By now you hopefully have all seen the publicity from FJMC and other Conservative movement organizations about the upcoming World Zionist Organization (WZO) Congress in Israel next October, and the importance of voting in the WZO elections for the Mercaz slate. If you have not yet voted, this is a good time to do so! Just go to www.mercazusa.org to first register and then vote. Why is this important? In case you didn't know, Mercaz is the Zionist membership organization of the Conservative Movement, the voice of Conservative Jewry to the WZO. Voting for the Mercaz slate (No. 2 on the ballot) helps support religious pluralism in Israel and strengthens the connection between Israel and the Diaspora. I voted, have you?
With these elections fresh in our minds, I thought that this would be a good time to provide an overview of FJMC's activities related to Israel. We've been working in a number of areas.
We're very excited that we recently affiliated our first Men's Club in Israel, at Kehilla Mogen Avram in Omer, a town in the South District of Israel, bordering Beersheba. We're planning to translate some of our programmatic materials into Hebrew to make them more useful to club members, and of course many of us are looking forward to visiting them the next time we travel to Israel! Now that we have our first club, I'm sure that more will follow.
Over the past three years, FJMC has been working closely with Mercaz to develop and hold Israel Advocacy workshops around the country. The objective of these workshops is to provide congregational leadership with the information and resources they need to conduct Israel advocacy programs in their synagogues. Thus far these have been held in Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Connecticut, and New Jersey, with the next one planned in Boston this March. In several FJMC regions there has been tremendous interest in attending these workshops, so our regional leadership (working with Mercaz and Women's League) has taken a major role in organizing and hosting them. If you would like information about upcoming Advocacy Workshops in your area, or would like to help set one up, please contact FJMC's Israel Advocacy Chair Mike Perloff at Mikep2@comcast.net.
Also, there will be several sessions and a keynote speaker on issues related to Israel at our upcoming Convention this July in Miami Beach, and on Sunday afternoon immediately after Convention we'll hold an abbreviated version of the Advocacy workshop. Our Convention will also feature an Israeli craft fair, with vendors from Israel on-site to display their wares!
Finally, I am very happy to announce that FJMC is planning a Mission to Israel in May 2016. This will be a unique travel experience, with emphasis on Israel's entrepreneurial business climate in the high tech and environmental industries. We'll also be visiting a few Masorti Kehillot (including those that have Men's Clubs), as well as some of the usual tourist sites. Details will be disseminated soon.
As always, I'd like to hear your comments about what I've written. Just reply to this Blog!