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Yahav Abels

The Netzach Israel Ashkelon Family

by Rabbi Don Levy

Okay, we shouldn’t descend into a state of despair in the face of the pandemic and the fits-and-starts general quarantines and limitations that we have faces in the past year…but I know that some of us have tended to. I know that I have from time to time, despite my intellectually grasping that it doesn’t help one iota. So, at such times, it is nice to have an ‘excuse’ to celebrate a joyous occasion. And the Abels family has provided one, in that their son, Yahav, is about to become a bar mitzvah and will celebrate the occasion this week with us at Kehillat Netzach Israel.

To almost any member of our kehillah, the Abels family needs no introduction: they are not only long-time members but are among the most active families. Galit Abels has on more than one occasion served as darshanit, giving us a thoughtful d’var Torah on a Friday evening or a Saturday morning. Her other half, Marc, is equally supportive of the congregation. Galit’s parents, Haviva and Avraham Daniely, are among the senior members of Netzach Israel, and her brother, Shai Daniely along with his wife Gali and their brood, are also very supportive.

Yahav has seen his two older brothers stand up in our beit knesset and celebrate their b’nai mitzvah by reading Torah and Haftarah and leading parts of the service, and neither he nor his parents wanted the pandemic to stand in the way of his coming-of-age. And Yahav has had extra work to do. Because his American family was unable to travel to Israel to share the occasion, Yahav is going to read the entire weekday Torah portion on Thursday morning of his bar mitzvah week, in order to record the occasion on video to share with those who could not travel. But he’s also going to read a part of the parashah, as well as the Haftarah, on Shabbat morning to participate in the spiritual life of the congregation that will assemble here in Ashkelon.

Coming of age in a time of worldwide pandemic, Yahav has worked hard to stay focused and optimistic. He attends school at ORT Ironi Aleph where he’s in seventh year. His favorite leisure time activities are chess and playing board games with his family, where I have it on good authority that he manages to win most of the time – especially at Monopoly and Scrabble. For more active endeavors he likes snow skiing and has skied – in addition to Mt. Hermon here in Israel – in the French Alps and the Colorado Rockies. He also like water sports, including surfing and jet-skiing.

We wish Yahav well, as we do the entire Abels family upon this important occasion, and we wish for him a passing of the current situation so that he can continue to enjoy life and thrive with his lovely family and our community.