Submission #210 by Temple Emanuel Brotherhood - Newton, MA (719)

Submission information
David Greenfield's picture
Submitted by David Greenfield
Wed, 2013-03-06 14:35
I have read the General Guidelines, "Nuts and Bolts" and Program Advanced Planning (Excel Spreadsheet) Documents
Club Name
Temple Emanuel Brotherhood - Newton, MA (719)
Roots in Israel
Club Representative
Person completing form
Club President at time of Convention
Club President Now
Israel / Masorti

Page 1

Roots in Israel’s mission is to strengthen our community’s connection to Israel and complement our shul rabbis’ Go to Israel directive. It does so by telling Israel’s story focusing on 'tikkun olam' efforts in humanitarian aid as well as its development of innovative technologies for universal benefit, actions and achievements which are shared with nations independent of their political positions vis a vis Israel. Rather than view Israel only through a lens of conflict as is currently all too common, Roots aims to swing the 'perception pendulum' back to a time of widespread celebration and support for the land and its people.
The mission will be accomplished using a multi-faceted approach:

* The Roots in Israel logo/icon has a prominent position in the temple's Weekly eNewsletter Update sent to the entire membership. The logo links directly to our web site (, a repository for the following:
I. Weekly informative and inspirational messages detailing one of Israel’s achievements and/or societal accomplishments. For example:
1. Drip irrigation technology was invented in Israel. This advance is arguably the world’s most valued innovation in agriculture since invention of the impact sprinkler in the 1930s.
2. The IDF is the most progressive in the world when measured in terms of gender equality. Almost 1/3 of the force and i/2 of its officers are female.
3. Israel currently reuses 75% of its waste water every year. It is by far the world’s leading country in this field.
4. Israel is the only country that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees.
5. When the US Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within one day - and saved three victims from the rubble.

II. Photo Gallery documenting our activities

III. The Story Behind the Story of our logo/icon

IV. Inspiration: Israel – a page for members to post personal narratives of meaningful experiences while in Israel

V. Boston Globe article profiling our program (

* Roots in Israel outreach messaging is complemented by:
I. Informational columns written for the Temple Bulletin,
II. Roots related postings on the temple’s unofficial listserve,
III. Distribution of Jewish National Fund Blue Tzedakah Boxes to all congregants. These serve in the home as a constant reminder of our connection to Israel. A 'Roots' decal was created and applied to each JNF Blue Box prior to distribution. These 'pushkes' accompanied by an explanatory cover letter help each family teach their children and grandchildren the importance of regularly depositing coins and bills in support of the Land of Israel.
Tu B’Shevat Collection Week. On this holiday Brotherhood members transfered monies deposited in the Blue Boxes to JNF for counting and receipting. ( Upcoming high visibility opportunities will be at Brotherhood Shabbat and Collection Week II which is timed to coincide with Yom HaAtzmaut.

IV. Distribution of our Roots in Israel business cards. Supplies of these handy items displaying the web site and offering a QR code for direct web site linkage are prominently positioned in the shul’s Community Court. They are handed out individually when Brotherhood members speak about Roots one on one with congregants.

V. Events: During all Brotherhood sponsored programs, Roots is promoted both in introductory remarks by President Beckman, and by a visual display (see Photo Gallery ). Our greatest visibility occurred during the official Roots launch at the Annual Temple-wide Kickoff Barbecue in September. Brotherhood was mobilized in force handing out Roots/JNF Blue Boxes, speaking one on one with members about the program, and also manning the grills.

Page 2

Self Assessment
“ … to strengthen the Jewish knowledge and commitment of our members; to support the activities and objectives of our Congregation, and to stimulate the
ideals for which Judaism stands through educational initiatives…” These are core principles of our club’s By-laws. The Roots in Israel initiative addresses each of these tenets for the benefit of both club members and the wider shul community:
1. The continuous stream of Roots’ educational messaging enhances the congregation’s knowledge base of history, innovations, spirit and will that forged the miracle of Eretz Israel’s re-establishment after 2000 years of dispersion. This linkage solidifies the community’s commitment to Israel.
2. Our rabbi’s ‘Go to Israel’ call gains invaluable support by Roots’ program aimed first at connecting members to Israel.
3. Education is the essence of the Roots initiative. The outreach net we cast enables those within to embrace the land of Israel and Judaism’s ideals, both of which our people hold dear.

As we experience a combination of seeing parents and children bringing their coin filled Roots JNF Blue Boxes to Collection Week drives, receiving heartfelt testimonials from individual temple members, the shul’s lay and rabbinic leadership, and Brotherhood members, the impact Roots programming has had to date is unmistakable.

Testimonials about Roots in Israel programming and promotion in the media
from Temple Emanuel Members

Mazel tov! May you all go from strength to strength! AB

Great job. AN

Mazel Tov on this well deserved honor!
Rabbi Michelle Robinson

Congrats to you …… Great work! JS

Thanks to you for all the great work you do. MB

Yasher Koach on your collection! DT

What a lovely idea. SK

Great start. DB

We have received the blue box! Congratulations on putting together a great program in support of Israel. DT

Kol hakavod! How wonderful to see this fabulous picture and write-up in the Globe. Thank you for taking the lead and for launching this important initiative.
President Lisa Hills

I am so proud of you! May your wonderful work to increase understanding of Israel be blessed with success. I enjoyed the article and accompanying photo.
Congratulations on this superb initiative! BW

Kol hakavod to you on this wonderful initiative!
May our roots in Eretz Yisrael only deepen, and may this wonderful publicity help
this worthy project reach even more people.
Fondly, Rabbi Wes Gardenswartz

involving Jewish men in Jewish life
through leadership, innovation, community

It has been said “without the IDF, there would be no Israel and without Israel there would be no Jewish life”. Framed in another way, Israel is vital to Jewish life as we know it.

By creating Roots in Israel our club provided its members with important, innovative ways to be involved with Israel. As stated, to be involved with Israel is to be involved with Jewish life. How do we do it?
• We developed a messaging stream to educate the Temple Emanuel community about Israel’s history and its unique and positive impact on our world.
• We distributed JNF Blue Boxes to every temple family and revitalized the longstanding tradition, especially for our children, of dropping coins into these pushkes for the benefit of the land and people of Eretz Israel.
• We complement our rabbis’ call for congregants to travel to Israel, the best way for anyone to connect with our homeland.

Roots’ mission already resonates with a wide swath of the community as evidenced by feedback we’ve received (see Testimonials in the Impact section of this application) and the growing number of families filling their coin filled pushkes. As the program developed traction, it engaged additional Brotherhood members: for leadership roles, to create additional program ideas, and to forge bonds with individual members and groups within the temple community.

Our goal for the Roots concept is as a model for other men’s clubs regionally, nationally, and internationally. In so doing can involve countless men, and women, in FJMC’s mission of involving Jews in Jewish life.
Battling the propaganda war against Israel is an ongoing struggle. As the percentage of our population which experienced or remembers a time when the Jewish people did not have an independent state dwindles, the obligation to tell Israel's story and advocate for it becomes increasingly critical. Temple Emanuel's Brotherhood's Roots in Israel initiative has involved our members in this important obligation and provided a structure and a model for others to accomplishing the objectives.
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