Jews Continue to Move to, and Celebrate in, Gaza

One of the over 600 Jews to move to Gush Katif in recent months, Pesach Aceman, 63, originally of Vancouver, talks about his move. Sunday will see a gala Torah Scroll celebration in N'vei Dekalim.

, | updated: 18:13

“I had been entertaining the idea for a while,” Aceman told Arutz-7’s Ezra HaLevi, “but I finally made the move on the 1st of March.”

The retired widower made the move just in time. The IDF announced Friday that no new Jewish residents will be allowed to officially move to Gaza ahead of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to uproot the Jewish communities there. New residents continue to flow in, however, but are unable to change their address on their ID cards.

A "Hachnasat Sefer Torah" celebration is scheduled for this Sunday afternoon, in N'vei Dekalim, in Gush Katif. The arrangements for finding the Torah Scroll and bringing it to its new home were made by Moshe Burt of the Sefer Torah Recycling Network. Buses will be leaving from Beit Shemesh in the mid-afternoon. For more information, click on the above link.

Gush Katif residents continue to renovate homes in an effort to make room for the influx of new residents. For more information click here.

“I knew I wanted to help Gush Katif," Aceman said, "and my daughter and I had been tossing the idea around for a while. I applied to live in N’vei Dekalim, but no housing was available there. I made some more calls and found a place to rent in Ganei Tal.”

Aceman now lives down the block from the Mediterranean. He still visits his old community of Bar Yochai in northern Israel once or twice a week, however, in order to volunteer as a Saba Gan, a kindergarten grandpa. “I go there and share pictures of my childhood with the children, telling them stories and accompanying the class on trips, to help out,” Aceman said.

Pesach made Aliyah [immigration to Israel] in 1973, “for the first time,” he said. “We went back and forth for a number of years until a month before my daughter Rachel was born.” Aceman says he couldn’t imagine raising a child outside the Land of Israel. “Later, we came back for good.”

It was Rachel, now a teenager, who brought her father on the next stage of Aliyah. “I was a little nervous about the move,” Aceman said, “but Rachel turned to me one day and said, ‘If something is meant to be, it will happen wherever you are’ – and that was it, we knew we were moving to Gush Katif.”

Pesach brought two dogs with him to Ganei Tal – “mutts that people had thrown away,” he said. His daughter Rachel studies in the Shomron community of Elkanah during the week, but comes home for the Sabbath. “I love to go down to the ocean on Fridays, just before Shabbat, with my daughter,” he said. “Though we came to try out life here, I think when all this is behind us we will stay here for good. It has become home.”

When Pesach first arrived in Israel in 1973, he worked as a doctor for many of the secular kibbutzim (collective communities) in the Negev area bordering Gush Katif. These included those that have recently suffered Kassam rocket hits, such as Nirim, Nir Oz, Magen and Kissufim. Aceman recently went back to visit one of the kibbutzim in which he used to live. “I was blown away – they are truly sold on the plan,” Aceman said. “Even though they [already] have Kassam rockets landing in their fields, they insist they don’t want to be used as an excuse by the residents of Gush Katif against the government’s withdrawal plan.”

On the other hand, Aceman says, he is inspired daily by the strength and faith of those around him. “People are carrying on life normally,” he said. “Some are looking around, but most are convinced that there will be some major change that will lead to a positive outcome. Nobody is packing.”

Pesach continues to document his move to Gush Katif via a weblog on Katif.net’s English web site. He describes a visit to Ashkelon on his second day living in Ganei Tal:

”On the second day I was in Ganei Tal after the afternoon prayers (mincha) the Rav of the yishuv grabbed my arm and said come join us. I enquired into what, and he said that there were groups going into Ashkelon (about 45 minutes away) to distribute a disc that explains the history of Gush Katif, and also to hand out a gift of greens (green onions, mint, etc) to the apartment dwellers, from the farmers of Gush Katif. It is here that I got to meet the average Israeli so to speak. Some were enthusiastic and some were welcoming and received us warmly and some just said, 'Thank you,' and there were some who were indifferent. It was an eye opener for me, as I always have the idea that people are concerned. It is not the political bent of a person that is important to me but that there is concern for our future. The soul of our nation is made up of the souls of the individuals I met that evening in Ashkelon.

”So I guess what I am trying to say […] is that to remain indifferent is to cut oneself off from that Jewish soul that has been around for centuries and has given our world so much. I personally say, daily, a prayer for our unity, and that we need help to prevent the dismemberment of our precious soul.”






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