International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

Connect - The Joint Faction Newsletter - First Issue, 2016

  • Newsletter Update

    The Joint Faction in the National Institutions
    We are pleased to launch this first Joint Faction newsletter informing of our activities in the National Institutions. The purpose of the newsletter is to update all members in Israel and around the world about the activities of all elected faction officials in Zionist institutions. We hope that through regular updates and maintaining contact, we can expand the cooperation between the various parties and enhance our joint activity and influence in the National Institutions, creating a stronger, more effective Zionist movement which operates with transparency and good governance.

    *pay attention: to complete reading the mail click on the link on the bottom of the page.

    KK"L – Chair Daniel Atar
    Since the entry of JNF chairman Daniel Atar and the Joint Faction to the KK"L management, the processes of identifying and strengthening weaknesses in the organization, determining the work procedures and the application of transparency have begun. All of these procedures are designed to re-build public confidence in the KK"L and transform the organization into a paragon of proper public management, and an organization of which every Jew in Israel and the world can be proud.
    This is a summary of the steps taken in the past five months: establish a team to correct deficiencies that arose in a draft report on the organization; confirm a target date for writing KKL's procedures and then begin implementation by the end of 2016. In addition, it was decided that the KKL will operate in full transparency, a summary of discussions and policy decisions have been published on the website. A decision waspassed at the Annual General Assembly that requires all members of management and the board to sign a strict no conflict of interest document. Further, procedures for building the budget will be adjusted and updated to respond to comments made in the National Institutions Comptroller's audit report as well as that of the State Comptroller.
     One of the main goals that the KK"L management has set for the organization is development of the   sustainable environment with the aim of utilizing the knowledge and resources of the organization to make Israel cleaner and greener. To realize this goal, especially in the peripheral areas, KK"L started a thinking process with the GOIMinistry of the Environment. As a result, it was decided that in the next two years KKL will install solar electrical panels on the roofs of residential buildings in peripheral areas. These panels generate electricity from sunlight and help reduce air pollution. They can provide an income stream from the sale of excess energy back to the electricity grid. The profits will go directly to the renovation of buildings, courtyards and their maintenance. Thus, the environment is benefiting residents and peripheral entities. This is the first project of a series of national projects that KKL will begin implementing soon. To read more, click here for the article in Kalkalist and here for the morning news program on Channel 2.
    Another project, no less important, is the electric bus project. According to this plan, KK"L will allocate NIS 20 million for the purchase of electric buses that will be operated by the public transportation companies. The goal of this project is the reduction of air pollution that currently claims the lives of 1,250 people a year in Israel. Together with our partners we are saving lives and improving quality of life. To read more, click here.
    Photo on the right: Daniel Atar at the opening of a path of renewed energies in the Chagit Forest. Photo on the left: Various sites during Hol HaMoed Pesach.
    Head of the Department for Diaspora Activities  
    Gusti Yehoshua-Braverman
    My friends, I am pleased to share a "little taste" of the abundance of activities in the Department for Diaspora Activities. In recent months, following the Congress, in addition to our regular task, we worked on developing new programs that encourage Zionist dialogue in Israel and Diaspora communities and we are just getting started.
    Department staff here and worldwide are happy to help you implement these programs in your movements and organizations. We welcome your comments and feedback.
    Tightrope: A new brochure of "Beit HaAm" was published recently – the brochure discusses the complex issues that arise in the Supreme Court of the State of Israel: being a Jewish state on the one hand and democracy on the other; between fundamental laws dealing with human dignity and liberty and the security needs of the state. The booklet raises and encourages an open dialogue on basic and fundamental issues that are frequently raised in the public arena. In the coming months there will be an official festive launch of the new brochure at an academic conference.
    United States "a nation on wheels" - Department envoy in North America, Rotem Malach organized "shuttle diplomacy" in 15 American communities including: Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, Montgomery, New Orleans, Miami and others in January.  During his visit he ran workshops on "Beit HaAm" on issues of democracy versus Jewish values ​​and security needs. Other workshops focused on issues of concern to the communities. He marketed and successfully sold department materials and strengthened the connection with key individuals in the communities. The trip was so successful, and evoked so many positive reactions, that a second trip took place in May in Canada.
    We continue to empower leadership, as in previous years. The Department held a leadership seminar in San Francisco, with 55 students and young leaders from across the US and Canada. The seminar included workshops and lectures on personal empowerment, tools for effective leadership and encouraging the development of initiatives on Israel and Judaism.
    In Germany folks are excited about the new partnerships that is being developed:in January 2016, Yael Dinur began her position as a WZO emissary in Germany. During the first two months of work, she expanded and deepened ties of the Department with a variety of Jewish and Israeli organizations. At a meeting between Yael and Hillel representatives in Berlin, it was determined that the Department for Activities in the Diaspora will assist in developing the "Israel Education" realm, so that participants in Hillel can enjoy Zionist-educational content that is both relevant and innovative. The two organizations are very excited about working together!
    France: Israeli Caravan in the French Alps – Earlier this week a caravan representing the Department travelled between 9 winter camps through the snowy landscape of the French Alps. Bringing music, creativity and content to Bar Mitzvah aged campers the caravan brought programs and activities that were a continuation of their experience last summer in Israel. The boys sang and danced into the night. Later this year, there will be additional activities for this group.
    Argentina: Leading and enjoying - 80 young Jews from 10 provinces gathered together in Santa Fe for a long weekend of learning about Zionism, culture and fun, led by Ronen Feller, Department Envoy in Ferney. TaMaR, KK"L and Maccabi Federation Clubs were partners at the event.
    Photo on the right: 80 Jewish youth from 10 provinces gathered in Santa Fe, Arg. for a long weekend of Zionist study. Photo on left: The annual leadership seminar in San Francisco.
    Head of the WZO Education Department 
    Silvio Joskowicz
    At the last Zionist Congress it was decided to establish the World Zionist Organization Department of Education headed by Mr. Silvio Joskowicz.
     The question "What is a Zionist education today?" was answered by the design of the department's vision in the spirit of the Jerusalem Program of the World Zionist Organization:
     "Ensuring the future and the uniqueness of the Jewish People by furthering Jewish, Hebrew and Zionist education; by fostering Jewish spiritual and cultural values, and imparting Hebrew as the language of the Jewish People."
    The Department has created a work plan based on multiple objectives that it has set for itself as part of the vision and goals for the next five years, among them:
    1. Positioning the World Zionist Organization as the leading Zionist education organization in Israel and the Diaspora
    2. Empowering Jewish Zionist identity and the connection to Israel among Jews in Israel and the Diaspora through the teaching of the Hebrew language
    3. Cooperating with the Israeli government in the promotion and operation of Zionist educational projects
    4. Expansion of the World Zionist Organization in formal and informal education in Israel and the Diaspora and creating and producing the latest educational, innovative and technological tools in Zionist education in Israel and the Diaspora.
     Despite the short time as head of the Department, it is already possible to see   the first signs of realizing the vision and objectives. The teachers-as-emissaries program faces significant expansion reflected in an increase of more than 10% of the number of emissaries. These teacher-emissaries are being sent to a number of new countries as well as to Reform, Conservative and pluralistic schools. The expectation for 2016-7 is that there will be 200 teacher-emissaries throughout the Jewish world!!!
     The expansion of Hebrew learning, the responsibility of the Department, began successfully with the marking of Hebrew month in North America during March. Emissaries were sent to the Miami and New York metropolitan areas. In addition, the Department will be launching 4 new kits for teaching Hebrew in the Diaspora in June 2016 and will be holding a major conference about teaching Hebrew in the UK in collaboration with the prestigious Cambridge University.
     The Department also began operating in Israel and will cooperate with the Berl Katznelson Foundation and the Council for Preparatory Army Service on the creation of 3 Zionist conferences on education, among them the commemoration of Yitzchak Rabin’s assassination. This year, the department also began supporting 2 Preparatory Army Service Programs.
     The Department also began preparing a unique Internet portal: the first of its kind for Zionist Israel and Diaspora educators. At the same time, the Department also announced its support for the participation of Zionist educators at conferences, being held in cooperation with local federations in Australia and Mexico.
     This is just a small description of activities and accomplishments and a peek at what is planned for the next 12 months and beyond.

    Photo on the right: Seminar on teaching Israel to educational workers in Diaspora schools. Photo on the left: Silvio Joskowicz, Head of the Educational Department

     Director of the Herzl Center
    Dror Morag
    In recent months, the Herzl Center has been working to strengthen cooperationwith youth movements in Israel – adult movements in central Israel and the periphery, pre-army programs and one year service and abroad.
    The spirit of Herzl's vision of a model society and universal values ​​in which he believed, the Center aims to serve as a bridge between elements of Israeli society, and an educational center to broaden the knowledge about Herzl and his legacy to the entire Israeli society, in the belief that this foundation will serve as a basis for improving the dialogue and the positioning of the political discourse in Israel to one that is more accepting and tolerant. We are working on improving the status of the Herzl Legacy andits implementation through the work of heads of government like Begin and Rabin; attracting new audiences to the Center such as Holocaust survivors, people withdisabilities, lone soldiers and new immigrants. Leadership program content of the Herzl Center enriches these populations, and their experiences enrich us. We held many activities for those pre army one year service in all the youth movements in particular the blue (labor, Shomer HaTzair, etc.) movements. Activities were organized for Young Judea, Habonim Dror and the World Hashomer Hatzair. May the 1st was marked with HaShomer Hatzair. Labor and Reform Movement also attended seminars. All of these activities were done equally with all movements.
    Many projects are about to be implemented, and I urge everyone to come, get an impression, take part and help spread the vision we all share. In this way we will succeed in the tikkun or healing process so needed in this beloved country.
    Stream Activities 
    Shai Pinto

    World Reform Zionist Youth Conference (Netzer):


    A Netzer (Reform Zionist Youth) conference was held in January 2016 at Beit Shmuel-Mercaz Shimshon, Jerusalem. Netzer is the worldwide Reform youth movement of theWorld Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ). Thirty-one representatives of the movement from branches in 14 countries, speaking 9 different languages attended. Participants gathered together for five intensive days of Zionism, connection to Israel, Hebrew and group study, during which they discussed issues relating to the future of Zionism, the study of Hebrew, combating anti-Semitism and the BDS movement, the refugee crisis worldwide, the significance of building a supportive Zionist community, imparting ​​Zionist educational values into the agenda of programs for all ages, encouraging Aliyah, and strengthening personal and inter-branch connections between Israel, Zionism and Judaism.


    Participants learned, experienced, prayed, connected and received an adrenalin boost of love for the people and the country: something they will take back with them to theirvarious branches around the world. The leadership of the Netzer Zionist youth movement conveyed a universal message of support for Jerusalem at this time.

    Photo: opening ceremony of the World Netzer Conference with Netzer graduates who made Aliyah, emissaries and "Shnat Netzer" participants (training program of the Reform youth movement).

    Biennial conference of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, European (EUPJ)

    A record number of delegates attended the European Union for Progressive Judaism's"Bridging" London, Biennial April 14-17. Over 350 participants from 29 countries, including 86 rabbis and rabbinical students were in attendance.

    This conference represented an opportunity for participants to discuss a variety of topics calling for maintaining and strengthening the connection between Jewish communities around the world, particularly in Europe, to Progressive Judaism and Israel. Other topics discussed included: the position of Zionism and Israel in the European Communities, how to engage the Millennials in the movement and connect them to Israel, how to deepen the relationship between the European communities and Israel, training rabbis and the inclusion of the LGBT community.

    Photo: The opening ceremony of the EUPJ Biennial, London, April, 2016

    International Beit Din Symposium

     In February, the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) hosted the first International Symposium of the Beit Din for Reform rabbis from around the world. Twenty Rabbis from 12 countries met at the headquarters of the World Union in Jerusalem for an intensive rabbinic dialogue on important issues in the Jewish world.

     Each of the participants is responsible for their community’s Reform courts, which oversee conversion and marriage. The program included the study of texts on changing attitudes toward conversion, intermarriage and single-sex marriages, increase in conversion requirements to make Aliyah, and the proper use of technology during the conversion process.

    Photo: First International Beit Din Symposium hosted by the World Union for Progressive Judaism in Jerusalem.

    The Joint Faction’s Activities in WZO Committees

    Dalya Levy

    Since the Congress, amongst the most important developments in the WZO has been the creation of the new departments that were the mandated by the wall-to-wall coalition agreement. Developing their vision, establishing budgets and selecting staff was a challenging process. Today the WZO is working through all of its departments, new and old, to provide meaningful Zionist education, programs and activities for both the Diaspora and Israel.

    One of the key challenges in this period was to pass an equitable budget and our faction was very active in this process. As a result of our numerous clarifications members of the B&F committee received copies of the departments’ full work plans and there was full disclosure on every budget item.

    The Presidium held a one-day seminar at Mount Herzl to learn more about its functions and the responsibilities of the members. Our faction was strongly represented and actively engaged in the proceedings.

    As a result of our protests and pressure, including letters to the Chair of the Zionist General Council, Helena Glazer, and to the Chair of the WZO, Avraham Duvdevani, theJoint Faction was able to spearhead a campaign, which gained international support, to change the date of the VHP from a 1½ day Shabbaton to a full 3-day event.

    The challenge now is to make the VHP more significant and to ensure that our faction’s resolutions that were not passed at the Congress are approved at the upcoming Vaad Hapoel this November.

    The Joint Faction in WZO Committees

    Yaron Shavit
    Our first challenge in the WZO Executive was to help Gusti and Silvio stabilize the departments they were elected to (Department of Activities in the Diaspora and the new Department of Education). The first challenge was staffing personnel, and implementing the division of responsibilities between the various departments. The second and most challenging, was our impact on the budget of the WZO for the coming year, so as to enable these departments to operate effectively and to influence the agenda of the Zionist movement.
    At the same time, we began examining the work plans of each department, influenced the building to strengthen the top issues on the agenda of the Joint Faction.
    In addition, we are working to correct and update the management regulations of the WZO in a way that enables the executive members to have more of an impact, and at the same time are working to formulate a general wording preventing conflicts of interest, which require special attention in order to allow members to operate as emissaries of organizations, movements and parties and to avoid a personal conflict of interest.
    We held the first extended faction meeting and agreed to hold several such meetings throughout the year with one meeting to be held around the convening of the Vaad HaPoel so as to enable the representatives abroad to be present physically! The first meeting has already produced "Task Forces", in order for us to be effective and make good use of the time it takes until the next Congress!
    Joint Faction Task Forces
    At the Joint Faction meeting held December 27, 2015 we decided to establish Task Forces within the various National Institutions to promote key issues on our shared agenda. You can read the complete protocol of the meeting here.
    The task forces were established:
    Task force to promote issues of religion and state and pluralistic Judaism (cooperation between the Zionist arena and that of the Knesset) – Attorney Shimi Baron - has not yet given a report.
    Task force for promoting social justice – Ravid Azoulai has not yet given a report
    Task force for education and leadership development – Sergio Edelstein
    Task force to promote Jewish Agency programs – Rani Trainin
    Task force to promote implementation of the values of the Declaration of Independence – Dror Morag - report has not yet been given
    Task force on media and communication – Oria Caspi – see newsletter
    Taskforce – Youth Movement Activity
    Faction committee members gathered for the first time at a meeting and defined the committee’s goals and ways of implementation. The following objectives were agreed upon:
    ·       To support youth movements (through Hagshama movements where necessary) in all National Institution frameworks in particular and any other framework deemed appropriate.
    ·       To enable and strengthen the movements, transfer of shared ideological content, while leveraging their influence in thousands of households in the Diaspora.
    ·       To increase our influence in the National Institutions to transfer content to various frameworks in Israel and the Diaspora.
    ·       To build a reserve of young leadership in each community, through organizing seminars dedicated to leadership issues, politics and Zionist work, etc.
    The following operative steps were finalized
    ·       Construction of reservoir of potential lecturers, who share the faction's views.
    ·       Holding a pilot leadership seminar this year in English and Spanish.
    ·       Synchronization of all the factors that can help.

    Photo: Movement Identity Seminar for all youth movement leaders in Latin America

    Taskforce – Joint Faction Activity in the Jewish Agency

    Committee participants: Rani Trainin, Moran Israeli, David Bernstein, Hila Drechler, Philip Meltzer (New York).


    A. During a meeting in late February 2016, team goals were defined and it was agreed to expand the number of members of the Faction on the BOG Committees and in the Agency’s enterprises.

    B. It was agreed that the "Kotel" issue and government implementation of rulings will be discussed at the next BOG in late June in Paris.

    C. Procedures and preparations for the implementation of Section A framework of June BOG meetings were set.


    Thanks to all those involved,


    Wishing you continued fruitful activity,


    The Joint Faction in the National Institutions.
    Copyright © 2016 סיעה משותפת המוסדות הלאומיים, All rights reserved. 

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