seder brought the Ohel-family together.  

Jalda, our cantor, took us by the hand and led us with joy, with lots of love, with songs and her beautiful voice through the Haggadah. Again and again she stopped her narrative to explain and establish connections between then and now. It cannot be taken for granted that today we can celebrate Passover in freedom and peace in this part of the world. 


The banquet was overwhelming: Anna and her helpers have spent a lot of time and energy to conjure a dazzling menu and transport it to our festival site.


Many thanks also to all the other helpers, who effectively and calmly made sure that everything was prepared and decorated. A particularly strong praise goes to our "junior assistants", Jonas, Ben and the young Swarthouts - without them it would have been difficult to win the nightly cleanup Marathon! 

What a blessing that Ohel Hachidusch is such a big family.

Text: Esther Trapp         Photos: Anna Adam
Translation: Etha Jimenez and Joseph Rebling 

Tehillim Workshop / 30.10.2015 / 17. Cheschwan 5776

30. und 31. Oktober 2015: Tehillim-workshop mit Chasan Jalda Rebling

Die Melodien dieses Schabbatons werden noch lange in uns nachklingen.

Wir erlebten gemeinsam Kabbalat Schabbat, Schacharit und Mincha und entdeckten in unserem T´hillim Workshop die Psalmen neu. Im Mittelpunkt standen sowohl die Parascha Wajera als auch das Schirat HaYam (Schemot 15).Weitere Tehillim des Workshops waren: Psalm 92 und 93, Psalm 148 und Psalm 67. Der Talmud bezeichnet Schirat HaYam als das erste Loblied (BT Traktat Pessachim 117a). Wir sangen dieses erste Lied der Tora und die anderen Psalmen so, wie die Levi´im sie vor Jahrtausendenden im Tempel von Jerusalem gesungen haben, d.h. 2 Chöre, manchmal auch drei, die sich im Wechselgesang trafen und wieder trennten. Gerade im Schirat HaYam, das in einer chiastischen Form (d.h. X-Struktur der Verse) nach Prof. Amzallag geschrieben war und von Chasan Jaclyn Chernett und Chasan Jalda Rebling bearbeitet wurde, entwickelte diese Form eine wunderbare Energie. Der grosse Saal hallte wider von Wechselgesängen, teilweise mit langen Tönen der einen Gruppe und gleichzeitigem Silbengesang der anderen. Eine sehr alte Melodie des Schilfmeer-Liedes, welche über Generationen von Mund zu Ohr vermittelt wurde und so in verschiedenen Varianten bekannt ist, wurde überraschend modern. Die spirituelle Wirkung dieser Techniken auf uns war ausserordentlich. Unser Gebet kam auf einmal aus tieferen Bewusstseinsebenen. Ich denke, jeder von uns spürte, wie das Singen von Psalmen in uralter jüdischer Tradition zu einem neuen Zugang zur alten Poesie führen kann. Wie überirdisch muss es geklungen haben, als die Gesänge von Tausenden von Levi´ím vom Tempel in Jerusalem durch die judäische Wüste hallten. Chasan Jalda Rebling beschäftigt sich seit vielen Jahren mit dieser alten Aufführungspraxis der T´hillim, der jüdischen Psalmen, und wir sind dankbar, dass sie uns so gekonnt in diese Welt hineingeführt hat.

Unser besonderer Gast an diesem Schabbaton war Eva Sax-Bolder aus New York, Rabbinatsstudentin bei ALEPH, die im kommenden Januar auf der Ohalah-Konferenz ihre Smicha erhalten wird. Sie ist Absolventin von Kol Zimra, also Schülerin von Rabbi Shefa Gold, einer Pionierin in Jewish Chanting Meditation. Eva hat uns zu Mincha, zum Ausklang des Tages, in die Welt der modernen Sacred Chants geführt. Ein grosser, aber stimmiger Sprung über Jahrtausende. Nach der Se´uda Schlischit, der dritten Mahlzeit, ging dieser ganz besondere Schabbat mit einer von Chasan Jalda geleiteten, anrührenden Hawdala zu Ende.

Wir danken Jalda und Eva sehr für diese tiefe spirituelle Erfahrung und Helen Eckstein für die Fotos, die die Atmosphäre der Hawdala so gekonnt widerspiegeln.


                             Text: Etha Jimenez     Fotos: Helen Eckstein

Taschlich 5776 / 14.9.2015 / 1. Tischrei 5776

Am 1.Tag Rosch haSchana 5776 trafen sich um 17 Uhr 25 Erwachsene und viele Kinder im Gutshof Gatow zum Taschlich.
Zu Beginn unserer kleinen Feier schrieben wir die Dinge, die uns im neuen Jahr 5776 nicht mehr begleiten sollten, auf wasserlösliches Papier.
Anschließend zogen wir zum Ufer der Havel. Anna blies am Ufer der Havel das Schofar. 
Bei einer sehr anrührenden und besinnlichen Zeremonie, unter Leitung von Anja, übergaben wir die uns bis dahin begleitenden Dinge auf sehr sanfte Weise der Havel. Wir schickten sie in kleinen wasserlöslichen Schälchen, die vorher von uns geschmückt wurden, auf die Reise.


Danach ging es wieder zurück in die Remise. Dort erwarteten uns leckere Speisen, damit wir uns nach der seelischen Stärkung auch körperlich stärken konnten. Es war wieder ein sehr schöner und harmonischer Nachmittag in Gatow.
Vielen Dank an Anja und Anna, die uns durch die Zeremonie geführt haben und ein großes Dankeschön an Rita und Uli für ihre Gastfreundschaft.

Text: Marlis Malkah Ventur        Fotos: Anna Adam