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From the Shadow of the Shoah to the Carlebach Moshav

Leah Sand, organizer of the Passover Moshav Country Fair talks about how she left Holland in the shadow of the Holocaust for Israel.
By Ben Bresky
First Publish: 4/14/2014, 2:44 PM

Moshav Country Fair 2013
Moshav Country Fair 2013
Photo: Ben Bresky

Moshav Mevo Modiin will host its biannual Moshav Country Fair over the intermediate days of Passover. The small agricultural community was co-founded in the 1970s by legendary Jewish musician Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, and many of his students - who still live in the neighborhood - will play the spiritual guitar-based music he was known for. Children's activities will be held as well.

One of the organizers, Leah Sand, spoke to Arutz Sheva's Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast about the event and her own personal connection to the music of Rabbi Carlebach. 

For the full interview click here

"It's so exciting to see the younger generation, enthusing about the new, young bands that are cropping up on the moshav. The latest is the Ben Shemen Forest Boys," she says. 

Other musicians will include Yonatan Nitsan, Menachem Ophir, Benyamin Teller, Jonathan Fialka, Pesach Stadlin, haMAKOR, Yehuda Leuchter, Gavriel Saks & Paradox Garden, BenZion Solomon & Sons, Gavriel, Naftaly & the Portnoy Brothers, Yerachmiel Ziegler & Ru'ach HaKodesh, Aryeh Naftaly & the Elevators and more.

"We all connected to Reb Shlomo, she stated, referring to the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. "Now we are just living our dream, which means we can be ourselves and live Judaism in happiness. Reb Shlomo opened up the little hole inside of our heart and showed us how beautiful Shabbat is, and how beautiful it is to be a Jew ,and opened the gates for the whole world."

Although Sand's father had met Rabbi Carlebach in Holland in the 1950s, she did not connect to him herself until after embarking on a journey of self-discovery. Born in Jerusalem, Sand's family returned to Holland where they lived before World War II. There, her father started a home for orphaned Holocaust survivors. 

"I grew up against the shadow of the Shoah above a very small shul in the center of Amsterdam," Sand explained, "and I wanted to make a beautiful world for the new generation." This desire led her to become a social worker in local prisons. 

She later went to Israel and met her husband, also a Carlebach student. In Jerusalem, she opened the first coffee shop near Jerusalem's now bustling Emek Refaim Street in the German Colony. "People said I was crazy because who wants to come down there? Thank G-d there are many nice restaurants today," she stated of the neighborhood transformation. 

But her desire for spirituality led her to England where she studied to become a rabbi. "But that is not for a woman to do," she stated. "So I organized Rosh Hodesh [new month] gatherings. A woman can feel at home - and that's OK - just to build an environment where you can feel at home." 

Today Sand runs regular monthly gatherings at the moshav and in other locations in Israel. She stresses the importance for women's self-esteem and a connection to tradition. A special women's tent will be held at the Moshav Country Fair including yoga, workshops, music and other activities taught by a variety of female teachers.

The fair will take place from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. on Thursday April 17th.

To download the full podcast click here.

For an article about a past Moshav Fair click here

Ben Bresky is a music journalist living in Jerusalem. He hosts The Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast interviewing a wide range of Jewish and Israeli musicians from Carlebach to klezmer, from hassidic to trance. For mp3 archives click here. For Facebook click here. For Twitter click here.