August/September 2016
CURRENT PERSPECTIVES                                 
Soon after the 562 athletes of the US Olympic team entered the stadium for the Opening Games of the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, Israel's delegation of 48 athletes followed. Learn more about the Israeli team here .
Before the games began, while so much of the world was wondering if Rio would be ready for the games, the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach led a memorial service in honor of the 11 Israeli athletes who were killed in a terrorist attack at the 1972 Munich games. "It finally felt like closure," Ankie Spitzer, wife of slain fencing coach Andre Spitzer, said during the ceremony. For many years, many people have pressured the IOC to memorialize that attack, and it finally happened on August 3. Read more here.

For fashion watchers, Israel was a highlight at the Opening Ceremonies. USA Today listed Israel as second in its " best parade of nations outfits ."
And then there are the incidents that betray the Olympic Games aspirational spirit of cooperation between nations. Last Friday, the head of the Lebanese delegation blocked Israeli athletes from boarding a bus to transport them to the opening games. The Olympic committee held a hearing and denounced the action .
Duck Dynasty's Legacy?
While Israel's Olympic athletes are competing in sports like sailing, shooting, and swimming, another Israeli athlete is making his name in the unlikely sport of NASCAR, which stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. Ashdod native Alon Day is poised to make history when he debuts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this week.
From the NBA to Hapoel Jerusalem
In case you missed it, NBA star Amar'e Stoudemire announced that he signed a two-year deal to play with the Israeli basketball team Hapoel Jerusalem. Stoudemire, who strongly supports Israel and talks about his Hebrew roots, said, "If I receive [Israeli] citizenship, I'll play on the national team."
Intifada, not Elections, says the Islamic Jihad
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad has announced that it will boycott the Oct. 8 Palestinian municipal elections, choosing resistance rather than civic change through voting. " Our people's first national need is liberation from the occupation, which will only happen through resistance and escalating and developing the intifada." Read more here .
SodaStream hires hundreds
Two years ago, under pressure from international activists, SodaStream closed its West Bank factory in Maale Adumim, leaving some 500 Palestinian employees without work. The company has since opened a plant in the Negev that now employs about 1,400 employees , one-third of them Bedouin.
American Jews Argue about Zionism and Israel
American Jewish historians Hasia Diner (a Milwaukee native) and Margorie Feld sparked a public argument over Zionism with an article titled, "We're American Jewish Historians. This is Why We've Left Zionism Behind." In response, historian Jonathan D. Sarna wrote , "They reject the 'naïve delusion' and 'propaganda' they were taught about Israel and Zionism. But [Diner and Feld] have adopted just as facile arguments and incendiary claims against Zionism." Noah Efron wrote , "We don't need Diner and Feld to be Zionists, nor to 'Stand with Israel.' We need them to bring the same humanity and discernment they show writing the history of Jews in other times and places to their analysis of the situation in Israel."


June and July were months of transitions, travelling and hosting delegations.
Our son Daniel, graduated MJDS and delivered a speech that a native English speaker would have been proud of. He has come a long way in 2 years and will transition into Nicolet high school.
As a family, we took a road trip, enjoyed the fabulous outdoors North America has to offer, and returned to our home away from home, Milwaukee.
Our daughter, Neta just returned from Interlaken, where she spent a month, making friends and feeling right at home.
Our son, Yonatan went to BBYO's ILTC, building his leadership skills for the future and feeling at home among his peers.
We hosted the Partnership2Gether Steering Committee from Israel's (Sovev Kinneret region), Tulsa, Madison and St. Paul in June.
For many of the Israeli delegates, Milwaukee means home. The same can be said for the Yaad Shay Shoshany Young Leadership group or our Teen Mifgash who just left. Some of them will apply to be Shin shins. Every August, our Shin shins leave Milwaukee after a year of intense experiences, only to come back again and again, for bar mitzvahs and weddings.
What is it about this place that makes so many people feel at home? Read more

Amit Yaniv-Zehavi
Community Shlichah 

P.S. Feel free to contact me at

Destination Israel teaching Fellows
After participating in Eisendrath International Experience (EIE), a high school semester program of the Reform movement, Marissa Steinhofer knew she wanted to go back to Israel for longer period of time. This past year, Marissa was accepted to Destination Israel teaching Fellows a MASA program involving teaching English to Israeli children. Marissa's program site was Ashdod, where she and 14 other Americans worked at 9 elementary schools to help small groups of 3rd-6th graders learn English. Their work reinforced skills the students were learning in a larger classroom setting. In addition to working, the program includes an Ulpan, where Marissa learned Hebrew for 3 hours a week and free weekends during which Marissa visited friends throughout Israel, including a friend who gave her a behind-the-scenes tour of the Ramat Gan safari. Marissa had an incredible experience and being in Israel for a longer helped her understand its complexity. This is a great program for someone who loves kids and make a difference in Israeli society.

Shtisel: Season 2 - Israeli TV Show
September 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 * 7 pm
Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC, 6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd.
Anti-Judaism: Past & Present, a Lecture from Dr. David Nirenberg
September 6 * 7 pm
Marquette University, 1250 W. Wisconsin Ave
Speaker Event: Yoram Ettinger
September 18 * 3 pm
Peltz Center for Jewish Life, 2233 W. Mequon Rd.
Zohara Yaniv Bachrach - Israel: Healing Traditions Across Diverse Cultures
September 19 * 7 pm
Urban Ecology Center, 1500 E. Park Place

Parents Circle, Families Forum - Bereaved Families Supporting Peace, Reconciliation, and Tolerance
September 22 * 7 pm
Location TBD



The Israel Center, a department of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, serves as Israel's central address in the greater Milwaukee community. Our mission is to create connections between the people of Israel and Milwaukee through cultural, professional, educational and travel experiences. These connections are developed in part through Shlichut and Partnership2Gether, two programs that are made possible through the Milwaukee Jewish Federation's partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel. Learn more.


Questions? Email or call Rabbi Hannah Greenstein, VP outreach, Israel and overseas, at 414-390-5764. 

The Jewish Community Relations Council, a department of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, builds strategic relationships to protect and defend Jews, individually and collectively. Our mission is to speak as the representative of the Jewish community on issues of public affairs and public policy by convening and mobilizing the Jewish community through education, advocacy, social justice, and support for Israel.
Learn more at or contact Elana Kahn through email or by calling 414-390-5736.