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May 31, 2007

Adventures in Eretz Yisrael: Southern Hebron Hills:Adura: Hachnassat Sefer Torah

Adura is a small settlement in the Southern Hebron Hills... you can see it circled on the map below:

According to its Hebrew Wiki entry, it was established in 1982 by the Nahal Brigade of the army. The Nahal Brigade was originally set up as a unit to combine army service with establishing communities around Israel. In 2002 Adura was stricken with a terrorist attack in which 4 of its members were killed and seven more injured.

Adura began as a secular/traditional community and over the years has become a mixed community with a number of religious families moving in. There are about 60 families currently living in Adura.

Moshe Burt, the blogger behind The Sin of the Expulsion blog, also has an important organization called The Sefer Torah Recycling Network.

This organization acquires old and unused Torah Scrolls. He raises funds and has the Torahs fixed up by qualified and expert scribes. He then finds an appropriate community in need of a Torah and places it there. On his website he says he has placed 11 Torah Scrolls in the past 12 years in needy communities. Since I know Moshe he has placed four scrolls. He has placed the last four in communities such as Shvut Rachel, Shirat Ha'Yam, Kever Rachel, and now Adura.

In April 2002, Adura was attacked by terrorists.

The "brave Arab 'freedom fighters(sic)' " infiltrated Yishuv Adura on Shabbos disguised as IDF soldiers. They first began sniping on the neighborhood from a vacant home on a high point of the Yishuv. Then they stormed into Jewish homes killing the occupants. A group of men attempted to come in back of the terrorists to surprise them. When they reached a clearing, they got the shock of their lives; they spotted men who they assumed, by their attire, to be chayalim. They called out to the men that they thought were IDF soldiers telling them not to shoot, that they were not terrorists. But the terrorists were disguised as IDF soldiers and opened fire on the group killing a young man and wounding another.

(the above is a quote from the website of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network)

Two months prior to that, another resident of Adura was killed in a suicide bombing in Jerusalem.

Moshe decided Adura would be the next location for the placement of a Torah, in memory of these five men. Today was the day.

We left Bet Shemesh at about 5:45 pm. We had about 2 busloads of people going from Bet Shemesh to join the residents of Adura and Moshe Burt in the celebrations. The buses used were reinforced (a.k.a. bullet proof) buses.

The reason for the need to be reinforced is because the Southern Hebron Hills is an area with many PA Arab settlements as well in very close proximity to the road. It is a common event to have stones thrown at passing cars, and even bullets shot. The road we travelled on is a road that was being prepared in one of the peace deals to be used for safe passage (i,e, so they could travel without having to go through checkpoints) for the Arab communities. Adura is right on the side of the road, putting it in a very precarious position.

Because the bus was a bulletproof one, the windows were very difficult to see out of. That means I was not able to see what we were passing...So the ride was about a half hour long. We get there about 6:15 and were taken to the community center which had refreshments waiting for us.

Adura is a beautiful little community. The view is phenomenal as it is completely surrounded by green hills. The climate is cooler than Bet Shemesh, as it is situated on a mountain at a higher level than bet Shemesh. As night fell, it was chilly in Adura, but when we got back to Bet Shemesh it was warm.

After davening mincha, the party began. There were three Torahs. One that was the new one being donated and another two that they already had. People came from some of the various settlements round, including some yeshiva students from the yeshiva in Telem, another settlement a few minutes away.

We danced with the Torahs through the community to an open area outside the shul. There we we entertained by a number of speeches from various people, including the Rabbi of Adura, the Rabbi of the shul in RBS, Moshe Burt, various council officials (from bet Shemesh and from the Hebron Regional Council, Secretary of Adura, relatives of the terror victims and Moshe Burt. These speeches (most of them were short) were interspersed with performances by the great choir Kol B'Rama of RBS who came along just to perform. There were also refreshments available. There were about 250 or so people there (my estimate). After all the speeches, we danced with the Torahs to the shul and placed the new Torah with the old Torahs in the Aron Kodesh.

Then it was back to RBS, just slightly late for my daf yomi shiur!


  1. Sounds like fun.

    Chaval; if I had known in advance, I would've gone. Guess it pays to stop by your shul more often.

    By the way, plenty of bullet proof buses have good visibility out the windows. Just depends how the bus has held up to use, if there are graphics on the outside of the bus over the windows, etc.

    My bus last Friday had a nice bullet mark right near the driver's window!

  2. A very inspirational story. I continue to be amazed at people's resilience through adversity.

    It sounds like a really joyous, life-affirming event.

  3. tns - these windows were not damaged from rocks and bullets, just not see-through because of haziness. maybe just caked too much with dirt from the rains and sandstorms....

    miz - these people live purely ideological lives and it is inspiring!


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