Joseph Sherman, the “Friends of Amen” CFO in USA, wrote this story:





songs, memories, dreams and useful advice…



Changing the Face of Non-Profit

Is it a synagogue, a restaurant, counseling center, television studio or an art gallery? All of the above, according to Eliahu Gal-Or, director of Ohel Hana (Hana’s Tent) in Jerusalem. Gal-Or, director of the AMEN Agency, a Jerusalem based non-profit is changing the face of non-profits. In the morning the center will function as a synagogue and yeshiva, modeled on the famous House of Love and Prayer in S. Francisco, founded Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach of Blessed Memory. Eliahu Gal-Or, AKA Lightwave, AKA Luciano, AKA the Pizza Rebbe was its last co-director together with Rabbi Joseph Kuper in 1976, when the building was sold and the proceeds spent on one way airfare to Israel for the whole congregation coming to found Moshav Modiin in a disused Army base as an organic agricultural cooperative. In the afternoon the center focuses on suicide prevention counseling. In evenings Ohel Hana functions as a restaurant offering free and reduced price meals to needy people offset by the profits from regularly priced evening meals, hosting also local artists, exhibitions and lectures.

Eliahu is an inventor and futurist whose life is often so far ahead of the masses that he has always found it hard to be taken seriously without being rich; A case in point is when he invented a pocket video camera-monitor combination in 76, the year in which he also exhibited an Internet Café, the world’s first, at the Museum of Conceptual Art in S.Francisco; he went to Israel to develop fiber optic holographic transmission, but loans the Jewish Agency promised him never came and that technology eventually was developed by others.

At age 16 he studied bio-energetics and mass psychology in his native Napoli with Ola Raknes, a disciple of Wilhelm Reich, but already left formal schooling at 12, after seeing his homebuilt TV set function, to produce handcrafted UHF tuners and when he had enough money bought a camera to become a news photographer at 14; at the time there was no way in school to get where he wanted, since his mother had already taught him to converse fluently in five live languages plus Latin and Greek. Then he went on the hippie road, volunteering at Rock Festivals in crisis intervention, never giving any bad trippers Thorazine, just talking them back down from the bad part of the trip.

Eliahu developed a system of hydrotherapy and power exercise called “Ballastics” with which he fully rehabilitated his car-crash shattered wrists in ’73, eventually patenting the tool and getting it recommended by Wingate Institute in ’87; he showed it around the world but never mass produced it for lack of financing; now a device based on the same principle is available on the Web, but Eliahu chooses not to sue the producers, believing that the world is big enough for everybody and knowing that if they eventually sue him he has the evidence to win the case and keep on producing his own, much more versatile device. In the meantime he has designed a whole set of water equipment meant to rehabilitate trauma and accident victims, and is writing a handbook for his kind of massage/exercise, after publishing it he plans to travel the world for a year promoting his system.

He is a most complete chef, and his pizza has been renowned in Israel since 25 years, along with his wine, goat cheese and homemade liquors. The Pizzeria in Me’Or Modiin is Milchig, and the one in downtown Jerusalem Fleishig, with fresh handmade pasta and Satellite TV; he plans to bring in a FTTH fiber optic connection and keep the place’s stage live 24 hours a day on the web ( with more fiber optics to be installed at the Kotel broadcasting live Bar Mitzvahs for US Cable TV community channels, and eventually to create a live wedding network by wiring Jerusalem’s banquet halls. Eventually satellite broadcast will be affordable, in the meantime there is youtube.

The idea is to create microbusinesses and employment, mostly done by telecommuting, but the TV and a tabloid newspaper, “The Jerusalem Straight” will provide hundreds of jobs for writers, street vendors, and media folk, while the little blind alley where Ohel Hana is located will become Jerusalem’s Painters’ street, like Rue Montmartre or Via Margutta. His http://www.shuk .net site will help market the art and the artists around the world, while state of the art reproduction technology will integrate the publishing aspects.

Eliahu learned about the Web from Marshall McLuhan in Toronto in 68, when he was a TV producer, about light and color therapy from John Ott, Video Art when Nam June Paik and Norman McLaren were starting to get known, and in Israel started creating his works soon, but was unable, as an Orthodox Jew, to find work in his field, so he farmed and made pizzas with his now ex wife, raising seven children, the 3 boys all front line soldiers and the girls doing National Service, while he had arrived to old at 32 for combat service, and had to settle for driving an Army truck four months a year until his 55th birthday.

Gal-Or believes in integrating science, arts and Torah, seeing them as interrelated rather than contradictory. His unique methodology is aimed at assisting people through personally relevant techniques and therapies. For example, one case, which we will call Sarah, came into the center nearly at the point of a nervous breakdown. After learning that Sarah used to play with clay as a child, Ohel Hana counselors formed clay creations while talking through several issues. This very successfully assisted Sarah in resolving her home and work life issues.

The Beit Midrash is the venue of group encounters, psychodrama and collective art creations, and the main focus is on preventing , besides suicide, those divorces which are caused by insolvency and meddling by however well intentioned, incompetent friends and (un)civil servants; after his own painful divorce experience, Eliahu decided that if he could help it, he would not let that happen to anybody else and especially their children as long as there could be found a way to financially and intellectually rehabilitate the couple and help them revitalize the love which had gotten them together in the first place.

Gal-Or is deeply inspired by the teachings of Rebbe Shlomo Carlebach. As a co-director of the House of Love and Prayer in San Francisco later as a founder of Mevo Modiin, “the Carlebach Moshav” in Israel, and of JAGUAR in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, , he was instrumental in the application of his Rebbe’s teachings in the non-profit sector. So far, Eliahu has been financing Ohel Hana with his own private income, but now it has outgrown his resources, and he is seeking additional help; since he is not a rabbi or even looks like one, he has not found easily public resources for his project and relies on those who are bold enough to see beyond letters of recommendation into the holiness of the task he has chosen. He needs desperately a van, if possible an ambulance, a serious pledge of rental for at least a year for an industrial unit which can house 20 workstations, two furnished apartments in different buildings, to function as hostels for the half of the couple who has been kicked out from home by his/her mate, and food, clothing, working tools and computers for his agency’s clients.

A California charity, “Friends of AMEN”, has been registered to provide US tax deduction for contributors; checks should be made out to this name and sent to Guaranty Bank, Austin, TX>>>>>; all questions addressed to <> will be promptly answered by Eliahu Gal-Or, who will also gladly meet in person any potential contributors while they are in Israel. Eliahu’s Cellphone N. is 054-9059329.