The Meaning of Yom Ha’azmaut for Jewish Organizations Around the World

For some Jewish organizations, one of the most difficult happy occasions to celebrate is Yom Ha’azmaut, Israel Independence Day. Of course for “Zionist organizations,” meaning those organizations that promote Israel and support for the Jewish state, this is a non-issue. These Israel advocacy organizations and educational institutions develop programs for their constituencies, their students, and the general community that seek to strengthen support and involvement with Israel and to celebrate the miracle of the establishment and continued growth of a Jewish state in today’s world. Similarly, the religious movements, excluding the anti-Zionist Charedi (Ultra-Orthodox) groups, work to support and strengthen Israel to varying degrees. For the most part, the more right leaning (observant of Jewish … [Read more...]

The Silver Platter: A Poem for Yom HaZikaron

Remembrance Day, Yom Hazikaron, which begins this evening - April 21st, is a day of collective and personal anguish mingled with honor for the fallen. The official events begin at 8:00 PM with a moment of national silence heralded by a one minute siren. This year we remember: A total of 23,320 men and women have been killed defending the land of Israel since 1860, the year the first Jewish settlers left the secure walls of Jerusalem to build new Jewish neighborhoods. In the past year, since Remembrance Day 2014, 116 members of the security forces - police, IDF, Border Police, Israel Security Agency and other organizations - have been killed in the service of the state.   "A State is not handed to a people on a silver platter." Chaim Weizmann, first president of Israel The Silver … [Read more...]

500 words on 4HQ and Yom Ha’atzmaut: When all the Question Marks turn to Exclamation Marks

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By Robbie Gringras Yom Ha’atzmaut? Again? This year of all years? Whenever I approach Yom Ha’atzmaut with a sinking feeling, I always remember the point made by Professor Yosef Klausner: “For three hundred and sixty-four days of the year we are busy with criticism. We criticize the nation’s priorities, and the nation’s leaders. We count the many mistakes that our leaders and ministers make… But a nation must have one day in a year that is a real celebration. On that single solitary day, all the prosecutions must cease, and the harsh criticism must stop…” Klausner wrote these words back in 1953, when the State of Israel was only 5 years old! So what is it that we should be celebrating on this one day? Ideally Yom Ha’atzmaut should mark one of the most significant events in Jewish … [Read more...]

Service: The Path Back In to Israel for Young Jews on Their Way Out

By Dr. Max Klau and Rabbi Sid Schwarz Jennifer (a pseudonym) is a 23 year old American Jew who grew up in a home that equated Zionism with racism. Like many secular, progressive young Americans, she spent her college years immersed in a campus culture that, at best, questioned the current policies of the state of Israel and, at worst, demonized the country as a pariah state with a dubious right to exist. It would be reasonable to count her among the 20% of young American Jews categorized as “Israel-Alienated” in the most recent Pew study of Jewish demographics. This is the growing cohort of rising Jewish adults who express negative sentiments regarding the Jewish state. So what is she doing in Israel? Jennifer is a participant on a long-term Israel experience run by Yahel, a five year old … [Read more...]

Takeaways from the First Impact Investing Israel Conference

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By Beth deBeer and Marina Leytes This is the second article (read the first article here) in a series of blogs dedicated to the growing impact investment field in Israel. Following the Doing Well By Doing Good conference held on March 16, 2015, there has been a continued momentum around impact investment opportunities in Israel. The goal of this article is to provide a brief overview of the conference, including key questions raised by the participants, and shed light on the path forward. The waves along the shoreline are low, while onlookers see a wind from a distance picking up force. Inside, four hundred people convene within the Carlton Hotel in Tel Aviv to discuss impact investing as the wave of the future. Global leaders set the stage providing an overview of the current state of impact … [Read more...]