Israel Portnoy – Musician/Songwriter

Israel Portnoy- Musician/Songwriter

Israel Portnoy was Born is Cheshire, just outside of Manchester (UK) into a Musial family of 9 children. His parents were the Rabbincal couple of the local community of “Hale Synagogue”. From the age of 8, Israel could be heard leading the services at the synagogue and singing at wedding ceremonies. He began writing his own songs from as young as 6 years old and would record himself on cassette tapes. He initially started playing piano at around age 5 and at the age of 11 he discovered guitar after (as he puts it) his younger brother “overtook him on the piano”. At the age of 16 he moved to Israel alone initially to study in a Talmudical college and subsequently moved on to music school and cantorial schools. It was in Israel that he  formed a band with his brother Mendy, aptly named “PORTNOY” (also fondly referred to as “the PORTNOY Brothers”) and they have literally travelled the world together with their music.   Israel is a multi-instrumentalist as well as a Cantor and has has filled the roll as cantor in places as far and wide as New Zealand, Bratislava and Los Angeles. In May 2019, whilst living in “Moshav Mevo Modi’im”, a forest-fire wiped out his entire home and home-studio (complete with over 15 instruments and many recordings and lyrics, never to be seen or heard again).

Israel’s music style is deeply rooted in an eclectic mix of liturgical music, growing up on the bima in the synagogue and has since been influenced by everyone from the Beatles (particularly George Harrison) to Paul Simon and Eric Clapton. His writing style varies but there is an undeniable soul-drenched bluesy sound in most of what he performs. Since moving to Israel, has also enjoyed soaking up the colours of modern Israeli music. He is a versatile musician and can be seen effortlessly appropriating his repertoire to the crowds’ specific tastes.

Efrat Shitrit- Confectioner & Chocolatier

Efrat Shitrit is a confection baker and chocolatier. After studying baking in Hadassah College, she worked as a private baker and caterer. Five years ago, Efrat opened her own business called “Sameach BaMitbach” (Happy in the Kitchen) bringing the fun and excitement of baking and chocolate making to groups, homes and groups across Israel.

Over the past summer, Efrat served as the official baker for Camp Moshava in the United States, serving 1,400 hungry campers each day

Yahav Kriti – “Chef on Wheels”

                                              

Hi friends,
My name is Yahav Kriti, I’m married and the father of five lovely children, I’m a professional chef and owner of “Chef on Wheels”, which specializes in experiential and entertaining cooking shows throughout Israel as well as Jewish and Israeli communities around the world for the last fifteen years.

My cooking workshops teach about a wide variety of amazing food styles from around the world. Everything is done in a humorous and fun manner with lots of laughter, combined with entertaining tips and stories as well as audience participation. 

The end result is an amazingly delicious and fun Israeli culinary experience that everyone enjoys (and eats!)

I was honored to participate in two OTS Amiel BaKehila delegations last year, as an ambassador of Israeli food, bringing the joyful Israeli spirit to distant communities through food, colors, spices and smells that come out of the pots of the Holy Land … making everyone fall in love over and over again with Israel. Over the coming year, I will participate in three additional delegations to the United Kingdom and the United States.

During my recent visit to Ottawa, Canada, we held a huge Culinary Workshop for the wonderful community at the Machzikei Hadas Synagogue, all of whom were invited to prepare a joint Israeli meal. It was amazing and heartwarming to see how everyone prepared the sumptuous meal together. Adults who had difficulties cutting the vegetables were assisted by the youngsters next to them, all of whom rolled up their sleeves to chop, mix, season and cook together a delicious Israeli meal of fresh salads, squash, chickpeas, fried eggplant and bread with Za’atar.

In every journey and encounter with the communities, I felt the warmth, caring and togetherness of everyone I take pride in being a part of this people who always reach out, learn and give. I take it upon myself to give – to the communities.

around me and specifically to my own community in the city of Holon, in the Land of Israel.

It is exciting for me to fly to the other side of the world and to bring the wonderful flavors of the Land of Israel to the far-flung communities to build and maintain the amazing connection we built through food – with a serving of Israeli humor on the side.

Thank you OTS Amiel BaKehila for the amazing experience of visiting those wonderful communities.

OTS Amiel Bakehila Partner Profile: Deborah Jacubovsky – Actress, Singer, Dancer and Playwright

Deborah Jacubsky

I traveled to Israel for the first time on a study trip at the age of fifteen and felt an immediate and deep connection with the land of our ancestors, our present and future. Since then I understood that Israel would one day be my home. Following my Aliyah from Chile in 2012, I met my husband in Shuk Machane Yehuda and we have a wonderful son. Kibbutz galuyot!
I am a creative mind that dreams day and night. Within my itinerary of activities with the communities is “Soul Dance”, Theater, music and artistic workshops with Jewish content.

Soul Dance
Seven years ago I created a dance movement called “Soul Dance”. It is a circle of tribal Jewish dance that is composed of Afro Latin rhythms, song and prayer in motion. Together we create a dance that reactivates the lost or sleeping heritage of the Jewish woman and reignites traditions we shared in ancient times prior to 2,000 years of exile. This dance helps us connect with God, with ourselves, with the circle of women in brotherhood and with the natural cycles of the planet and our bodies.
Through this experience, we let go of fears, anxieties and conventions about what is beautiful and aesthetic. We let go of personal and collective judgments and concepts about coordination and rhythm in order to learn to listen to the movement of our souls. It is incredible for me to see the transformation of women from the beginning to the end of the sessions. It fills my heart to be able to share tools that encourage living a more conscious and meaningful life. These dances he us understand that we are warrior women who fight in an internal war, one that makes us better human beings, using all the wisdom that lives within our wombs.
Every time I shared Soul Dance, without exception, the women enjoyed and managed to connect in a way that they did not know and that many times did not think possible. On several occasions, women who did teshuva or converted to Judaism approached me, and with tears in their eyes, they thanked me because they have not felt that level of connection for a long time. For many, it is a gift to know that they can find a way to express themselves, dance and sing with holiness.

Theatre
Comedy is a very high form of healing for people. When the audience laughs collectively, it often ignores the fact that in addition to entertaining there is an even deeper phenomenon that is taking place. Laughter helps the person release endorphins, which in addition to relieving pain strengthen the ability of white cells to defend the body against viruses and bacteria. In short, laughter is both physical and spiritual medicine.
It has been a giant pleasure to be able to act for hundreds of people who have laughed out loud and also taken an important message to reflect. On these trips I have presented a monologue called “Bite The Tongue” based on the teachings of proper speech.

What has impacted me most has been the opportunity to meet the emerging communities that are made up of men and women who converted or are in the process – devoted and committed people of humble nature and exceptional values. They gladly receive the knowledge we share to feel closer to Israel, reaffirming the path chosen in the decision to live as Jews. It is inspiring and overwhelming.

To date, I have had the blessing and opportunity to travel to six countries and fourteen different cities with OTS Amiel BaKehila delegations. It has been an immensely rewarding experience for me on a personal and professional level.
My work brings joy, Jewish values ​​and empowerment on a personal and collective level. For me it is a blessing to be able to connect with the greatest number of people, listening to their stories and dreams, giving my support and maintaining connection with these people even at a distance. It is very inspiring and helps them feel closer to Israel.
Being able to represent Israel by sharing culture and spirituality with Jewish communities in the Diaspora is an honor and a huge privilege, and for that I feel grateful.
In November I will, God willing, be traveling with OTS Amiel BaKehila to Paraguay and Chile, the land where I was born. I hope to continue doing this beautiful and enriching work to continue connecting with the soul of those who live so far away but who are also part of our people.

We are creating indestructible bridges, from heart to heart.