Masorti Olami News
In This Issue
Arson at Masorti synagogue in Arad, Israel
Community is the most essential condition for Jewish life
UN Holcoaust memorial week
36th World Zionist Congress - updates
Celebrating Tu BiShvat around the world
Rabbi Vernon Kurtz meets MK Ronnie Bar On
Masorti mission to Panama
Judy Gray Visits the Abayudaya of Uganda
Purim program ideas
Professor Eisen goes to Paris
Arson in Arad, Israel
Shira Chadasha, Arad
Following a break-in and damage to the synaogue (pictured) in late January, Arad's Masorti kehillah Shira Chadasha was a victim of arson on Feburary 8th. No one was hurt in the fire, which scorched the outside of the building but was extinguished before it damaged the synagogue within. Read the full story here.
"Community is the most essential condition for Jewish life"

Panama convention
This was the central theme in Masorti Olami President, Alan Silberman's speech to the 12th convention of the Union of Jewish Communities in Latin America and the Caribbean, which took place in Panama late last month. Click here to read the full speech.
UN Holocaust memorial week
UN Holocaust commemoration
The last week of January saw the UN host a number of events commemorating the Holocaust. Braving the snow in New York City, Mrs Gloria Landy participated in these events, and sent us a full report.
36th World Zionist Congress

The 36th World Zionist Congress will take place in Jerusalem from Sunday, June 13th to Thursday, June 17th, 2010. It will be followed by the Jewish Agency Assembly from June 20th to 22nd. For continually updated information about the Masorti Olami & MERCAZ Olami program, plus registration and hotel/travel arrangements visit
Masorti Olami projects are supported by
World Zionist Org
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February 2010  |  Adar 5770
Masorti kehillot celebrate Tu BiShvat around the world
Shabbat, January 30th was Tu BiShvat, and Masorti kehillot around the world took part in a wide range of activities and celebrations. For some, the weather affected their plans, but in most cases, Masorti kehillah members enjoyed tree planting and Tu BiShvat seders, with lots of fruit and wine. Tu Bishvat is an opportunity to discuss our relationship with nature and the environment, and many kehillot focused on this educational theme in their programs and activities. Click here for a full round-up of stories and reports from Tu BiShvat celebrations in Czech Republic, Argentina, UK, Spain, France, Uruguay, USA, Portugal and Brazil. Click here for a full photo gallery from these events. If you have a report or pictures from Tu Bishvat in your kehillah, please email Marcus Frieze.
Rabbi Vernon Kurtz & MK Ronnie bar On
MERCAZ Olami President meets MK Ronnie Bar On
Rabbi Vernon Kurtz, President of MERCAZ Olami met Kadima Member of Knesset and Former Finance Minister, Ronnie Bar On earlier this month. The meeting gave Rabbi Kurtz an opportunity to give Mr Bar On (now head of Kadima Olami) an update on the world-wide Masorti movement. The pair discussed ways for MERCAZ Olami and Kadima to work more closely together, and to ensure alignment between the two parties on issues of religious pluralism both in Israel and in the Diaspora. The forthcoming World Zionist Congress was also discussed, and ways to ensure that the position of both Kadima and MERCAZ is strengthened for the next 4 year term.
Mission to Panama
Masorti Mission to Panama
10 people participated in a recent Masorti mission to Panama which included Shabbat with Masorti Congregation Kol Shearith Israel. Founded more than 130 years ago, this kehillah is very active in Panama City, and has a very strong core of members who regularly attend services. FJMC arranged for Yom HaShoah candles and mezuzzot to be donated to the kehillah. Amongst the participantד on the mission was Ernie Smolen from Highland Park, Illinois and he sent us a full report - click here to read it.
Judy Gray reAbayudayaports from Uganda
Masorti Olami's Judy Gray visited Uganda recently to spend time with the Abayudaya - a tribe of practicing Masorti Jews. She helped them with the planning of their First Youth Convention, which saw more than 180 Jewish youth come together to discuss a range of issues important to their lives. In her full report, Judy tells us that although their lives and lifestyle may be very different from Jews in North America, South America and Europe, the issues for these young Jews are just the same - Jewish knowledge and identity, intermarriage and career choices. For a deeply fascinating insight into the Abayudaya, read Judy's report and see the pictures she sent from her trip.
Celebrating Purim
Programs for Purim
As the excitement builds for Purim which is only a few weeks away, we wanted to give you a few good sources of program ideas to use in your kehillot events. Aside from hearing the megillah and dressing up, Purim traditions include sending gift baskets, giving to charity and being merry. But why not bake hamentashen, have a discussions on the significance of the characters in the megillah, or even try a Purim seder ! Try looking at Purim ideas on the WZO website, or the USCJ website, or click here for a huge list of Purim ideas in a variety of languages. Also have a look here at Rabbi Luciana Pajecki Lederman of Comunidade Shalom in Sao Paulo's article on why "Playing is a serious business" at Purim. We would love to hear about what activities you did run on Purim, so please send reports and pictures to Marcus Frieze ( in the first week of March.
Professor ArnoldProfessor Arnold Eisen Eisen visits Paris
Arnold M. Eisen, one of the world's foremost experts on American Judaism, and current chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, recently visited Paris, and spent Shabbat with Masorti kehillah Adath Shalom. Professor Eisen gave a vibrant and informative speech on Friday evening about the significance of Masorti Judaism and JTS, and participated in a Judaism as a civilization academic conference a few days later. Adath Shalom member, Héléna Fantl wrote a full report here.
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