For the last 12 years, El Halev has organized the Circle of Strength Martial Arts Seminar for Women. Circle of Strength, as its’ name implies, is a celebration of female power in a warm, exciting and supportive environment.
For this, our “Bat Mitzvah” year, we are hosting a delegation of top female instructors from the United States and Europe. They will be joining us for
- Big Happenings in Jerusalem and the North featuring a number of classes for different levels and open to everyone.
- AND a series of self-defense seminars we are offering FREE-OF-CHARGE to a number of groups of less fortunate populations all over the country
Just in case there remains anyone out there who still wonders why the issue of violence prevention is so vital in today’s Israel, below you will find excepts from a recent article reporting that violence has become Israel’s number one social concern.
But right now, in honor of this special event, here the first in a series of GUEST POSTS from the people who are integral parts of The Circle of Strength.
P.S. Of course, as they say, “there are no free lunches” and , certainly, no free nationwide seminar tours. That is why we invite anyone who would like to join the Circle of Strength by helping make these seminars possible, to contribute what they can through our friends at www.israelgives.com.
Circle of Strength Guest Post
Judo: 3rd Degree Black Belt
Founder & Chairperson: El HaLev
So, my very first special training in the USA was a joint program with NWMAF and PAWMA in Olympia, Washington. I was a brand-new blue belt and I had never seen any other martial arts other than Judo and Karate. There were close to 500 women there! And I still remember them announcing, “…representing 89 different styles of martial arts!” That just blew my mind! Eighty-nine different styles of Martial Arts? Could that even be possible? My roommate and I were thrown together because we both had written “Kosher” on our applications and I guess they figured that it would be easier to let us work that one out together. It was love at first sight. Sensei Jill Shames and I began that weekend the beginning of an amazing friendship. Actually, it is so much more than that. We are family.
The following year, Jill e-mailed me that she was going to be making aliyah to Israel with her family. Before they even got on the plane, I said to her, “What do you think about organizing a Special Training for Women Martial Artists in Israel? We dragged Sensei Jaime Zimron into the threesome (who we also met in Olympia (who says there is no G-d?) and when Jill landed we went off to the Jerusalem Municipality where we met Raya Sonenfeld (then – Director of Sports for Women; now – El HaLev Board Member) and Amira Bar Shalom (then – Shotokan instructor; now – El Halev Director of Self- Defense Development (and Shotokan instructor)) and yes, they thought we were crazy! So, twelve years and thousands of women later, we can proudly celebrate our Bat Mitzvah year.
To me, the Bat Mitzvah celebration is not just about getting presents and the technicality of growing up (we know what real twelve year-olds are like). Rather, it is the time of transformation, the time at which we begin to learn about our social responsibility, our membership in the community of mankind and our need to think about others and share our skills, talents and resources. I have learned in training in the martial arts that you can become so self-centered and egotistical that it is hard to see what benefits there are in the “arts.” On the other hand, I have met some of the most humble and giving people I have ever seen, people whose lives have been dedicated to the spreading of knowledge, the sharing of skills, the encouragement and dedication to raising generations of good people through the true arts that they teach.
This year, El HaLev steps forward into its 12th year of sharing the excitement and beauty of strong women training together as equals and of making a social statement that we can and will defend ourselves if we need to. I bless the amazing women around me. May we share another 12 and another 12 until we reach 120 teaching, sharing, growing and raising generations of strong women together.
Poll: Violence more worrisome than corruption
Social Strength Index indicates concerns over growing violence, increasing worry about economic future…
11.16.09 / Israel News
Growing violence worries Israelis more than corruption and poverty. The many murder cases and violent incidents over the past year have made violent crime the most worrisome subject for Israelis, according to the 2009 Social Strength Index that will be presented at the Sderot Conference for Society…
The poll taken this year shows that 81% of Israelis think violence in society is the most concerning issue as opposed to just 73% in 2008. This bumped corruption out of first on the list of most concerning issues, though it did see a slight increase from last year’s 79% to 80% this year.
Poverty and the gap between rich and poor was ranked third on the list of worrisome topics with 79%, up from 61% in 2008. The continued struggle with the Palestinians is fourth on 2009’s list with 71% in 2009 as opposed to 74% on the previous year’s index.
Some optimistic figures were also registered. Some 62% of Israelis are proud of the State of Israel, as opposed to just 52% in the 2008’s index. Fifty-three percent of Israelis believe that the State will always protect them, up from 42% last year…
The 2009 Social Strength Index was measured during the month of October and is based on polls taken in November in the past five year. The polls are identical save for small differences in the makeup of the questionnaire. This year’s poll was carried out via telephone interview of 555 respondents making up a representative sample of the adult population in Israel. The interviews were conducted in Hebrew, Russian, and Arabic.