Shabbat Shalom

Psalm 25:4-7

Make me know your ways, o Lord,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth, and teach me;
for you are the God who saves me,
my hope is in you all day long.
Remember your compassion and grace, o Lord;
for these are ages old.
Don’t remember my youthful sins or transgressions;
but remember me according to your grace
for the sake of your goodness, o Lord.

Shabbat Shalom from Putti Village

Happy Hanukkah to one and all!

“We hope you had a wonderful Hanukkah this year, the Puttis certainly did”

Spread the Light!

Hanukkah, the History, the Celebration, the Lessons

During the time of the second Temple, the Holy Land was ruled by an oppressive regime.
The ruling dictators, supported by the Greek empire, suppressed the Jewish religion, persecuted the faithful, and even set up idols in the holy temple in Jerusalem…!

It was Mattityahu the Maccabee and his five sons, from the priestly tribe, who rose up and drove the dictators from the land.  Each year, the Hanukka lights remind us of the great miracle that a small band of Jews defeated a mighty army.

Another miracle that is remembered annually is the miracle of the oil.
According to legend, all the sacred oil, necessary to light the Menorah (the candelabrum) in the temple, had been made impure.  Only one jar was found which contained just enough oil for one day. The Maccabean liberators nonetheless lit the Menorah but low and behold, it lasted for eight days! Thus the eight days of Hanukkah!

Hanukkah reminds us that, even though darkness often seems to prevail in this world, and it may be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, there is always hope and life is filled with miracles, breakthroughs that happen at all odds.  Nowadays, is not a celebration of a military victory, but a time to rejoice in the delicate little lamps and candles that shine in the darkness, sparks that we can light to chase away the darkness.   We eat and get together with friends or family, we give presents and share with others.  And that’s when we experience that happiness, joy and faith have the power to overcome negativity.

By adding an additional candle each night for eight days, as with each night our light becomes stronger, we charge ourselves, and we learn to see God’s miracles, then and now.

With best regards,

Sjimon R. den Hollander

What is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah (Chanukah) means “rededication” and is one of the most important and significant periods in the Jewish calendar. This Festival is often known as the Festival of Lights.

This year, Hanukkah started on the evening of Sunday December 6th. During this Festival, it is traditional to give gifts to one another. Putti Village Assistance Org. (PVAO) thought, what better way to start the Festival, than to give each family living in the Putti Jewish Community, a life saving mosquito net. These nets will undoubtedly help the Community to combat the unseasonable current malaria outbreak which is affecting every family in Putti. Children and the elderly in particular, are at most risk. We need to buy many more nets so we can ensure everyone is given one. No-one needs to die, nor fall seriously ill – mosquito nets will hopefully ensure that does not happen. For every $10 donated, we can buy a specially coated net for maximum protection. Our goal is to raise $750 by the end of the year.

Please help us by donating to this cause. Click the donate button to make a donation with paypal.

Happy Hanukkah to one and all!

Take a Stand Against Malaria in Putti Village.


As the U. S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports a high risk of contacting malaria in Uganda, it is not surprising that Putti Village recently experienced a rampant increase of malaria cases. Accordingly, PVAO has set malaria prevention and case management as a high priority.  

The World Health Organization considers mosquito nets coated with Permethrin–one of the world’s safest insect control products–to be the gold standard for malaria control. Mosquito nets are prone to develop small holes. Untreated nets thus become useless in a few months and must be replaced. Treated nets remain effective for several years.

Accompanying pictures in this article show Putti villagers receiving their first distribution of lifesaving treated nets funded by PVAO. The need is great for additional nets to protect all families in the village. Can you help?

Please consider donating to the PVAO’s Medical Fund. Money goes to buy treated nets which prevent the spread of malaria and to buy medicines for those village members who have malaria and have received prescriptions from the local clinic.

As we light the Menorah this Chanukah holiday, let’s consider a gift to lighten the load malaria has brought to so many village families. Your gift for treated nets helps to save lives. 

Please help us by donating to this cause. Click the donate button to make a donation with paypal.

Shabbat Shalom

Zechariah 4:6

 Then he answered me, “This is the word of Adonai to Z’rubavel: ‘Not by force, and not by power, but by my Spirit,’ says Adonai-Tzva’ot

Shabbat Shalom

A sucessful trip to Israel

Joel Beatti visits Israel

Joel Beattie and Rabbi Riskin in Israel

Joel Beattie and Rabbi Riskin in Israel

Just wanted to report on a successful and safe trip to Israel. The tour that I was on kept us busy non-stop for 12-14 hours every day. There was little to no free time while I was in the land. I had a fantastic phone conversation with Ari Greenspan, and also Menachem. I also received voice messages from Ari Zivotofsky, but was unable to meet with them. Interestingly enough, one evening at the hotel in Jerusalem, our tour had scheduled a guest speaker, and unknown to me, ended up being Rabbi Riskin. Afterwards, I was able to put 2 and 2 together, and introduced myself. We were able to spend a few precious minutes conversing and getting to know each other. We felt as though it was a divine appointment. And I was thoroughly blessed. Not to mention, he gave a fantastic lecture on the meaning of Sukkot along with the connection between creator and creation. This was the first time to Israel, and the trip was extremely impactful. As the saying goes, “Next year in Jerusalem”

Chag Sameach!


Blessings of Arrival – Blessings of Rain

Here much have been lectured about the miracle of Purim by many different, Rabbis. We have been answering and revising questions about the upcoming festival of Purim. We are glad to inform you that all this work has been done in Hebrew. Thanks to Rav Menachem Weinberg. We are looking forward to finishing more text about the complicated verses in the Megilah by Rav Yair Spitz next week. I am very anxious to know the fact King Ahushverosh knew that Esther was Jewish, that is why he chose for a queen. Rav, I can’t wait long to learn that.

Rain DropsWe have a belief in Uganda that when a visitor comes into one’s home and eventually it rains, it is a sign that the visitor has come with a blessing to one’s home. Therefore, the host becomes very happy for the visitor. Now, Rabbi Riskin told us that Moshe and I are blessing to the Yeshiva and  Israel as a whole because our coming resulted into snow which has not occurred  in the past few months. We are thus very grateful. Although this snow has hindered us from traveling to Sfat North of Israel to meet a friend who has invited us for many times since we came, we like it very much. We are so excited!

It is very amazing to meet someone from the same village in a strange country. Last week two friends here, who had been to our village four years ago, abruptly visited us at our Caravan. We had fun together by playing old songs that we sung while they were in Putti. It was such a funny day.

Thank you so much to you all for helping us have this kind of experience in our lives which I pray that everyone in our village should have a chance. Moshe and I are very thankful. Thanks to Rabbi Riskin’s wife Vicky for constantly providing us with warm clothes and shoes. We would not withstand this coldness without your help. I wish you all a happy Purim Festival. It is good to drink but avoid getting very drunk on Purim for you may end up doing bad things.

Parking Tickets & Electric Trains – Miraculous!

It is been a very successful day for us. This morning, after Shaharis, Rav Yair picked us up from Yeshiva and drove us to Yerushalaim. On our way there he gave us two red apples that we had never had before since we come to Israel and of course, they are very expensive for one to buy in Uganda so people of low income don’t really buy them. He brought us cookies which I was familiar with for many days in Israel but had known how it is called. It was ‘Tayim’ a Hebrew word meaning delicious which we learned from him.

Parking TicketsWe finally got into the city packing yard in Yerushalaim. He told us that the machine at the entrance would count the time our car would spend in the packing yard so he needed to pay for the time before it could let us out. It was really amazing! We then moved into the interior ministry office and our visas were extended to October 25th of 2012.In office, there was a three colour painted picture on the wall. My mind was captured and I kept look at it because it looked similar with our Uganda flag (Red, Yellow and black colours) and the lady in the office saw that I was really impressed with her picture therefore, she told us it was her own painting! Perhaps I was the first person to admire her paint since she came in that office. We became friend there and then. We then walked out of the office with a big smile on our faces.

Rav Yair took us to the new city of Yerushalaim and there, we saw two electric trains. It was like a miracle for us to see those trains that do not exist anywhere in Uganda. We took pictures of us at Rehovot Yafo( Jafo Street), Ben Yehudah street and then went to Yamin Moshe, the first Jewish home outside of Old Yerushalaim which was built in 1862. It was such a lovely warm day for us in Yerushalaim. After that, he drove us back to our new home in Israel.

We are very happy to be here.

New Experiences – Most Historical Day in My Life!

Our first week in Israel had us exposed to strange and good things that we have never been into before. We experienced the new and strange cold weather which was only 5 degrees Celsius and had  new food, such as salads, meat, new fruits that isn’t found in our village of Putti. Thursday night, we were served pizza for Dinah. I liked it very much that I can now crave for it. I ate four pieces and kept some that I ate the next morning because the Yeshivah does not have classes on Friday so they do not provide lunch. Evening of our first Shabbat in Israel, we went to Rabbi Ari Greenspan’s house for Dinah. We met his friend , Mr. Baruch with whom they discovered the natural blue ink from a sea shell which they now use to make Techelet for tzitzit. In the morning after prayers, we all moved into Rabbi Riskins house for Shabbath lunch. It was such a beautiful Shabbath  for us! The following Shabbath ( Shmot) we were invited into Tikoa where our teacher , Rav Menachem Wainberg lives. He has a very nice family of four children who are good singers. We had too much fun with his children singing both Ugandan and Israeli Shabbat songs. It was very amazing Shabbat for us. He took us around the village and we were able to view the mountains of Moab. Glad to be here that we can see these holy sites that are written in the Tanach.

We are impressed with how the transport system works here in that you can get a lift from one place to another at zero price. I am so proud to be in a Jewish society like this one. We have invitations every week for a Shabbat meal.  The people here are very friendly. We like the care and hospitality that everyone shows to us.

New ExperiencesLast Sunday ,we (Yeshivat Torat Yosef Hamivtar) went on a tour of the old city of Jerusalem led by Rav Yair Spitz and Rav Menachem Weinberg. Our first stop was to see where the Old City wall of Yerushalayim was during both the first and second temples. Then we moved on towards the “Kardo” where Rav Yair explained to us the layout of Yerushalayim under Roman rule. We took a spiritual break at Beit Knesset HaRamban for mincha, niggunim, and a shiur on Iggeret Haramban by Rav Menachem. Afterwards, we had a guided tour to the recently rebuilt Hurva Synagogue and even saw the discovered mikvaot found underneath the building. Our same guide then showed us around the Kotel Tunnel and we were able to see the newly found rooms discovered only three months ago. As well we had a peek at the shul built opposite the Holy of Hollies. Finally we davened Ma’ariv at the Kotel and headed back home from an exciting tiyul in the Holy City of Yerushalayim. This was the most memorable and Historical day in my life. We had heard stories about the Temple before. Therefore, it was a very special day for me and I pray that my people in Uganda should also get a chance to move here and see how the Western wall was built. Baruch Hashem for bringing me here.

I will be back with more stories. Thank you so much for your support. We really appreciate.