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Roof Comes up at Ma'oz Tzur Synagogue, Harvest

Roof being fitted on the Synagogue.

(May 5, 6 2024) It has been over a month since the building of Ma'oz Tzur's synagogue began. The coming of the early monsoon rain has been quite a challenge since it can and has disrupted the progress of work to be done. It came to a complete halt when cyclone Remal struck the eastern part of India last week. Heavy rains accompanied by cyclonic winds wreaked havoc in the region bringing with it floods, mudslides and untold miseries. At least one B'nei Menashe home was swept away by a landslide in Aizawl, capital of Mizoram. Ma'oz Tzur was no exception to this severe weather phenomenon but thankfully, it was spared the damages the nearby surrounding areas had to endure. The synagogue stands on the highest point in the small settlement. The foundation is built of stone and concrete with wooden frames, chipped bamboo walls and red tin roofs. In keeping with the spirit of conservation, the material used are, as much as possible, locally sourced keeping in mind to have the minimum impact on the surroundings. Menashe Kipgen, the administrator has proudly told our newsletter no trees were felled for this project. He continued, "we consciously chose a spot where there would be no need to clear trees." Despite every challenges, the residents hope to complete the synagogue by Shavuot.

Ma'oz Tzur children show its bounty.
Wild mushrooms, a gift from nature.

In another encouraging development, some of the crops planted earlier this year were ready for harvest, yielding pumpkins, cucumbers, cabbages, coriander, onion, beans etc. "There is no joy greater than eating something that you have planted with your own hands", said Sara Haokip, a resident. These are small steps towards Ma'oz Tzur's eventual goals of self-reliance and sustainability both in terms of food and environment . Apparently, there are many others that grow wild that can be foraged from the land. Depending on the season, residents have a choice of various herbs (some claim to have medicinal values) that grow wild, plenty of bamboo shoots and even mushrooms. The best part about these vegetables is that they grow wild and hence organic in every sense of the word. Isca, another resident, tells our newsletter, "There is a certain aroma in these vegetables from the wild that makes it very special that no commercial grown one can ever equal. I am a child of these hills, I know it".



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