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Nahala (Inheritance) -Winter 2024

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ince October 7th, over 300,000 men across Israel have been called up for reserve duty, leaving behind their children and wives who remain aching for their return home. In the meantime, these families must find a way to live life to the fullest. Sadly, they are currently stuck celebrating very joyful holidays like Hanukkah without the father or husband being at home. His absence creates a most noticeable void in the household
on Sabbaths as the man of the house is traditionally designated to lead the family in the weekly marking and celebration of God’s creation of the world. Won’t you help give much needed love and comfort to these poor wives and children with a Shabbat meal?

 

Dear Friends,

Since October 7th, far too many of us in Israel have woken up to devastating news of a dear family member, neighbor or friend who has been killed.

In this Nahala edition, my professional and personal lives are intertwined, through my close friend and neighbor, Elad Ganut. On the morning of October 7th, oblivious at the time to the horrors unfolding in the south, we were both studying the Bible together just like we had done every other Sabbath for years. We had no idea whether Avia was safe, dead or kidnapped until we all learned the devastating news a week later that she had been murdered.

As Elad’s dear friend, I took Avia’s death very personally. Most of the photos in this Nahala edition were taken by me and capture much of the pain and sorrow of Elad and his family. A few weeks after Avia’s death, I organized a religious class in Avia’s memory. The darkness surrounding Avia’s death that night was mixed in with the joy of welcoming devoted friends. That very night, I was invited to a personal greeting of the Christian cowboys who came to volunteer in Israel.

My hope is that Elad’s story of resilience will help all of us to spread much more light in Avia’s memory. Thank you for giving us the power to constantly do more no matter the trials and tribulations.

Shalom from Samaria,

Shmuel Junger

The whole world turned upside-down for Elad Ganut, a devoted pioneer from the quaint town of Zufim in Samaria. On October 7th, his beloved oldest daughter, vibrant, kind-hearted Avia, was murdered by Hamas terrorists at the Nova party in southern Israel. A beacon of sunshine, Avia was known for her gentle spirit, her ability to bridge divides, and her passion for making others feel beautiful inside and out.

“Avia was such a sweet girl who was devoted to others and simply saw individuals for who they were,” Elad said, while choking up. “She lived a life brimming with love and connection, strengthening relationships between people, always seeking to include lonely people on the social fringes in a social gathering.”

In every endeavor she took part in, Avia radiated a spirit of help and encouragement. During her army service in the IDF’s Iron Dome unit, Avia trained and uplifted fellow soldiers. Seeing true beauty within everyone she met, Avia used her passion for cosmetics to help others feel as beautiful on the outside as they were on the inside. During her time working as a young waitress for two years, she brought smiles and warmth to many needing extra love.

At just 22 years old, Avia had already left an indelible mark on those around her. Her premature departure from this world left a gaping hole not only in Elad and his family but in the hearts of all who knew her.

Before her death, Elad had envisioned a bright future for Avia as a small business owner managing a coffee cart in Zufim. Avia, who viewed coffee as a token of love, was planning to use her experience as a waitress to spread love through coffee lifting up spirits and creating a special place for social gatherings in her small community that lacked such venues and stores.

“Avia was such a sweet girl who was devoted to others and simply saw people and individuals for who they were.”

The horrors of October 7th shattered those dreams. After the Sabbath had ended on that very black day, Elad, not knowing whether Avia had been murdered or kidnapped, embarked on a search for Avia. For a whole week, he and his family prayed for her eventual discovery and kept themselves occupied through acts of charity to soldiers and others in need. Sadly, on the next Sabbath, the painful news emerged that their beloved Avia was killed.

“We were grateful that we could at least bury Avia and have closure,” Elad reflected. “Unfortunately, there are still people who don’t know the fate of their missing loved ones, let alone the ability to bury them if
they are dead.”

Closure did little to ease the excruciating pain of loss for the Ganut family. Fueled by boundless love and Avia’s spirit, Elad transformed tragedy into purpose. He took branches from the massacre site and wove them around Avia’s tombstone, a symbol of enduring legacy. Avia’s tombstone bears the words of a Talmudic Sage who “saw an upside-down world” during a near death experience he had had in Heaven. Elad and his family relate that for them, they have also experienced an “upside-down world” in which unfathomable and abysmal wickedness took the life of their beloved Avia, leading them to bury their own daughter and sister.

Determined to preserve Avia’s dream and spirit, Elad established Aviola, a mobile oasis dispensing coffee, smiles, and laughter to communities far from the bustling life centers.

The Ganut family is seeking to support and strengthen Israeli society. Elad is moving forward with the vision of the coffee cart naming it “Aviola.” The initiative not only offers a token of love through coffee and tasty pastries but also entertainment booths and games for children.

“The Aviola project is essentially continuing Avia’s lifelong journey and perspective on life,” Elad said. “Aviola’s slogan, ‘just love’ in Hebrew, really encapsulates the atmosphere we want to provide others and for
anyone else in need of love and company.”

Beyond a personal tribute to his daughter and her legacy, Elad envisions “Aviola” to be a source of encouragement for the region. As a pioneer in the Biblical Heartland, he recognizes the importance of strengthening the communities in Judea and Samaria.

The Aviola Coffee Cart gives a “token of love” to women and children in the Biblical Heartland.

“While soldiers, reservists and security forces are working around the clock to protect the home front, we took note of the need to address the home front where residents are dealing with unique challenges relating to security,” Elad said. “Without a strong home front the frontline is vulnerable.”

“Due to the war, countless small towns in Judea and Samaria are now filled with mothers and children who are without their husbands and fathers. By giving them the encouragement and emotionally uplifting support that they need, we are strengthening the home front.” The coffee cart Aviola has been making its rounds throughout Judea and Samaria, ensuring that mothers and children in isolated communities can experience a fun and joyful atmosphere outdoors.

But Elad doesn’t stop there. His longtime dream was to strengthen the Homefront by establishing an agricultural and educational farm in the Jordan Valley. The tragic murder of Avia has made him more motivated than ever before to plant as many seeds as possible to secure the most prosperous future for the Land and People of Israel. This dream is now becoming a reality as a tribute to Avia and a way to strengthen the backbone of Israel’s security. CFOIC is ready and willing to partner with Elad in this effort.

Elad is profoundly grateful to all the sincere Christian friends who partner with CFOIC in the Biblical Heartland. He is especially thankful for their outpouring support during this painful and challenging time. “I have witnessed how the support of our Christian friends has contributed to strengthening of Jewish presence in the region, helping develop the building blocks for thriving communities in Biblical Israel in fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.” 

Solidarity Through Direct Action

After Israel suffered its most horrific massacre since the Holocaust, most airlines cancelled flights to and from Israel. Tens of thousands of frenzied tourists were left to figure out escape routes from a country that had suddenly plunged into war.

After October 7th, hardly anyone dared to travel to Israel, other than the tens of thousands of Israelis who were returning home to join the IDF. So, when on November 6th, four cowboys stood in line to board a flight to Israel at Kennedy Airport in New York, they became the focus of attention. Why, when others sought escape, were these rugged men boarding a plane for a war zone? Their answer, simple yet profound, echoed through social media: “We’re here to help Israel’s agricultural sector in a time of desperate need.”

A photo of these four brave heroes standing in line to fly to Israel was posted on social media platforms and went viral within mere hours. Suddenly, the four cowboys, Luke Hustlar of Arkansas along with John Plocher, Yosef “Yoss” Strain and his brother Ezekiel Strain from Montana, all of whom hailed from humble backgrounds, became honorary celebrities.

Cowboys receive a warm welcome to the Biblical Heartland from Shmuel.

The war has brought Israel’s agricultural sector to a crippling halt. Countless foreign workers departed, and hundreds of thousands of Israelis were called up for reserve duty. Crops languished, threatening the very lifeblood of the land. The cowboys, unfazed by the looming danger, stepped in.

Each of the cowboys put their lives on hold to help fill some of the void. They rode in, not with weapons, but with unwavering faith and unwavering love for the People of Israel. They chose to stand on the frontlines, not of battle, but of the Homefront. In the shadow of conflict, they planted seeds of hope, tilling the fields with sweat and solidarity in the Biblical Heartland.

Thank YOU!!

We have received this thank you letter from HAR GILO for our contribution toward their security needs.
But you, our donors and supporters, are the ones who really make it all happen. The thanks belong to you!

Dear friends from CFOIC Heartland,

On behalf of the residents of Har Gilo, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to you, our Christian friends across the world, for your unwavering commitment to bolster our community in the security realm.

Your significant contributions have enabled us to enhance our security, providing our residents with a better sense of comfort for our residents. We have managed to upgrade our surveillance camera system for one section of Har Gilo, and thanks to your continued help, we are already in the process of doing the same for the rest of the community.

Despite the geographic distance, each of us feels your love and empathy for our community and the Jewish people at large. There are no words to express the level of appreciation we have for you.

We also thank Shmuel Junger, not only for his wonderful leadership but also for giving us the opportunity to be partners and friends with you. We will be more than happy to host you as precious guests here in our lovely community of Har Gilo!!!

We wish you, along with all of us, unending success, prosperity and health!

With love and thanks,


Harel Avrahami Administrator of Har Gilo;
Leah Peleg Chairperson of Har Gilo’s Board;
Rachel Ben Asher & Har Gilo Board Members

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