IDF Delegation Explores Jewish Identity in the U.S.

MAHUTA unique delegation of IDF officers and commanders has visited the United States this month. They met local Jewish communities and organizations, exploring the Jewish history and their own identity.

This visit was part of the “MAHUT” project framework which is being carried out in partnership between Genesis Philanthropy Group, Friends of the IDF, the Educational  Corps of the IDF and Beit Morasha of Jerusalem: The Center for Advanced Judaic Studies and Leadership with a purpose of development of future Jewish leadership within the IDF and Israeli society, to clarify and strengthen the Jewish and Israeli identity of IDF officers and commanders through educational activities and an experiential journeys where they encounter the culture and history of Israel in general and the contribution of Russian speaking Jews throughout the history of modern Israel.

During the international MAHUT missions, delegations of IDF officers visit leading Jewish communities in Russia, Ukraine and the US, where they learn about the Jewish heritage and community life in Diaspora, explore and strengthen their roots, their motivation as IDF officers and their Jewish-Israeli identity.

In the course of the mission to the US, the delegation, commanded by Col. Zvi Haimovich, Commander of the Active Defense Wing in the Israel Air Force (which includes the “Iron Dome” anti-missile batteries), has visited New York, New Jersey and Brandeis University and met the vast variety of Jewish leaders and organizations, with special focus on Russian-speaking communities. Jewish On the eve of the VE Day, celebrating the triumph of the Allies over Nazi Germany,
the MAHUT delegation had an especially emotional meeting with the American Jewish veterans, warriors of the Allied armies. For those brave men, who risked their lives to bring about the end of the night of Nazism and saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of fellow Jews from extinction, those young Israeli officers – and the Jewish veterans of the recent American wars against dictatorship and terrorism who joined them – were an embodiment of a new generation of Jewish defenders of freedom, which follows in their footsteps.

In the spirit of partnership and unbreakable alliance between Israel and the United States, the delegates finished their journey at the United States Military Academy in West Point, where they met the cadets and took part in special joint educational event – Defense Strategic Studies Classes with the focus on Israeli Defense Forces.

While the Educational branch of the IDF sees the MAHUT initiative as an important tool for raising motivation of the young officers and connecting the new generation of IDF commanders with the Jewish communities abroad, for the Executive Director of Genesis Philanthropy Group in Israel Sana Britavsky, the best possible outcome from the program is the new and strong connection of the participating officers – both Israeli-born and olim – to their Jewish identity and the sense of the Jewish peoplehood which unites Israel and the Diaspora. “To be able to contribute to such unique endeavor in partnership with the army and Friends of the IDF, to listen to the delegates after the completion of their mission and to witness the transformation in their thinking about the Jewish people and their own place in our common history – it is a great privilege for us in Genesis”, she says.

photo courtesy Genesis Philanthropy Group