MERCAZ USA

February 2008

Hag Purim Sameach

Adar I 5768

Welcome to the 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 (re)join for the new 2007-2008 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 2008.

DISCOVER CONSERVATIVE/MASORTI JUDAISM WHILE IN ISRAEL
The institutions of Conservative/Masorti Judaism in Israel, including the Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center, the Schechter Institute, the Masorti Movement, the Conservative Yeshiva and the Neve Hanna Children's Village, are offering Israeli travelers a variety of options for visits, tours, study sessions, etc. Whether this is your first time in Israel or your hundredth trip, now is the time to visit Israel "the Conservative Way". Click here for a menu of Options to Enrich Your "Israel @ 60" Mission Itinerary.

CELEBRATE YOM HA'ATZMAUT IN ISRAEL
Spend Yom HaAtzmaut in Israel with the joint Rabbinical Assembly-Masorti Foundation Mission to Israel, May 3-9. The mission will visit Masorti communities throughout Israel, participating in ceremonies for Yom HaZikaron and a celebratory barbeque with Israelis for HaAtzmaut. For more information, including the mission's price and registration, contact David Lissy, Executive Director of the Masorti Foundation at 212-870-2216 or dlissy@masorti.org.

FEATURE STORY

BRING A SMILE TO A CHILD'S FACE, BUILD A BRIDGE TO AN IDF SOLDIER

The Rabbis say, "Mi SheNichnas Adar, Marbin BeSimcha" (Taanit 29A), meaning that when we begin the new month of Adar, the month in which Purim is celebrated, we should increase in joy. If this is true in a regular 12-month Jewish year, how much more so is this the case when we have a 13-month leap year, two months of Adar and two Purims — the regular Purim that will be celebrated in Adar II and a "Purim Katan" in the current Adar I!

Israelis are looking for some good news, particularly those under the daily Qassam rocket attacks in Israel's Negev. Just a little bit of good news will go a long way toward dispelling the despair that fills many lives in and around Sderot, and with the start of Adar I and the countdown to two Purims, we have the opportunity to bring a smile to a child's face and build a bridge to an IDF soldier.

As in past years, MERCAZ USA is supporting the annual American Zionist Movement Purim Campaign. With your support and that of thousands of other fellow American Zionists, AZM has brought traditional mishloach manot baskets to members of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), victims of terror and children in and around Sderot living under constant rocket barrage.

This year, AZM has agreed to add the children of the Neve Hanna Children's Village, located in the Negev community of Kiryat Gat, to the list of Purim gift basket recipients.

For more than 30 years, Neve Hanna has provided a loving home for nearly 100 youngsters from troubled families, the sons and daughters of native Israelis and immigrants from Russia, North Africa and the Middle East in distress. Affiliated with the Conservative/Masorti Movement in Israel, Neve Hanna aims to instill a sense of self-worth and a love of Jewish learning, tradition and values, imparted by Masorti educators who are involved on an ongoing basis in planning Shabbat programs, holiday observances and Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrations. Click here for more information about Neve Hanna.

Please take a minute and donate to the AZM Purim Connection 2008. You can do it by visiting here. You can also send a check to AZM: 633 Third Avenue, 21st floor New York, NY 10017. Please note on the check to include in the special MERCAZ-sponsored Neve Hanna campaign.

The soldiers and children of Israel are in need of the reassurance that these small "baskets of goodies" bring. $18 brings a smile to a child's face; $54 builds a bridge to an IDF solider. All donations are tax deductible.

To help us bring Purim joy to the maximum number of children and soldiers, please respond before March 7, 2008.

In this time of increased joy, we also pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the speedy, healthy return of our captive soldiers Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. May the time that they are returned safely to their families and friends come speedily in our days!

 

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