MERCAZ USA Newsletter — Fall-2015
To the Abayudaya community of Uganda whose Abayudaya Youth Association held a convention earlier this year with support from Masorti Olami and the "Far West" chapter of United Synagogue Youth. The gathering drew about 200 youth from all over the country who engaged in a number of study sessions led by Rabbi Gershom Sizomu and other leaders of the community. The participants concluded the program passing a resolution for strengthening Jewish tradition through marriage within the community.
To Yaffa Oknin, the veteran Principal of the TALI Oranim School in the northern Israeli city of Yokneam, who recently received the Genger Prize for Excellence in TALI Education. The TALI school system, whose name is a Hebrew acronym for "enriched Jewish studies", was founded by educators and rabbis from the Conservative/Masorti Movement nearly 40 years ago. Its 260 schools and pre-schools, comprising over 10% of all secular schools in Israel, are sponsored by the TALI Education Fund, which is housed at the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem and is unofficially associated with Masorti Judaism.
To the Mosley family of Ashkelon, a large African-American family of converts and members of the Masorti congregation Netzach Israel, whose conversion to Judaism by a Reform rabbi in Overland Park, KS, was finally recognized by the Interior Ministry after a drawn-out legal battle lasting more than four years. Despite the High Court’s ruling back in the 1980's that conversions performed within organized Jewish communities outside of Israel would be recognized for the purposes of making Aliyah, the Interior Ministry had tried to discredit the Mosleys' conversion since their arrival in Israel in 2011, and thereby depriving them of the ability to secure Israeli citizenship and the employment and health services to which they as immigrants would be entitled, on the suspicion that as "Jews of color", they were covertly connected to the Black Hebrew community of Dimona. Congratulations to Rabbi Andy Sacks, Director of the Rabbinical Assembly Israel Region for leading the fight on behalf of the Mosleys and to Congregation Netzach Israel for providing financial help and support to the family over the past four years.
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