Masorti Olami News
At the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles
At the Jewish Federation

Andrew Cushnir (pictured below),  Executive Vice President - Chief Programming Officer took us through a fascinating conversation to understand the unique Los Angeles culture. He impressed us with the Federation's incredible work and it was enriching to understand their successes and challenges.


Tal Gozani, Vice President, Young Adult Engagement and her entire staff welcomed us to a breakfast and conversation with LA young adults about sharing best practices and program ideas.
 Rabbi Steven Wernick, Executive VP and CEO of USCJ, stopped by to speak to the group at the USCJ Far West offices where we also met with the newly elected USY International President, Michael Sacks and Uriyah Roth, USY Shaliach.  
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Meeting the students at Pressman Academy at Temple Beth Am
Latin America goes to Los Angeles
Masorti Olami/MAROM Olami Leadership Seminar
Our group met with their peers from Sinai Temple  and spent Tu B'shvat together hiking the hills of Hollywood.
Welcome to Los Angeles!


The Masorti/Conservative community in Los Angeles opened its doors wide to the young adults from Latin America who visited there in January. We set out to Los Angeles to learn from inspirational rabbis and educators and to understand Jewish communities and institutions.  


This seminar led together by Rabbi Tzvi Graetz, Executive Director Masorti Olami and MERCAZ Olami,  Avigail Ben Aryeh, MAROM Olami Director and Lucas "Pato" Lejderman, MAROM Latin American Desk, was part of a two year leadership training course for 18 young adults from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.


We were struck by the incredible welcome from everyone! Everywhere we went, from the American Jewish University to Valley Beth Shalom, from UCLA Hillel to The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and from Temple Beth Am to IKAR, we felt the L.A Jewish hospitality and spirit. 


We gained a tremendous amount of insight, new ideas and different perspectives. Every spare minute was spent deep in conversations about implementing various ideas into everyones local communities and to understanding differences in culture and concepts.

We are very grateful to Merrill Alpert, Director of Youth Activities at USCJ Far West, who took this seminar as her own, supported us at every step and worked to make so many of our meetings happen.
Learning at American Jewish University
The American Jewish University generously hosted our group at their campus which also afforded us the opportunity to pray with and learn from their esteemed faculty.  We were welcomed by Rabbi Brad Artson, Abner & Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and Rabbi Aaron Alexander, Associate Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies. Rabbi Alexander took us on an inspirational tour of the American Jewish University and gave us an inside understanding of its vision and structure and helped us understand each student's many opportunities to learn, grow and develop. Rabbi Artson taught about the Masorti/Conservative Movement and Israel and Diaspora relations.
Abner Goldstine (middle) joined us to give us his insight on valuable Jewish missions and we were all motivated by his commitment and dedication. Abner shared with us his views on the role of a lay leader and showed us that passion and dedication is ageless.


 Rabbi Elliot Dorff taught us about what 
speaks most intimately to every young adult: couple relationships. Through text, Rabbi Dorff showed us the open mindedness of Judaism, at a time when the entire world thought differently. Most of all, Rabbi Dorff opened up an honest and frank conversation about marriage, children and intimate relations. 


Rabbi Jay Strear
, V
ice President of Development, AJU (pictured left) dedicated a few hours with us to help us understand how to raise needed development funds. Rabbi Strear shared his views on professional conduct, perseverance and dedication. He provided the group with useful tools which they will be able to implement in their day to day work in Latin America.  
 Visiting Local Kehillot  
Our group was fortunate to be able to experience the diversity of Masorti/Conservative Jewish life in Los Angeles.  
Friday was spent at Temple Beth Am and in their fabulous education center, The Pressman Academy. We met with Head of School Rabbi Mitchell Malkus, teachers and students.  Following a joyous Kabbalat Shabbat service, Temple Beth Am hosted us for Shabbat dinner in their homes and created a warm Shabbat ruach under the leadership of Rabbi Adam Kligfeld (right).
Shabbat morning tefillot were spent with IKAR 
and Rabbi Sharon Brous (left) whose spirit is infectious!  Rabbi Brous dedicated her time to us in a very moving conversation and she herself was moved at the impact that her community had made on all of us during our unforgettable visit. Click here to read Rabbi Tzvi Graetz's article in the Jerusalem Post about Shabbat at IKAR .
As you see above, Rabbi David Wolpe met with our group at Sinai Temple. He shared with us his perspective on Masorti/Conservative Judaism, Jewish institutions, social media and much much more. He inspired all of us with his honest and inspirational vision. Rabbi Wolpe challenged us and allowed us to understand what stands behind the success of Sinai Temple. Through this conversation we sharpened our views of inclusivity and we enjoyed a tour of the Synagogue complex and learned about the art within.

(Left) Diane Wohl with Rabbi Hoffman and Gabi Lasry from Argentina.
Diane Wohl, Masorti Olami Board Member and supporter, joined us for a full day of the seminar and motivated us with us her vision and experience. All of us were inspired by her passion as a lay leader and we were privileged to have Diane share what excites her and moves her to action.

(Right) Rabbi Josh Hoffman explained about the food bank at VBS.
At Valley Beth Shalom, we shared a beautiful weekly morning service with a family breakfast following. Rabbi Josh Hoffman gave us a fascinating tour of VBS and allowed us to understand the incredible work that this community does for all ages and various points of engagement. 
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