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Winter 2006-2007

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MERCAZ USA Newsletter — Winter 2006-2007

MERCAZ Shlichism: Strengthen the Connection!

Armed with the message to strengthen the connection in all ways possible between the American Jewish community and Israel, MERCAZ USA welcomes three new shlichim to the United States.

The first to arrive, Itamar Kremer, is the new fulltime Jewish Agency shaliach to the Conservative Movement in North America. Itamar, who succeeds Devora Greenberg, is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzlia and a Captain (res.) with the Givati Infantry Brigade.

Born and raised on Moshav Yogev, Itamar brings extensive experience as a counselor and regional coordinator for the Bnei HaMoshavim Zionist youth movement. Like his predecessors, he is focusing on outreach to Conservative Movement synagogues and organizations, help to individuals and families considering aliyah and involvement with college students and young adults interested in opportunities for travel or study in Israel.

Itamar is also looking to bring together graduates of the Conservative Movement's various post-high school level study programs in Israel as the basis for a North American branch of MAROM Olami. Itamar may be contacted at the MERCAZ USA office: 212.533.7800 ext 2021 or shaliach@mercazusa.org. To read more about Itamar Kremer at the Link To Israel site, click here.

Also arriving this fall are Rabbi Zvi Berger and Zev Forman, who are this year's participants in the annual Parashat Lech Lecha/November is Link To Israel project. Co-sponsored by MERCAZ USA and the Jewish Agency, with cooperation from the United Synagogue's KOACH College Outreach and Project Reconnect, the Aliyah Committee and the Israel Aliyah Centers, this program brings American olim to Israel back on a 10-day speaking tour to the United States to promote greater awareness of travel, study and aliyah opportunities to Israel.

Rabbi Zvi Berger, the rabbi of the Masorti Family Minyan in Kfar Vradim in the Western Galilee, was born in Minneapolis, MN. After receiving his M.A. in Jewish History from Ohio State University in 1978, Rabbi Berger and his wife Linda made aliyah and after a career as a Jewish educator with Diaspora and Israeli youth, he was ordained from the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in 1996. To read more about Rabbi Berger, his tour of the Mid-Atlantic Region, and an entry from his diary from the recent War in Lebanon, click here.

Zev Forman was raised in Flemington, NJ, and graduated from Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y. Prior to making aliyah in late 2004, he studied at the United Synagogue's Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem and worked in the Camp Ramah Programs in Israel office. He is currently studying to be an official tour guide of Israel. To read more on Zev, click here.

This year's Parashat Lech Lecha speaking tours are focusing on the Mid-Atlantic Region during the first three weeks of November. Rabbi Berger is serving as the guest speaker for Shabbat at two Philadelphia area congregations. He is also participating in the biennial convention of Women's League for Conservative Judaism as well as at other programs at local synogogues and organizations during the week. Zev Forman is scheduled to visit a number of college campuses in the area and is participating in the Fall regional kinnus for EPA USY.

As Rabbi Vernon Kurtz has written, "While the message our shlichim bring is important at all times, it is especially important in this critical period following the month-long war this summer. As a result of Israel's northern region being subject to terrorist missiles from Southern Lebanon, we need to support the Jewish Agency in its work with dealing with the social, economic and psychological scars of the fighting. We need to support the Jewish National Fund in replacing forests detroyed by the Hezbollah rockets. We need to support the rebuilding of the region's tourist industry. In short we need to strengthen in all ways possible our connection with Israel."

Full details about the biographies and speaking programs for this year's Parashat Lech Lecha/November is Link To Israel shlichim are available via the above links and also at the Aliyah Committee's web site: www.linktoisrael.com. For further information, contact the MERCAZ office at 212.533.7800 ext 2016 or aliyah@mercazusa.org.

 

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