is proud to announce
the date for our annual Evening of Tribute
which will take place in New York, NY on
December 11, 2011.
This year we will honor: Rabbi Vernon Kurtz
of Chicago, IL,
Hazzan Alisa Pomerantz-Boro
of Cherry Hill, NJ
Dr Marilyn Wind
of Bethesda, MD.
Masorti Olami is proud to announce that Sociedad Israelita de Beneficencia de San Juan has joined FEDECC, the association of Masorti synagogues in Argentina. Located in the Western part of Argentina, this kehillah's closest Masorti neighbor is in Mendoza.
To see the kehillah on our map of kehillot around the world, click here.
NOAM UK graduate Emma Bowers travelled to Uganda recently and was moved by the ongoing Jewish experiences she shared with the Abayudaya community. In her article, she tells us that "The Abayudayan community allowed me to share in their spiritual expression of Judaism which seemed to be an old, authentic sense of Judaism in its purest form, made all the more special because of
the simplicity of the surroundings."
Read her full article here.
Masorti Olami projects are supported by
The World Zionist
I'm excited to report that the past few weeks have been filled with intense activity both in Israel and around the world. In Israel, our delegation of MERCAZ Olami and Masorti Olami representatives attended conferences and meetings. In Europe, two prominent Rabbis from Conservative synagogues in California were hosted by several Masorti kehillot, and were touched and inspired by the passion and dedication they saw.
These are just some of the many ways in which the worldwide Masorti movement is developing and furthering connections in order to foster global Jewish peoplehood.
Rabbi Tzvi Graetz
Our delegation to the Va'ad HaPoelLast week saw the end of a two-week period of intense meetings, conferences and learning opportunities that took place in Jerusalem. These included the President's Conference, the Va'ad HaPoel of the World Zionist Organization, and the Jewish Agency Assembly and Board of Governors. Our delegation to these events included almost 40 different volunteer leaders from Masorti/ Conservative communities in 7 different countries.
|MERCAZ Olami and Masorti Olami welcomed the entire delegation at an opening event on Wednesday, June 22nd, hosted by the Masorti kehillah, Shevet Achim, in the Gilo neighborhood of Jerusalem. During the evening, President of the kehillah, Reuven Stein gave greetings and Rabbi Professor David Golinkin, from the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, gave a presentation of the challenges of Zionism in the Masorti/ Conservative Movement, and Marion Mayman (Canada) and Marty Davis (Israel) received the very first MERCAZ Olami Awards for their dedication to the Zionist agenda in our movement.|
Pictured above right are Dr. Stephen Wolnek, Marty Davis, Marion Mayman & Rabbi Tzvi Graetz. For more pictures from this event, click here.
|The Va'ad HaPoel itself began on Thursday, June 23rd with a reception at the Knesset in the presence of Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Among the performers at the very enjoyable gala opening were NOAM Israel's vocal troupe, Shirat Machar, pictured right.|
For more pictures from this event, click here.
|Friday, June 24th began with a Shacharit service for our entire delegation, and was followed by a joint briefing with our coalition partners, Kadima-Hanoar Hatzioni. During the briefing, the combined delegation of more than 60 people discussed resolutions being put to the Va'ad HaPoel. Issues brought up in the resolutions were constitutional changes as well the Unity of the Jewish people, the role of the Settlement Division of the WZO and the importance for involvement of young people in the governance of the Zionist movement. The MERCAZ/Masorti delegation brought a resolution to oppose a suggested change to the Israeli ID card which may exclude certain non-Orthodox converts from being registered as Jewish. This resolution passed, and our hope is that the government will honor this so as to prevent upset and disunity among the Jewish people. For more pictures from this event, click here.|
|Throughout Shabbat, conversation on moving forward the Zionist agenda continued at the Va'ad HaPoel, and on Sunday, June 26th, the second week of meetings began with the Jewish Agency Assembly. The Board of MERCAZ Olami also met to review the past year's work and continue planning for the rest of this year as well as gearing up to the next Zionist elections. During the Assembly, resolutions were passed on issues of The Israeli ID card (as per the Va'ad HaPoel), support for greater environmentally sustainable practice, the release of Gilad Shalit - now captive for more than 5 years, and critical support for Israeli shlichim sent around the world. Pictured are Members of the MERCAZ Olami Board. |
|MERCAZ and Masorti delegates also had the opportunity to meet with Kadima MK, Eli Aflalo, and discuss his vision and directions for the KKL, of which he has been nominated to become the Co-Chairman. MK Aflalo talked about working hard to promote sustainability within the organization and the country, and made it clear that the global needs of the Masorti movement will be his top priorities at the KKL as soon as he fills the position. Pictured is Dr. Stephen Wolnek, MERCAZ Olami President, with MK Eli Aflalo. For more pictures from this event, click here.|
|The final event of this busy conference period was the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency. During these meetings, our movement leaders were elected to the following positions: Rabbi Vernon Kurtz as a Board member of the Jewish People Policy Institute as well as Vice Chairman of Committee for Russian Speaking Jewry; Alan Silberman is Vice Chairman of the JAFI Insurance Committee; Dr Steve Wolnek is Chairman of the Israel Engagement sub-committee for Israel Advocacy; and Dr David Breakstone is Chairman of the Small Communities Committee. These appointments put our movement in a strong position to ensure equal and fair funding as well as to secure the furthering of our Jewish Zionist agenda.|
US Conservative Rabbis visit European KehillotLast week saw the end of two special visits to European Masorti kehillot by Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, CA and Rabbi Phil Graubart of Congregation Beth El in La Jolla, CA, who was accompanied by his wife, Rabbi Susan Freeman. The Rabbis had the opportunity to meet congregants, leaders and professional staff at Masorti communities in Paris, Nice, London and Budapest, and deepen their understanding of Masorti life in these different countries and cities. Following his trip, Rabbi Wolpe told us, "Knowing that Jews all over the world are rediscovering passionate and intellectually engaged Judaism is encouraging. But seeing it is transforming."
Rabbi Graubart commented on his trip, "We were struck at each community by the passionate yearning for a centrist, intellectually honest, moderate Judaism, one that incorporates serious elements of tradition, while fully confronting modern life, and its challenges."
The Quest Committee at New London Synagogue hosted Rabbi Wolpe for the annual Rabbi Dr Louis Jacobs memorial lecture. Committee Chair, Ann Rau Dawes told us, "Rabbi Wolpe spoke from the heart and used personal experience to look at 'Why Faith Matters'. The lecture prompted many searching questions on atheism, Judaism's raison d'Ítre and Israel. "
All the kehillot who hosted the Rabbis for lectures, Shabbat meals, Limmud sessions and informal conversations very much enjoyed connecting with these Rabbis and sharing insights and about their Jewish life. Rabbi Wolpe summarized his trip by saying, "Masorti is awakening across Europe, and it was, for this American Jew, an inspiration."
Pictured above right is Rabbi Wolpe with members of Dor Chadash in Budapest.