MERCAZ USA

May 2008

Yom HaAtzmaut Sameach

Iyar 5768

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 for common questions and answers.

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 2008.

MERCAZ OLAMI'S TRIBUTE TO ISRAEL'S 60th
MERCAZ Olami, the Zionist organization of the worldwide Conservative/Masorti Movement, has dedicated its new newsletter to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel. The publication includes Masorti/Conservative sources, texts, reflections, prayers and songs, along with a proposed ceremony for synagogues and organizations. The material is not only relevant for Yom HaAtzmaut but can be used for commemorating Israel's existence throughout the year. Click here to download the English version either in color or in print-friendly black and white. Click here for a listing of activities for the 60th taking place in other parts of the Conservative Movement.

AMERICAN JEWRY CELEBRATES ISRAEL'S 60th
The National Committee for Israel 60, sponsored by the Conference of Presidents' of Major American Jewish Organizations, is serving as the umbrella for all American programs to celebrate Israel's milestone anniversary. Top leaders from all segments of American society have been invited to join the National Committee, which is led by former Presidents George H. W. Bush and William J. Clinton who are serving as Honorary Co-Chairmen. All three current presidential candidates - Senators Hillary R. Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama - have also signed on as Vice Chairs. Click here for the Committee's website and click here for a calendar of community programs and Israel missions taking place over the next six months.

MASORTI MOVEMENT TURNS THIRTY
Earlier this year, the Masorti Movement in Israel celebrated its 30th anniversary by producing a lively informative video "Masorti at Thirty". Click here to watch the "YouTube" video, which outlines the movement's growth and accomplishments and its contribution to Israeli life over the past 30 years of its existence.

STUDY THIS SUMMER AT THE CONSERVATIVE YESHIVA
The Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem is organizing two study sessions this summer. The two sessions - June 29-July 17 and July 20-August 7 - are open to the public, plus a weeklong session for rabbis June 22-26. Sessions are independent and not repetitive. You can choose either one or both. This is an excellent opportunity to study the classic texts of Judaism with learning appropriate for students of all levels, backgrounds and interests. Click here for more information including courses, costs and registration.

FEATURE STORY

"MAROM" STUDY PROGRAM AT BEN-GURION UNIVERSITY

Registration is now open for the new Conservative Movement "MAROM Program in Sustainable Development and Environmental Justice" in the Overseas Student Program at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

The MAROM Program, a one-semester course, housed in the development town of Yeroham and named for the worldwide organization of Conservative/Masorti students and young adults, has been designed to enable students interested in environmental studies and Jewish studies to pursue these fields in a unique socio-economic and socio-political context: the Negev Desert in Israel.

In addition to the regular studies and volunteer activities, students in the MAROM track will enjoy the special support and benefit that only a Conservative Movement program provides, including the observance of Shabbat and kashrut, the availability of daily student-led egalitarian prayer services, weekly sessions with a Masorti-affiliated madrich and monthly shabbatonim.

The cost of the one-semester program, including the summer ulpan, is $10,500. Students will be able to apply for $2,000 MASA grants. For more information, including academic calendar, registration forms and procedures, visit www.koach.org.

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