MERCAZ USA

April 2010

MERCAZ USA Yom HaAtzmaut E-letter

Iyar 5770

Happy 62nd Birthday to the State of Israel!

WELCOME to the new MERCAZ USA E-Letter being sent to MERCAZ members and supporters from the 2006 World Zionist Congress elections. Information to Unsubscribe is available below.

MERCAZ USA is the Zionist membership organization of the Conservative Movement, the voice of Conservative Jewry within the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Zionist Movement and the Jewish National Fund to support religious pluralism in Israel and strengthen the connection between Israel and the Diaspora. Click here to learn how MERCAZ USA's involvement in the World Zionist Organization and Jewish Agency for Israel benefits the entire Conservative Movement. Click here to (re)join for the current 2009-2010 fiscal year.

IN THIS ISSUE:
NEWS
FEATURE STORY

NEWS

SYNAGOGUE TRIPS TO ISRAEL
Looking to join an organized trip to Israel? Click here for a list of upcoming Conservative Movement synagogue trips for 2010.

"ACROSS THE AISLE": A NEW DRAMATIZATION OF ZIONIST ISSUES
In honor of Israel's 62nd anniversary, MERCAZ USA is proud to announce the publication of "Across the Aisle", a dramatization of Zionist issues, by Rabbi Robert Binder. Produced in cooperation with the American Zionist Movement, the program is ideal for use in synagogue services, high school and adult education classrooms and Sisterhood and Men's Club meetings. Click here for the new program.

MASORTI OLAMI – CHILE EARTHQUAKE RELIEF FUND
On Friday, February 26th, an earthquake measuring 8.8 on the Richter Scale struck Chile, which is home to more than 25,000 Jews and among them six Conservative/Masorti communities around the country. The Communidad Israelita De Concepcion, the Masorti synagogue in Chile's second largest city, which was the epicenter of the earthquake, sustained significant damage. Click here to learn about Masorti Olami's Chile Earthquake Relief Fund. Click here to make your donation. Please note "Chile Earthquake Relief Fund" in the program description.

RAMAH MINI-SEMINAR FOR ADULTS
The Ramah Programs in Israel has opened registration for the Ramah Mini-Seminar for Adults, July 11-15: five day-long tours to less-traveled sights in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and places in between. The Mini-Seminar is designed for adults (college-age and above) who have been to Israel before and who are looking for something different and in-depth. Participants are expected to arrange their own accommodations in Jerusalem, and each day they will be picked-up and dropped-off at a central location in the city. Price per person is only $500, which includes five full days of guiding, entrance fees and transportation. Click here for a complete itinerary, detailed information and registration form.

THE CONSERVATIVE YESHIVA SUMMER PROGRAM
Join together with fellow Conservative Jewish students from all over the world at the Conservative Yeshiva's Summer Program. The summer program at the Conservative Yeshiva, which is located at the USCJ's Fuchsberg Center in Jerusalem, is geared to college and university students, recent grads, adult Jewish learners, synagogue members and day school parents, as well as Jewish communal leaders and Jewish educators. Two sessions, June 27 - July 15 and July 18 – August 5, are being offered. Click here for more information.

NEW CONSERVATIVE ALIYAH WEBSITE
To celebrate the significant growth in Conservative aliyah from North America, as reported in the Spring 2010 MERCAZ USA newsletter, the Jewish Agency has launched a special webpage aimed at addressing the needs of Conservative olim to Israel. Click here to access the new webpage.

HAZON BIKE RIDE: SUPPORT ISRAEL, PEACE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
MERCAZ USA is happy to share the following information from Rabbi Michael M. Cohen, the founder of our Zionist faction ally the Green Zionist Alliance: "Bike Ride from Jerusalem to Eilat to support peace and the environment in Israel! Do you know people who would like to participate in the Arava Institute-Hazon Israel Ride October 19-26, 2010? From the seat of their bike they will smell, taste, hear, see, and feel the land of Israel in a way they have never experienced. Riders will learn from students and faculty at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies who will also participate in the Ride." For more information click here or contact Rabbi Michael M. Cohen, 802-362-2432, aravakolot@yahoo.com.

 

FEATURE STORY

JOIN MERCAZ USA, THE ZIONIST ARM OF THE CONSERVATIVE MOVEMENT

We Jews love anniversaries. Last year, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of Tel Aviv, the first city of the modern Zionist movement. The year before, in 2008, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel. And this year, 2010, is itself an "anniversary" year as we mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Theodore Herzl, the founder of the modern Zionist movement.

It was Herzl who convened the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in August, 1897. Fifty years (and a couple of months) later, the UN General Assembly approved the Partition Plan for Palestine, thereby endorsing the creation of the Jewish State, and we, today are the beneficiaries of these acts.

But while the Jewish State is a blessed reality, the mission of Zionism has not been completed. As long as there are Jews in need, as long as Israel is not secure, as long as the ideal Jewish society within the Jewish state has not been achieved, the Zionist movement will continue with purpose.

In just a couple of months, the 36th World Zionist Congress, the heir of Herzl's first congress, will convene in Jerusalem. And seated in the assembly hall, among the 550 elected delegates from Israel and the Diaspora, will be nearly 60 delegates representing the worldwide Conservative/Masorti Movement under the "MERCAZ" banner.

The Conservative Movement, through MERCAZ USA, is a full partner in the WZO and Jewish Agency. Our delegates to the Zionist Congress will be working to push forward our agenda: to shape the nature of Israeli society with the values of religious pluralism and environmental awareness and to gain important resources for the development of institutions of Conservative-Masorti Judaism in Israel and throughout the world, including the Schechter Institute, the Masorti Movement and the Conservative Yeshiva.

But the work of MERCAZ USA doesn't end with the Zionist Congress. Upon our return from Israel, our thoughts will turn again to our ongoing work to strengthen the connection between the Diaspora and Israel. How do we infuse Israel more strongly into the life of our congregations? How do we get more of our children to spend time in the Jewish State? How do we promote the Hebrew language? These are among the goals of this organization for the past 30 years ago and they will continue to guide our work long into the future. (for details about our program, visit our website, www.mercazusa.org)

BE A PART OF THAT FUTURE! A strong MERCAZ USA helps ensure success of a vibrant Masorti Movement in Israel and throughout the world and a strong Zionist connection in our American Jewish community. Your membership brings this goal closer to reality. Join MERCAZ USA, the Zionist Organization of the Conservative Movement.

For more information about membership, contact the MERCAZ office at info@mercazusa.org or 212-533-2061 or click here for our secure website.

 

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