Women are waking up and gaining awareness about their power
70 Windows/Shivim Panim, whose activities are spread throughout the year, has completed its first tour of Israel between November 25th December 2nd. The trip was organized within the scope of JWRP Jewish Womens Renaissance Project, an initiative aiming at promoting Jewish values to improve ourselves, our families and our communities.
For the first time this year Turkey has joined the JWRP which throughout the years has made it possible for thousands of women from 60 cities and 12 countries to visit Israel and to discover themselves through the exploration of unknown aspects of their history, their unique heritage and their roots.
The JWRP 2014 trip organized successfully by Suzet Koenka and Betty Halegua consisted of seven miracolous and life altering days of excursions, seminars, meals, conversations, dancing and tambourines. A visit to the tomb of Rabbi Meir Ba’al Ha’Nes, a Jewish sage believed to receive God’s miracles for his merits, inspiring conversations with Lori Palatnik who in 2013 had participated in the Information Sharing Day of the 70 Windows initiative, meeting the Turkish community and introducing them to JWRP, the “Don’t Blame, Don’t Complain” bracelets distributed to remind everybody not to blame anyone and not to complain when things don’t go our way and that God doesn’t make mistakes, lectures encompassing various issues such as the role of love in our lives, the root of “Ahava-love” which is the word “Hav-to give”, the necessity to nurture love by “giving”, the importance of giving not only to children but also to spouses, the meaning of the ingredients of the Shabbat bread Challah, God as the sole authority of judgement, the futility of adopting the all-or-none principle in our lives, the messages we receive, the answers, decisions and fateful events hidden in unexpected moments which on the surface seem coincidences.
We have asked 10 participants from Turkey to share their impressions, discoveries and dreams.
Batsheva Viktoria Levi I have seen the rebirth and rise of the real Jewish woman in the modern world. The seminars, workshops and trips have provided us with invaluable information about the life and spirituality of women in a thought provoking as well as entertaining way.
One of the most striking aspects of this organization has been to see that everybody worked with selfless and ego-less devotion, doing their job conscious of their responsibilities, in a natural and modest way. The lack of hierarchy between the attendants and their attitude of being present only with the aim of doing their job has been a good lesson especially for us Turkish Jews. I saw that everybody who worked in this organization was aware of his/her responsibilities and fulfilled them with a smile, with satisfaction and also having fun.
Batya Betty Halegua This program not only brought together Jewish women, sisters, wives and mothers, but it showed every one of us our individual uniqueness and singularity. We learned and progressed together and we also witnessed the occurrence of one another’s changes during the journey. We saw the importance of women in the Jewish family. We lit Shabbat candles towards the Kotel and we sang and danced in front of the Western Wall (Wailing Wall). We have been accommodated by a family who welcomed us into their homes and into their hearts.
The Havdala after Shabbat was done with a guitar-playing and singing rabbi who looked rather like a pop-star. We held hands and became part of a big circle. 400 women danced with joy as if they were in a huge Bat Mitsva.
With its clever and appropriate selection of historical sites, lecturers and topics, The JWRP Women’s Tour has been a very special and inspiring experience of Torah, dance, music, fun, food, travel, making us dance and think and dream.
Dalya Valansi In this extraordinary journey of self-development, our minds and bodies were elevated to incredible dimensions and were informed in such a wonderful manner about our potential of being sources of light for our families and our environment as women and mothers. I would strongly advise all Jewish women to take this trip. To be part of an excellent team who engraved the principles of the Tora and the meaning of being a Jew on the deepest parts of our soul was the most extraordinary experience of my life!
Dorit Adötoledo You are the King’s daughter! This sentence assumed new meanings with all I have experienced and shared this week. The common point of 400 women of different cultures, colors and languages united hand in hand as one heart was God, the Tora and the earth.
For a week we 10 precious, colorful and joyful women not only discovered new places, experiences and people but we also supported each other in our individual internal journeys and we covered a lot of distance. I came back with very special moments and memories in my pocket.
Ester Sason I think its name does it justice, it is a revolution like the Renaissance. 12 countries, 400 Jewish women. Their countries, the languages they speak, the cultures that influence them, their clothes, their tastes are completely different and the only thing they share is their “Tora”, a possession they have had for thousands of years. If we lose the values and rules which bind us together, we may be witnesses to the slow annihilation of a race that for thousands of years has managed to survive despite all obstacles. Momentum, which took off with the motto “Don’t stop me now”, introduces us to a perfect construct by projecting the joy of the Jewish culture through dance and music, the wisdom of religious teachings through prayer, traditions and miracles, and the heroic stories of the infrangible Jewish lands through visits to historic locations, cities, fortresses and tunnels. I am not the old Ester any more and I never will be. And believe me, this new Ester is really something!
Etel Samrano Cemal This trip is a miraculous project about Jewish women, how to love ourselves and how to adopt a positive approach to our spouses, kids and everybody around us and it teaches all in a thought provoking as well as entertaining way. We learned that in a world that presents various difficulties in all areas of Judaism, we can overcome all problems by joining forces.
Levanah Luna Bildirici Each moment of this trip has lit a spark in our inner potential. For seven years the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project has been helping women to discover their hidden feelings, concealed identities and repressed pasts.
Canadian tv personality Adrienne Gold who has her own show on tv took the golden heart and colorful soul of the media world and joined us at JWRP. A woman from Brooklyn, Esti, showed us an excellent example of a unique mother like a symbol of Sara, Rifka, Rahel and Lea and she not only gave hope to orphaned kids but she also empowered the mothers.
We saw how a Rav can be one of us. The soul’s hand that reaches out to the body has been transported to a totally new dimension with the “Joy of Dance” and the motto “don’t stop ne now”. Our history and our holy places have assumed new meanings in the words of wise people who have presented everything with grace and their soft hearts.
Think about a woman who is so human that she gives her kidney to somebody she doesn’t even know, advises us that to love means not only to give but to perceive that we love, to be always tolerant, not to be judgemental, not to meddle in God’s judgement and that nothing is ruled by the all-or-none principle. She advises to be hungry for knowledge and to never abandon the pleasures of life. Our Lori told us that everything that starts with a dream must be supported and that God doesn’t make mistakes. We too have dreams and a will to work.
Sarah Nahmiyas Imagine a tree of wisdom. All its branches are laden with human dreams, dilemmas and questions: all question marks regarding health, marriage, family, kids, the future, traditions, existence, non-existence, ego, selfishness, the creator and the created.
400 women, whose sisterhood bond consisted only of being Jewish and the Tora, picked a branch from this tree and appeased their hunger and thirst. We came back home in a blend of pride, sadness, knowledge and wisdom.
► Shoshanna Suzette Koenka A project that teaches and makes you feel all dimensions of womanhood in such a beautiful way including spirituality, marriage, motherhood, joy, individuality and the benefits of all these for the Jewish nation. Wonderful moments that made us perceive all dimensions of Judaism, the land, the traditions, the fight, the holiness and oneness together with participants from all over the world.
► Shoshana Tanya Yanni We started the tour saying ‘our aim is constant self-development and improvement” and we continued our journey with the ‘Happy Mother Happy Family’ philosophy.
I had visited this country many times, but this time I travelled with very different feelings. 400 women from 18 different countries, we couldn’t speak the same language but we were united through songs in Hebrew and hora dances, feeling very deeply that we were parts of a whole. We tried to learn and embrace a bit more about our deep inner identity and our Jewishness. I enjoyed immensely taking part in this wonderful tour full of history, culture, religious teachings and of course, lots of outings and entertainment. To be nurtured with the fruits of the Jewish education has been a real pleasure.