New President for MERCAZ Olami

MERCAZ Olami proudly announces its newly elected President,
Rabbi Dr. Alan Silverstein, of Congregation Agudath Israel in Caldwell, New Jersey. Rabbi Silverstein plans to forward his vision of collaboration and the critical need to redefine the relevance and centrality of Zionism. With his experience as former president of the Rabbinical Assembly, chair of the Masorti Foundation and president of Masorti Olami, Rabbi Silverstein has a unique and balanced vantage point from which to reinvigorate our movement through 2020.

Please click here for the full announcement of the new Board of MERCAZ Olami.

Read an inspiring interview with Rabbi Dr. Silverstein about his goals to advocate and promote MERCAZ Olami and Masorti Judaism.

Left to Right: Dr. David Breakstone, MERCAZ Olami's representative in the WZO, 
Rabbi Dr. Alan Silverstein, President of MERCAZ Olami, Danny Atar, Chair of KKL-JNF
and Rabbi Tzvi Graetz, Executive Director of MERCAZ Olami.
MERCAZ Olami's Representative on the Board of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael - Jewish National Fund Plants a Tree with the President of Greece 

The President of Greece, HE Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulus, planted an olive tree in the Grove of Nations in Jerusalem at a ceremony on March 31, 2016. President Pavlopoulos and his entourage were greeted by KKL-JNF Executive Board Member Rabbi Tzvi Graetz, who accompanied them to the Grove of Nations, a recognition site where many heads of state have planted trees to date. A recognition plaque was unveiled for the Greek President in honor of the occasion.

Speaking at the ceremony, Rabbi Graetz said: "Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund is involved in education for sustainability, environmental protection, love for the land and understanding between Jews, Arabs, Christians and Muslims. KKL-JNF is also responsible for planting and maintaining the forests in Israel."

Rabbi Graetz proceeded to thank the people of Greece and the Greek Forestry Service for their decisive part in suppressing the Mount Carmel forest fire in 2010, in which 44 people lost their lives. "Your special aircraft arrived and saved us at the time of that terrible fire, for which we are most grateful." 
Follow these links to read the full article from KKL-JNF and to see photographs from the ceremony:
and to hear Rabbi Graetz's speech:
Moshe Cohen
Thank You to the Outgoing Board of MERCAZ Olami

MERCAZ Olami sincerely thanks the outgoing board for their dedicated service to our goals during the last five years:
Moshe Cohen, Gillian CaplinTerri DavisMarion MaymanRabbi Penina PodwolDavid RaijDoron Rubin and Janet Tobin.  We especially thank Moshe Cohen for volunteering to hold the position of Interim President for the last few months. 

MERCAZ Olami Advocates for the Environment in Israel and Throughout the World

Professor Alon Tal, the representative of MERCAZ Olami on the board of Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael - Jewish National Fund and Chair of the Sustainable Development Committee for KKL-JNF, spoke out against a building plan in Jerusalem, as the construction of this luxury housing development would destroy precious natural resources.  To read more, follow the link to the article in Hebrew,

Professor Tal recently wrote an op-ed rebuking JNF Canada's decision to cancel an Achinoam Nini concert due to reports that she supports the BDS movement, despite the fact that Nini's principled activism on Israel's behalf is widespread. Follow this link to read the whole article: 

On behalf of KKL-JNF, Rabbi Tzvi Graetz, representing MERCAZ Olami and the worldwide Masorti Movement in the KKL-JNF, greeted Knesset members and visitors at a special event at the Knesset. The event was the launch of "TiME - This is My Earth" a worldwide internet based organization for crowdfunding purchases of biodiversity hotspots of the world's land surface. Rabbi Graetz spoke of our Jewish obligation to preserve biological diversity and of his pride, that MERCAZ Olami advances this value. Rabbi Graetz commended Professor Alon Tal, as a world leader in broadening international participation in protecting nature and the environment. Professor Tal's daughter, Zoe Talthe Chair of NOAM Israel, also attended this event. To read more about "TiME - This is My Earth" and to donate toward the preservation of land, please go to their website,

The Rising Voice of Masorti Judaism in Israel

The international leadership of MERCAZ Olami and Masorti Olami are thrilled that after many years of struggle for acceptance at the Western Wall (Kotel), the voice of pluralistic Judaism has finally been heard. The historic decision of Israel's government to create a pluralistic prayer plaza at the Kotel recognizes non-Orthodox streams of Judaism and broadens opportunities for Jews around the world to connect to Israel, Judaism and Jewish history.

The worldwide Masorti Movement, including leaders of the Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and Masorti Israel, alongside our representatives on the Jewish Agency Board of Governors and in the World Zionist Organization, worked devotedly with the Israeli government and strived for this historic solution.

Rabbi Tzvi Graetz, MERCAZ Olami and Masorti Olami Executive Director said, "As we approach the 120th anniversary of Theodor Herzl's first Zionist Congress in Basel at which Zionist ideals were initially laid out - that Jews from around the world will come together to rebuild their national home in Israel - MERCAZ Olami & Masorti Olami congratulate Israel's government on reaffirming those ideals." 

Amid our victory, we must stand strong against the renewed defiance of the ultra-Orthodox politicians who have villainized non-Orthodox Jews and threatened the stability of the Israeli government over moving forward with the plans for an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel.
Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party, which is allied with the Masorti Movement in the National Zionist Institutions, spoke from the Knesset podium about several Israeli policies that infringe on freedom of religion for non-Orthodox Jews.

Click on these links to read more about the historical decision for egalitarian prayer at the Kotel

Follow the continuing developments as the ultra-Orthodox block the implementation of the plan for a pluralistic prayer section at the Kotel by clicking on the links to these articles. 

Israel's Supreme Court Rules for non-Orthodox Use of Public Mikvaot 

Nine years from the time the Masorti and Reform Movements began legal action on the right of non-Orthodox converts to use public mikvaot, the Supreme Court ruled that the denial by the regional councils to non-Orthodox converts to use the mikvaot is a discriminatory and illegal action.  The Masorti and Reform Movements declare another victory in the move towards government recognition of non-Orthodox streams of Judaism. Follow the story at:
MERCAZ Olami's Representative in the World Zionist Organization Greets the President of Kenya 

Dr. David Breakstone, representing MERCAZ Olami and Masorti Olami in the WZO, accompanied Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, as he laid a wreath at the tomb of Theodor Herzl. Dr. Breakstone received President Kenyatta on behalf of the WZO during his historic state visit to Israel in February.

Outrage and Action for anti-Israel Resolution in United Nations Human Rights Council 

In March, the UNHRC met in Geneva, to discuss and vote on resolutions. Yet again, this body chooses to single out Israel with resolutions concerning "the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied territories." The UNHRC has condemned Israel more times than all the other 192 member states of the United Nations combined.

Dr. David Breakstone, representing MERCAZ Olami and Masorti Olami in the WZO, was in Geneva on behalf of the WZO, in cooperation with other pro-Israel bodies, to organize the demonstration protesting the proceedings of the UNHRC. Supporters from around the world joined the rally via live stream. People continue to protest by signing a petition for the removal of biased agenda item #7

For further information, read Dr. Breakstone's article in the Times of Israel:  and an op-ed by
Rabbi Dr. Alan Silverstein, President of MERCAZ Olami,
In Memory of Dr. Stephen Wolnek Z"L

MERCAZ Olami and Masorti Olami are saddened by the tragic and untimely loss of MERCAZ Olami President, Dr. Stephen Wolnek, who passed away in January of this year. Steve was our leader for the last six years and represented MERCAZ Olami on the boards of the National Zionist Institutions: the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael - Jewish National Fund. At a memorial service on February 22, in Tel Aviv, we paid tribute to Steve and his numerous years of dedicated service to the Jewish community.
Click here to listen to the moving service
MERCAZ Olami and Masorti Olami, together with the KKL-JNF, have launched a campaign to plant a woodland of trees in Steve's memory in the Israel he loved so deeply. Half the amount paid for every tree planted will go to further the educational activities of Masorti/Conservative youth around the world. Our goal for this project is to raise a minimum of $25,000 USD.

Please make a donation by clicking here:
MERCAZ Olami | Tel: 972 2 624 7106 | |

The activities of Masorti Olami and MERCAZ Olami are implemented in partnership with the World Zionist Organization
World Zionist Organization