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Winter 2003-2004

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MERCAZ USA Newsletter — Winter 2003-2004

News From the Worldwide Conservative/ Masorti Movement

MERCAZ & Tourism Ministry Advance Israel Travel

For the past eighteen months, MERCAZ USA has served as the lead Conservative Movement organization in an important partnership with the Ministry of Tourism. In this effort, MERCAZ helped develop the Ministry's "Israel Tourism Pledge Card Campaign", which ran in a number of Conservative synagogues over the High Holydays.

In addition, recognizing the importance of working with the Conservative Movement to deliver the message about travel to Israel, MERCAZ secured funding from the Israel Ministry of Tourism's North American office for two Israeli Masorti leaders, Judith Edelman-Green and Rabbi Elisha Wolfin, on their recent speaking trip in North America on behalf of The Masorti Foundation.

Fuchsberg Launches New Tzedakah Projects

The United Synagogue's Shirley and Jacob Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center has begun two new projects to enable North Americans to help Israelis. First of all, it has launched a new Gemilut Hesed Project that connects visiting Conservative Jews with a choice of meaningful volunteer opportunities. The new project provides hands-on tzedakah opportunities including assisting with seniors and disabled Israelis, helping out at food distribution centers, tutoring new immigrants and volunteering at Yad Sarah.

In addition, the Center is organized to distribute badly needed supplies that tourists collect and bring with them, such as eyeglasses and dental supplies for free health clinics, school supplies for needy students, and pharmacy items and hard candy to soldiers. For further information, contact the Fuchsberg Center by email at: Israel@uscj.org.

NOAM Receives Ministry Recognition

At the beginning of the new school year, the Ministry of Education announced that the NOAM Youth Movement would be officially acknowledged as a "recognized youth organization in the State of Israel". This recognition, coming more than twenty years after its founding, finally allows NOAM, the acronym for "Noar Masorti" (Masorti Youth), to gain representation in various Ministry of Education institutions. In addition, the accreditation is accompanied by a modest grant of $10,000, which is being used to further develop NOAM programs.

MERCAZ Pays Tribute to Si Schwartz

MERCAZ mourns the loss of Simon Schwartz, its second national president, who passed away over the summer after a long medical struggle. "Si" served as MERCAZ USA President, from 1983 to 1989, and led the organization's first successful electoral campaign for the 33rd World Zionist Congress in 1987. He came to MERCAZ after serving as the United Synagogue's International President (1977-81) and later became President of the American Zionist Federation (1989-93) and founding President of the international Conservative Zionist association MERCAZ Olami (1989-96).

 

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