Dear Friend:

1) As the New Year 5770 begins we’d like to reflect on the growth and strength of our beloved kehilloh.

Led by Rav Yehuda Gans, shlita, we have approx. 60 member families in our Ramot-Yerushalayim location. His popular shiurim ranging from halocho to chumosh and to hashkofo, have earned him the respect of fellow neighborhood rabbonim and the כבוד from the shul members. It is not rare for many of our neighbors to come to a shiur and through that experience come to appreciate the rich Masoures Ashkenaz. (Some of the shiurim have been typed, and can be seen at this link)

Increasingly, bnei Ashkenaz visitors from chutz lo’oretz seek out our kehilloh for its warmth, rei’us and beautiful tefiloh. We have an open Shabbos invitation to any of our friends, as well as yeshivoh bochurim or seminary girls.

B’H our plans to build Beis Ashkenaz are alive. We are hoping to put together an initial package of $600,000 based on public and private funding to build the first stage. At this time, we are asking our friends to become supporting members for $1000. This payment benefits this important cause, and purchases your own seat on our new sanctuary. Join us as we build for the future on the highest hill in Yerushalayim! (A credit card form can be found at this link, see list of donors at this link).

Our influence has also spread to the corners of the globe. Our e-mail list goes out from Australia to Mexico. The forum participants hail from many different countries. We have about 400 topics and over 1300 posts. It is a thriving, happening site with an average of 20 new posts weekly. The measure of success lay not, of course, in numbers but rather in the lives we are effecting by connecting people more meaningfully with Avoudas Hashem. The Nusach project gets many hits, and we are hoping to start adding more recordings within the coming month.

2) In general Ashkenaz news, Rav Binyomin Shlomo Hamburger of Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz will be visiting the East Coast of the United States, IYH, in early January 2010. As of now he is planning to spend Shabbos parashas שמות, Jan 8-9, in Baltimore at Kehillas Ashkenaz (founded and run by a KAYJ member - Alexander Weil) and parashas וארא at Riverdale Jewish Center. There are still a few spots available for Rav Hamburger to appear during that time, but his stay is limited.

If you have any ideas where he could speak in the Mid-Atlantic or Tri-State area or would simply like to be updated on the itinerary, please contact (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ]. Drivers, hosts and local organizers will also be needed so please come forward

Remember, we are your “home away from home” when you come to Eretz Yisroel and genuinely want to welcome you!

B’virkas חתימה טובה,

The Gabboim