Give Masorti Jews a Seat at the Table

Pictured: MERCAZ Olami and the European RA Praying Mincha at the Kotel.

MERCAZ makes our voice heard across the Jewish world, is vital to the existence of every program we run globally, and gives our movement a seat at the table.

This is the message the 36 delegates to MERCAZ Olami convention heard throughout the week-long strategic seminar in Neve Ilan, Israel this past January. During the session, delegates were briefed on the inner workings of MERCAZ, wrote a strategic plan for the upcoming 2020 WZO elections and raising MERCAZ’s profile in their communities and devised ways to bring out the vote in 2020.

“A strong MERCAZ is what supports Masorti Olami, NOAM and Marom. MERCAZ is the key to everything we do” says Rabbi Alan Silverstein, President of MERCAZ Olami. “We need to let people know that their vote in the MERCAZ elections directly effects Jewish life in their communities”.

Participants to the MERCAZ Seminar arrived from: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, UK, Ukraine, USA, and Uruguay. The opening dinner featured a speech by Dr. Ruth Calderon on Israel and Jewish identity, and the next day delegates met with Masorti Israel CEO Yizhar Hess before spending the morning at the Knesset in meetings with our coalition partner in Yesh Atid MK Yair Lapid and opposition leader MK Isaac (Bougie) Herzog and MK Tzipi Livni as well as Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein. That afternoon they met members of the European Rabbinical Assembly for Mincha at the Ezrat Israel egalitarian plaza at the Kotel before hearing Prof. Arnie Eisen, Chancellor of JTS talk about Zionism vs. Judaism.

Tuesday was a daylong session on the inner workings of MERCAZ, including an analysis of the 2015 and a plan for a successful campaign in 2020. Delegates also had the opportunity to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Masorti Israel at their all-day limmud session on Wednesday and to attend the magnificent Gala dinner that night. Other topics featured included the funding of non-Orthodox streams, engagement of the youth sectors and future educational programs and projects.