This year, regular summer sessions are taking place at Beit Bnei Rachel Walled Complex at the Matriarch Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, in the merit of the beloved Mother Rachel, called "Mame Rochel" and "Rachel Imenu" by generations of Jews who longed to reach her grave.
Now that Jews are privileged to be able to go to the tomb, it remained only to fill the visit with Torah content in addition to the prayers that keep the site filled with supplicants all day, every day. The Rachel's Children Reclamation Foundation (RCRF) has now seen to that.
The following is an overview of the varied and interesting lecture series at the complex this summer:
"Mondays with Adassa" is given in Hebrew at 10 a.m. and is for women only.
On Wednesdays, scholar and author Atara Gur speaks from 11-12 a.m. in English.
On Thursdays, Rabbi Shimshon Nadel gives a lecture series in English at 10 a.m. followed by Yehiel Israel MFT Clinical Social Psychologist at 11 on "Tehillim Therapy". At 12 noon, Chana Yaffe relates inspiring tales of the great Hassidic Masters.
For those who wish to have a meaningful and tasty evening at Rachel's tomb, Dov Shurin performs his famous biblical lyrics on the guitar on Thursdays from 7-10 p.m. There is an open mike, and wine and cheese supperette.
Special lectures take place on selected Thursdays, and include:
Thursday, August 2 at 4 p.m., The Bostoner Rebbe, Rabbi Mayer Horowitz on “Renewal After Completion -- How to Praise the Siyum HaShas and its Effect on Us.”
Thursday, August 9 at 4 p.m., Rabbi Dr. Joseph Klausner, Yedidyahu on "The Biblical Tradition of Consolation: Nechama for Rachel is a Metaphor and Imperative for the Jewish People”
This lecture is dedicated in honor of Yehonatan and Esther Pollard
Thursday, August 16 at 4 p.m., Rabbi Hanoch Teller tells us “How to Have a Good Fight.”
Men and women are invited to attend and can arrive by private transportation or via Egged Bus #163.
Queries about family celebrations, a Cohain Minyan on Monday and Thursdays are welcome and Shabbatons are also possible. For more information, firstname.lastname@example.org 054-224-2649 www.theracheltear.blogspot.com.
The complex was the scene of a three day symposium starting on the first day of the month of Tammuz this year.
Evelyn Hayes, Founding President of Rachel's Children Reclamation Foundation (RCRF) and of the walled complex, recalled how Sir Moses and Lady Judith Montefiore did all their mitzvahs on the first day of Tammuz, the day of Rachel's son Joseph's birth and death.
It was the day they purchased Ramsgate and became the first Jews to purchase land, ending the laws against Jews owning land in England in 1831. They added the extension to Kever Rachel in 1841 on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz. The historical Montefiore door with the famous keys is now hard to find, due to the modern dividers.
Like Joseph, she said, the Montefiores were proud Jews, aware of their roots and realities and thus respected in the world, even knighted by the monarchy.
Hayes recalled the dedication of a Sefer Torah to Rachel Imeinu on the closed streets of Bethlehem 14 years ago that got Rachel's Tomb (Kever Rachel) to be open 24 hours a day, and the second Torah dedicated to the Beit Medrash there, also on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz seven years ago, that got the eighth bus running to Kever Rachel. This Torah Scroll was donated in memory of Reuvein Shlomo ben Yeshayahu a'H, the father of Lee Kaplan of Atlanta, Georgia who, with his wife Mindy, are strong supporters of Israel. Mindy joined the 5772 event.
Hayes told guests from Efrat who have been conducting Torah lectures at the complex in the memory of Sara Blaustein, HY"d, killed on the road from Efrat to Jerusalem in 2001. "The last time I saw Sara was Purim 2001 when we climbed atop Kever Rachel and took pictures of Beit Bnei Rachel, the house of Rachel's Children. We were both there on Purim to give shaloch manos to the soldiers", she reminisced.
This Rosh Chodesh shiur was given by Blaustein's daughter, Adena Mark, in her memory.