Masorti Olami News
In This Issue
Evening of Tribute
Mazal Tov Rabbi Kurtz!
A Transformative Journey
Abayudaya Facebook Funding Challenge
Mazal tov to Bet El, Madrid
MERCAZ Olami Board Leadership Seminar
Kiyum Leadership Seminar for Young Adults
Channukah in Ukraine
Our 10th Annual Evening of Tribute
on December 16th was a great success and enjoyed by all! 

May our three honorees go from strength to strength as they continue their important work!

Rabbi Michael Greenbaum, Cantor Joseph Gole & Gillian Caplin  
Many thanks to Co Chairs Janet Tobin and Amy Miller.

Click here to watch the opening video about our honorees, and here to view photos and videos from the event.
Mazal Tov
Rabbi Vernon Kurtz
Past President of MERCAZ Olami, on his election as President of the American Zionist Movement.  
Rabbi Kurtz (third from left) with the MERCAZ Olami Board when he was elected President at the AZM Biennial meeting.
Click here to read about the moving & transformative journeys of two young adults who found their home at Kehillat Beit Yisrael - our Masorti community in Lisbon, Portugal
Thank you
to everyone who contributed
to our Facebook Funding Challenge to support the youth convention of the Abayudaya in Uganda! 

Thanks to Judy Gray for the initiative

 Mazal tov  

to Kehillat Bet El in Madrid, Spain on the dedication of their new synagogue!  

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Masorti Olami projects are supported by The World Zionist Organization
Masorti Olami
projects are supported by
The World Zionist
January 2013
Tevet/Shvat 5773

The almond trees are blooming and the sun is shining!  
 Tu Bishvat is on its way! 

Here in Israel, there is definitely a sense of the coming spring. The sun is shining a little brighter and a flower pops up now and then.  

The most reliable sign however, is that the grocery stores are filled with many varieties of dried fruit; some grown in Israel and some imported from more exotic places.

What is the connection between dried fruit and Tu Bishvat? Tu BiShvat is Rosh Hashanah le'Ilanot, The New Year for trees.  It became a tradition on this holiday not only to plant trees but also to eat some of the 7 species that are mentioned in Deuteronomy 8:8.  
MERCAZ Olami Board Leadership Seminar
From December 14 until December 17, 2012, the international board of MERCAZ Olami gathered together in New York City for a leadership seminar.

Participants traveled from Argentina, Uruguay, UK, France, Israel and even as far away as Australia.  They joined their peers in the US for a program of meetings and activities which included meeting with both professional and lay leaders of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism to share best practices about teaching and advocating for Israel.  

The program also included a VIP visit to the United Nations headquarters including a meeting with Maria Louisa Chavez, Director of the NGO division at the UN.   On Shabbat the group was graciously hosted by
Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove and Park Avenue Synagogue for tefillot and a panel discussion on The Challenges and of World Jewry.

The program ended on Monday night with a special lecture on the ideology of Conservative/Masorti Judaism from leading Conservative/Masorti rabbis, Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg of New North London Synagogue. 

Plans are already underway for next year's leadership seminar!

MERCAZ Olami Board seminar  
The 2012 Kiyum Leadership Seminar
Q: What do you get when you bring together 24 young adults in Israel from all over the world? 
A: KIYUM, a leadership institute for young adults that helped them to explore their Jewish identity, their connection to Israel and to strengthen the bonds of Jewish peoplehood.

Here are some reactions from our participants:

"We all have things to learn from each other."

"The program was amazing. I learned so much it was very intense so in some ways I feel like I haven't finished processing it yet. I feel like I've gained a lot and grown a lot and I am more prepared to be a leader in my community."

"It was one of the most incredible experiences in my life. "

"Thanks for everything, it was truly a unique experience and I learned a lot"

"I've always had a hard time expressing my beliefs about Israel to others. I really appreciated all the programming concerning Israel- it felt fair and balanced. I think I'll return home with a much improved articulation of my beliefs" 
   "Thank you! This was a transformative week and it will stay with me always. I really believe this will be a pivot point in my life. "  
"I had a lot of fun. For me this is one of the most incredible experiences I have ever done and I'm taking from here a lot of learning and of course friends from all around the world." 
Pictures from Channukah in Ukraine
Above are a few pictures from the Masorti kehillah in Kiev celebrating Channukah, and from the annual Family Camp for families from all around Ukraine.
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