Masorti for Israel Forum –
OPEN MEETING: Israel in the Communities
June 6th 2012
Barend V (NNLS + Israel Forum co-chair), Shirley F (KNM + Israel Forum co-chair), Nick G (NNLS + Masorti co-chair), Clive S (NNLS + Masorti co-chair), Liron V (NNLS Youth), Barbara G (EMS), Nigel L (BHMS), Rosalind C (KNM), Paul C (KNM), Daniella K (NNLS + Masorti), Gillian C (NNLS + Mercaz), David K (NLS), Rafi K (SAMS), Avigail S (Shlicha).
EBMC, New Stoke Newington Shul, HEMS, communities outside of London.
Meeting Agenda + Minutes
1. Israel Update.
· Newspaper articles about current affairs in Israel were handed out; we read them and discussed the issues raised.
2. Every community will present their relationship with Israel.
· Most communities present have some sort of Israel activities going on.
· Many Israel activities seem to be focused on youth (e.g. SAMS Cheder, EMS Bar/Bat Mitzva group, NNLS Have I Got Jews for You, etc.).
· The biggest challenges that are common to many communities are:
i. engaging people; attendance; apathy
ii. reaching out to younger generations; age group differences
iii. hostility and negativity towards Israel
iv. Tikkun Olam has taken the place of Zionism (e.g. KNM, NNLS)
v. 2nd Generation Syndrome – the older generations are positive towards Israel no matter what – they lived through the Six-Day War, etc. – and the younger generations feel disenchanted (e.g. BHMS, EMS)
3. List of communities' needs, wants and challenges.
· Need to celebrate Israel, not only talk about politics. Show off the positive sides of Israel as well. Not just Yom Ha'atzmaut, but also Yom Yerushalayim which isn't as celebrated in the UK, Israeli films, Israeli wine tasting, Israeli dancing, etc.
· Want more Israel education (e.g. advocacy sessions). These sessions are very successful in some communities (e.g. BHMS) and can be in others as well.
· Want everyday Hebrew – Ivrit – as opposed to Hebrew used in religious services.
· It's challenging to bring people in to activities about current events in Israel – people don't always look to their synagogues for Israel Updates, with so many other news sources available. But some people do, so these activities should continue, as well as other types of Israel activities.
4. Discussion: What does it mean to the communities that there won't be a Shaliach? What is the place of the Masorti for Israel Forum?
· After the Shlichut, there will be no professional whose job it is to make sure that Israel activities take place (especially in the smaller communities). Some solutions:
i. Like minded (e.g. NLS + EMS + BHMS in regards to 2nd Gen Syndrome, BHMS + KNM in regards to egalitarianism, etc.) and physically close (e.g. EBMC + SAMS, BHMS + NSNS, etc.) communities should partner in order to insure events and activities take place and there is a good turn out.
ii. Small communities should host events and invite the larger communities to them to insure turn out and make them better known and active in Masorti Judaism.
iii. In general, communities should publicise Israel activities going on so that people from other communities can come if they want.
· The Masorti for Israel Forum will meet regularly and collect information about the activities going on, and will send this information to the communities.
· The Masorti for Israel Forum will try to update a part of the Masorti Judaism website (as well as updating Lishma) – about Israel and Israel activities in the communities. This will happen when the Masorti website re-launches.
5. Break into working groups.
This was not done. Instead we brainstormed Tachles (tangible) ideas together:
· There will be a wine-tasting event at SAMS – open to all communities.
· Create an Ulpan Ivrit for Masorti.
· Since each community likes to do Yom Ha'atzmaut separately, we can focus on holding a Yom Yerushalayim event as a cross-communal event.
· The next meeting will take place towards the end of July – date TBD.