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| VIDEO: Growing from the Pain Event to Commemorate 4 Years of Oz veGaon

Yosele Y    
Friday, 07 December 2:07 AM
Growing from the Pain

Marking 4 Years Since the Boys were murdered

Marking 4 years since the Establishment of Oz veGaon
Named for Gilad, Eyal & Naftali HY"D

Friday, the 2nd of Tamuz, June 15th at 10 am.

The Program - Words of Welcome 

Mr. Shlomo Ne'eman, Head of Gush Etzion Council 
Bat-Galim Shaer, representative of the parents 

Words of Torah on Unity

Rav Dov Zinger, Rosh Yeshivat Makor Chaim
Rabbanit Shani Taragin, Rosh Beit Midreshet Lindenbaum

 Musical offering
Makor Chaim's Musical Ensemble

Light refreshments 

We would be delighted to see you!

For More Details:
Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar 
      050-7161818        050-5500834 

A moving event commemorating four years since the creation of Oz veGaon, created  in memory of the three youths, was held at the Oz veGaon Nature Preserve. Bat-Galim Shaer: I learned humility from Gil-Ad.

Photos: Gershon Ellinson

This past Friday there was an event at Oz veGaon, in Gush Etzion, called "Growth through Pain", commemorating four years since the establishment of the preserve, four years since the abduction and murder of the three youths for whom the preserve is named, Gil-Ad, Eyal and Naftali, may G-d avenge their blood.

The event began with words of welcome by Yehudit Katsover, one of the two co-chairwomen of Women in Green, the movement responsible for the establishment and development of the preserve. The event was held under the depressing influence of the destruction of homes of Nativ Ha'avot and the planned destruction at Tapuah West.

Katsover noted the importance of the act of holding onto the Land of Israel despite the fact that the terror organizations are trying to expel the People of Israel and weaken our connection to it, by, among other things, acts of terror such as the abduction and murder of the three youths, Hy"d.

Katsover also thanked those who supported and contributed to the activities at the site, from the citizens who volunteered, through the youths who helped in the establishment of the preserve, to the brigade commanders and council heads over the four years since the preserve's establishment.

Katsover also mentioned the destruction of the homes in Nativ Ha'avot that took place a few days before and the demolitions that are planned in Tapuah West as a result of the People of Israel's continuing reluctance to realize its sovereignty in the cradle of its birthplace, Judea and Samaria.

Nadia Matar, Katsover's partner as co-chairwoman of Women in Green, noted the flourishing and prosperity that occurs when the People of Israel is in its Land and the redemption of the People and the Land as a long process, in which, from time to time, there are pitfalls that must be dealt with.  "Time is on our side", she said, and stated that the vision of sovereignty will also be realized more quickly than we could have imagined.

Bat-Galim Shaer, mother of Gil-Ad, Hy"d, spoke on behalf of the families of the youths, about the name of the preserve that was established in memory of the young men, "Oz veGaon", seeing in the name an expression of its essence.

She began with an expression of her personal difficulty in accepting the phrase "They evacuate and we build", an expression that represents an unnatural and unnecessary distinction within the People of Israel. "They are we and we are they".

About the name "Oz veGaon", she emphasized the importance of taking pride, in her words. "A Jew is educated for humility, so how is this consistent with 'Oz veGaon' (Pride and Glory)", she asked, and answered that she learned about humility from Gil-Ad: "We are all excellent, each in his own field and with his own talents, because we are all creations of the Almighty. It is wrong not to realize our talents and capabilities. We must realize our capabilities to the maximum extent. Gil-Ad knew what his talents and capabilities were but made sure not to express them arrogantly. There was a willingness to volunteer to help the other person, if necessary, to listen and be open to what others had to say and a willingness to give of oneself and one's talents humbly and modestly. A person who is aware of his capabilities and is ready to give of himself for the good of other people – this is humility".

Bat-Galim also noted the humility shown by Etzion Brigade Commander Amit Yamin during the period of searching for the boys after the abduction, "who allowed citizens to participate in the search, which led to their being found quickly".

"These days, we must regard the People with an inclusive view and remember those 18 days of searching, days when we all demonstrated responsibility and humility. We must remember this, remember that we are the Chosen People and as the Chosen People we are also capable", she said in conclusion.

Head of Gush Etzion Council Shlomo Ne'eman also spoke at the event, calling on the public to visit the displaced people of Nativ Ha'avot, to encourage and strengthen them in these difficult days. Yet he noted that building the new neighborhood for the displaced people constitutes a practical continuation of the existing Nativ Ha'avot neighborhood and forms a closer link between Elazar and Alon Shvut.

"On the way to redemption the People of Israel pays a heavy price that is difficult to accept. The price of the best of its sons, of the first row, is the unbearably heavy price and it paralyzes us; it leads us to grief and inaction, but we must know that redemption occurs not only in spite of the price, but because of the price. We impose on our enemies a price in land", said Ne'eman, emphasizing the importance of the holdings at the Oz veGaon Preserve and the activities of the co-chairwomen of Women in Green, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, together with their many volunteers and partners. "The price of land does not return a life to a father and a mother who have lost a son, but it brings forth life. When we gather our strength and stand erect, plant seedlings in the ground, we ourselves are implanted in the ground and we build another layer of the People's redemption".

Ne'eman also said that by next year, the fifth commemoration to be held in memory of the youths, the plans for the preserve would be approved by the Civil Administration. "We are progressing step by step. We will take the work upon our shoulders and not stop for a moment".

Another speaker who made the connection between the events of Nativ Ha'avot and the fourth event in memory of the four youths was Beni Savil, a member of the team struggling against the destruction of Nativ Ha'avot, and a resident of Elazar. He focused on the difficulty of blessing for evil just as one blesses for good, describing the answer that a father gave to one of the families whose home was ruined, as his son wondered about reciting the "Sheheheyanu" prayer when affixing a mezuzah on the home to which he was transferred on the day of the destruction.

After describing somewhat the public and political struggle against the destruction, a struggle that bore fruit with the announcement of a new neighborhood that was being built and the expansion of the existing neighborhood, he noted that "this is the first evacuation where people are transferred from one door to a new door and in just a few days we will hear the bulldozers at a distance of 150-200 meters starting to build 68 residential units and later on, 350 residential units and those 15 houses that were destroyed, a meter to the right or to the left".

Rav Dov Zinger, head of the Makor Haim Yeshiva, where the abducted and murdered youths studied, spoke about the importance of unity between man and his fellow as the basis for everyone's daily Morning Prayer. He noted the words of the Ari on the obligation of man to take upon himself specifically the positive commandment of "You shall love your neighbor as yourself", before praying and not the commandment to love the Almighty. This is because of the importance of internalizing that the People is all one unit, just as the foundation stone of the Holy Temple, toward which we direct our prayers, is the one center of the world, the place from which the world was founded, the place where we can return to the starting point and create a new reality.

"The situation in which everyone feels that he is acting alone is a situation of low consciousness. When a person is healthy he does not feel that his hands are two different elements, but part of one body. The original and basic experience is to feel that he is one unit. Someone who is connected to the People is not especially pious, but a person who has a clear view of reality".

Rabbanit Shani Taragin also spoke about the principle of unity and the way to achieve it, noting that the People was present at Mount Sinai as one person with one heart; this desired unity occurred after the splitting of the Red Sea into 12 sections, which expressed each and every part of the People of Israel, and yet, these sections were separated by a transparent wall of water through which every Israelite could see his fellow. This Midrash, Rabbanit Taragin explains, teaches the importance of the variations between the tribes and their different colors as they are united together.

Later, she presented lines of commentary over the generations emphasizing the importance of each and every part of the People of Israel without negating or obscuring each one's uniqueness; this will bring about true and complete unity.

The co-chairwomen of Women in Green, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, say that before the event there were discussions about how to hold the event in light of the incidents of destruction and evacuation in Netiv Haavot. An indeed, it was decided to limit the scope of the event which, every year, had been characterized by a mass happening of love of the Land and connection to the preserve and to Gush Etzion in general. "This time we decided to hold a more modest event, and yet the event was uplifting and encouraging to the movement's volunteers and supporters and to the idea of holding onto the land, to us and to the families of the youths whom we continue to embrace all year long and especially on the yearly day of commemoration".

A powerpoint presentation was shown to the event's attendees summarizing the activity that is held at the preserve all year, in pictures and melody. Activity that includes public figures from Israel and abroad, community activities, agricultural and educational activities for the youth from all parts of the Land and more. Link to the power point presentation:

Link to video summarizing the event: 


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