Spring 2004

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MERCAZ USA Newsletter — Spring 2004

MERCAZ within JAFI and the WZO
Benefits to Masorti / Conservative Judaism Worldwide

Conservative / Masorti Jews around the world profit directly in numerous ways as a result of our involvement, through MERCAZ Olami, with the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). The following are among the benefits accrued as a result of the efforts of MERCAZ USA and its fellow MERCAZ chapters throughout the world that make up MERCAZ Olami, together with Masorti Olami - the World Council of Synagogues, in these international bodies:

  1. $1.7 million of direct allocations to Masorti institutions in Israel every year.
    The various branches of Masorti / Conservative Judaism in Israel receive direct allocations from the Jewish Agency's Allocations Committee of more than $1,700,000 each year for a wide range of projects, including the Conservative Yeshiva, the NATIV program, the TALI Educational Fund, the rabbinical program at the Schechter Institute, Midreshet Yerushalayim, and an outreach program for increasing pluralism and tolerance in Israeli society.

  2. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of grants over the years to Conservative/Masorti educational projects around the world.
    The Pincus Fund and the Joint Program for Jewish Education have allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars for a variety of educational projects initiated by branches of MERCAZ and Masorti/Conservative institutions around the world. Most recently, these include grants of $126,000 to MERCAZ USA and USCJ for the Team Israel Missions, $47,500 for the establishment of a Masorti "Lehrhaus" and kindergarten in Berlin, Germany, and $25,000 to our Conservative congregation in Montevideo, Uruguay, for the establishment of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah family education program.

  3. Shlichim for our youth movements and communities throughout the Diaspora.
    Shlichim have been critical to building up our NOAM and USY youth movements as well as a number of our fledgling congregations. We currently have shlichim in England, Argentina, Poland, and the United States, with additional postings being negotiated.

  4. A commitment of over $200,000 to meet the religious needs of Masorti / Conservative Jews outside of Israel through a special unit of the WZO.

  5. Official representation on key decision-making bodies of the Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization.
    MERCAZ Olami and Masorti Olami together have representatives on the Executive of the WZO, the Zionist General Council (Va'ad HaPoel) and the Zionist Presidium. In addition, MERCAZ Olami and Masorti Olami have members on the JAFI Executive and the JAFI Board of Governors. All of these appointments allow us direct influence in the decision-making process regarding WZO and JAFI policy and the distribution of millions of dollars in areas, which are of direct concern to us.

  6. Control of the primary department of the WZO, the Department for Zionist Activities, providing for direct influence over crucial WZO policy decisions.

  7. Participation in the Jewish Agency's Task Force on Germany.

  8. Over $90,000 of funding for activities of MAROM, our worldwide movement of young Zionist adults, including MAROM/KOACH in North America.

  9. Nearly $100,000 for developing Zionist programs for our constituency throughout the world, including MERCAZ USA's various educational projects.

  10. Support for a variety of activities intended to promoting aliyah among our membership.


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