MERCAZ USA - The Zionist Organization of the Conservative Movement
MERCAZ USA

February 2012 MERCAZ USA Pre-Purim E-letter Shevat 5772

WELCOME to the new
MERCAZ USA E-Letter being sent to MERCAZ members and supporters. 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 see the new MERCAZ Mission Statement. Click here to (re)join for the current 2011-2012 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 2012.

MERCAZ USA IS NOW ON FACEBOOK & TWITTER
Take the time now to "friend" us as well as "follow us" and let everyone know. Find us at www.facebook.com/mercazusa and twitter.com/mercazusa.

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FEATURE STORY

CELEBRATE PURIM WITH MERCAZ USA

Dear MERCAZ Friend,
Imagine a soldier standing guard. It's dark and silent. Vitali is thinking about his parents, but they are far away in Ukraine. It's Purim and others in the unit are receiving gifts from family, or getting leave to travel home, but this soldier remains alone. Vitali came on aliyah to Israel on his own as a teenager nearly a decade ago and is now serving as a Lone Soldier in the IDF.
But it's not just young people from the former Soviet Union who are far from their families. Every year, dozens of young adults from North America, including those of our own Conservative Movement, make aliyah and join the IDF. They too are part of the 2,500 Lone Soldiers from around the Diaspora now serving in the IDF, who are alone on Purim.

Once again this year, the annual Purim Connection organized by the American Zionist Movement and its affiliates including MERCAZ USA, the Zionist arm of the Conservative Movement, is seeking to touch these Lone Soldiers and others young Israelis living in stressful situations and bring them a little "light and gladness" this Purim in fulfillment of the Biblical verse "to observe them as days of feasting and merrymaking and as an occasion for sending gifts to one another". (Esther 9:22)

As in the past, contributions from members and friends of MERCAZ USA will be directed towards purchasing Purim gift baskets to be distributed by the Outreach Project for IDF Lone Soldiers, organized by the Masorti Congregation "Moreshet Yisrael" in Jerusalem, and the Neve Hanna Children's Village in Kiryat Gat.

Wouldn't you like to do something special this Purim? We invite you to make a donation to help cover the cost of traditional mishloach manot Purim baskets filled with sweets and other gift items. Even a small donation will help a young child or a lonely soldier feel cared for and remembered.

To make your donation, go to http://www.azm.org/purim2012-mercaz. Please scroll down and select the level of contribution with which you are comfortable. Once the amount is added to your "shopping cart", you will have the option to pay online with a credit card or to print out a form and mail AZM your check.

Your mishloach manot gift will tell an Israeli soldier or child that you care. It's a gesture that will long be remembered. We ask that donations be received no later than February 27, 2012. Please don't delay!

We thank you; and Vitali, his fellow lone soldiers and all of Israel, thank you too.

Janet Tobin, President
Rabbi Robert R. Golub, Executive Director


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