In the Press – 2016

A Recreation Area in the Jerusalem Hills for Stephen Wolnek

Published in KKL – JNF
Tuesday, November 08, 2016

This lovely recreation area in Shoresh Forest commemorates the life, work and values of Dr. Stephen (“Steve”) Wolnek.

Family members and colleges gathering at the memorial stone

On November 3rd 2016 the family, colleagues and friends of the late Dr. Stephen (Steve) Wolnek gathered in Shoresh Forest to inaugurate a new recreation area that KKL-JNF has dedicated to his memory. The recreation area is situated on a site once occupied by a fortified military post that commanded a view of the Burma Road and provided a lifeline for Jerusalem when it was under siege during Israel’s War of Independence. Apart from its wonderful view of the Jerusalem Hills, the site symbolizes both Israel’s enduring strength and the quality of life it offers, two issues of prime importance for Steve.

Uganda’s Jews dream of recognition from Israel

Published in YNet
July 5, 2016

The Abayudaya, a small isolated community of African Jews from Uganda are hoping that when prime minister Natanyahu visits Uganda later this month he will lift visa restrictions on them so that they can come to study and pray in Israel.

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A Mid-Summer’s Night Dream: Voices of the Hattan and Kallah Ring out in Ukraine

Published in Jewish Philanthropy
By Rabbi Shlomo Zacharow
25 Sivan, 5776
July 1, 2016

“In the summer of 1998, I was blessed to witness a pivotal moment in Jewish history in the Former Soviet Union. I was present at the first Conservative wedding in the independent Ukraine, one of the first traditional huppot in the post-Soviet period. Tomorrow night (Motzei-Shabbat– July 2) I am scheduled to travel to the Ukraine for my ninth visit, God willing”.

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Bottom-up approach suggested for pluralism in Israel

Published in Canadian Jewish News
By Paul Lungen, Staff Reporter
May 20, 2016

“It’s long been suspected that most Israelis have a poor knowledge of Jewish religious practice and Jewish heritage, but Rabbi David Golinkin has the data to back it up – as well as a prescription for how to address it.

Eighty per cent of secular Israelis lack knowledge of their own religious faith, Rabbi Golinkin told the annual general meeting of Mercaz-Canada, Conservative Judaism’s Zionist advocacy organization”.

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Why Has “The Occupation” Lasted For 49 Years?

by Rabbi Alan Silverstein
President of Mercaz Olami

“Israelis long for a comprehensive and final agreement negotiated directly by the parties to the conflict and resulting in A Jewish State and Arab State living side-by-side in peace. In the absence of success, frustration continues to mount on all sides. For example, last Spring, Denis McDonough, White House chief of staff, addressed J Street and affirmed the administration’s dismay with “nearly 50 years of Israeli occupation.” Regrettably, he placed all of the blame for the stalemate upon the Jewish state’s alleged unwillingness to compromise. He threatened that the Administration would “need to re-evaluate our position” when it comes to Israel. Omitted was the assigning of any fault within the diplomatic shortfall to the Palestinian side. Such an omission is contradicted by the facts revealed during the past half-century of diplomacy.”.

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In Israel This Passover, non-Orthodox Converts Won’t Be Left Behind

Published in Haaretz
by Judy Maltz
Apr 21, 2016

A rabbi has crafted a special passage remembering the Reform and Conservative converts prohibited from using state-run ritual baths.

As millions of Jews around the world dip their vegetables into saltwater during the Passover seder Friday night, the Conservative movement wants them to remember those who cannot dip – into the mikveh, that is.
An Israeli-based rabbi affiliated with the movement has written a special passage, to be read before the traditional saltwater dipping, that addresses the plight of all those non-Orthodox converts in Israel prohibited from using state-run mikvehs, or ritual baths.

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Abayudaya Jewish Community in Uganda Recognized as a Masorti Olami Community

Published in Haaretz
by Judy Maltz
Apr 13, 2016

Ugandan Jews Make Stride in Gaining Formal Recognition From Israel

A community of Jewish converts in Africa has won an important concession in its struggle to gain formal recognition from the State of Israel.In an official letter sent to a leader of the Conservative Movement in Israel, the Jewish Agency has ruled that the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda are a “recognized” community. Only converts from officially recognized communities are eligible for citizenship in Israel under the Law of Return.

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Greek President Plants a Tree together with Rabbi Tzvi Graetz

Published in KKL – JNF
Monday, April 04, 2016

The President of Greece, HE Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulus, planted an olive tree in the Grove of Nations in Jerusalem at a ceremony on March 31, 2016.

The ceremony was held in honor of his visit marking twenty-five years of excellent diplomatic relations between Israel and Greece, and was attended by HE Spyridon Lampridis, the Greek Ambassador to Israel, and HE Irit Ben Abba, the Israeli Ambassador to Greece.

Silverstein again heads Conservative group

Published in New Jersey Jewish News
by NJJN Staff
March 16, 2016

Rabbi Alan Silverstein of Congregation Agudath Israel of West Essex in Caldwell has been elected president of MERCAZ Olami, the Zionist arm of the Conservative movement. He is serving a four-year term that began in February.

He succeeds Dr. Stephen Wolnek z”l, who died on Jan. 5.

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MERCAZ forces public rebuke of Swedish FM over anti-Israel remarks

by David Breakstone

We really do make a difference. Immediately following the Swedish Foreign Minister’s blatantly prejudicial accusations of extrajudicial killings of Palestinian terrorists by Israel, I reached out to the local Jewish community in my capacity as vice chairman of the WZO responsible for hasbara to see if there were something we could do. The end result was a special briefing held for legislators in the Riksdag, the Swedish parliament.

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