March 2016

Yom HaAtzmaut in Milwaukee:

The first time I experienced celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut outside of Israel, was in the Jewish community of Finchley, London. I was with an Israeli teen delegation and we were very surprised and moved to find the school we were visiting all decorated in blue and white, including a huge Israeli flag cake, dances, singing and celebrations!

My experience has been similarly moving. So many miles away from Israel, Milwaukeeans celebrate the declaration of Israel as an independent state. In fact, Yom HaAtzmaut in Milwaukee is the largest annual gathering of the Jewish community.

What I did not expect, however, was the incredible amount of support for Israel outside of the Jewish community. Israel may be the historic Jewish homeland, but other faith backgrounds also celebrate Israel. For that reason, this year we are expanding our invitation to celebrate Israel to the entire Milwaukee community and we are holding the event at the Milwaukee County War Memorial, a space claimed by all who live in this city that is my second home.

I am excited for what has been planned for this year. The main focus of the event is our "Walk for Israel". We will be gathering for a kick off at the War Memorial at 4pm, in the presence of special guests, community notables, elected officials and clergy. We will hear songs from our children and then accompanied by music, banners and designed T-shirts, we will march through Veteran's Park in support of Israel.

Returning to the War Memorial, there will be Israeli food, live music and family activities

Buses will be provided from central locations and free parking will be offered at the event. Groups are encouraged to have kick-off events at their congregations or clubs and there is also a group of bicycle riders who will cycle over together.

So, this is how you can begin being involved:
If you would like to participate in the walk flash mob, see this enewsletter for details.

Talk to your synagogue or youth group to organize a kick-off event.

Volunteer at the event.

Tell your friends and plan to be there!

We are counting down to May 15th and we hope we can count on your participation to make this event great.

Amit Yaniv-Zehavi
Community Shlichah 

PS Feel free to contact me at
This is a new feature in our enewsletter highlighting a program in Israel and a Milwaukeean's experience on that program. If you know a potential contributor, please contact Rabbi Hannah 414-390-5764.

Birthright Israel
Birthright Israel provides a gift of a peer group educational trip to Israel for young adults ages 18-26 from around the world. The goal is for young Jewish people to come to Israel to see it, experience it, talk about it, and think about what Israel means for them and the Jewish people. Learn more about Birthright.
This winter, Milwaukeean Lauren Kohlenberg participated in Birthright. Here are her reflections on her experience:
I didn't think I'd ever make it to Israel, and it didn't make that
much of a difference to me whether or not I did before I went on Birthright. After Birthright, I can't imagine not being able to go back. Birthright provided an experience of a lifetime for me. If I had to pinpoint a time in my life at which I felt like I finally came into my own, it would be on my Birthright trip to Israel.

Growing up, I never felt extremely connected to my Jewish Identity. I was raised under the religion, I celebrated the holidays, I went to synagogue and Sunday school, and I had a Bat-Mitzvah. Despite all of that, I craved the opportunity to find a connection to Judaism and Israel that I had not been able to find up to that point. When registration came around, I decided to take the chance provided to me and to listen to the encouragement of those around me like our Israeli fellow, Shay. I signed up for Birthright on a whim, but still didn't think much of it. It wasn't until I was running around the London Heathrow airport or shielding others and myself from the rain on the tarmac in Tel-Aviv that I realized I was in the right place at the right time.

  Over the course of ten days I was not only able to explore a country I'd never expected to go to and make friends with people I'd probably never have gotten the chance to meet without Birthright, but I was able to discover something within myself that had been missing: A sense of connection to Israel and the Jewish people.

  From climbing Masada, to floating in the Dead Sea, to stargazing in the Negev, I was able to see the country of Israel from a perspective never provided to me in school geography classes. I was able to experience this beautiful country firsthand and to see its flaws, its successes, and overall its realities.

  There were, of course, ups and downs of the trip, but never once did I feel lonely, disinterested, or unsupported. I was able to plant my roots in Israel just as others in my family had, and I was able to create an experience for myself that no one else would ever be able to recreate. My personal history is now intertwined with that of Israel and that is one of the most special things I have ever been able to experience.

  Not only do I now have a second home in Israel, but I also have a Mispacha, a family; my fellow participants, our leaders, our guide, and our Israeli soldiers that share with me the memory of this incredibly special and unique trip of a lifetime.
Each year, Partnership2Gether looks for four families to host our Shinshin young Israel Emissaries for about 4 months. These emissaries are busy working with 500 children throughout the Milwaukee community, but need warm families to come home to when their work is done.
If you are interested in hosting a Shinshin this year, or in upcoming years, or have questions about the program, please contact Rabbi Hannah, 414-390-5764.

May 26 - June 2, 2016
JFNA LGBTQ Mission to Israel 2016
Local and national subsidies are available.
Join members of the LGBTQ community from across North America for this groundbreaking mission to Israel! Encounter Israel and Federation as a community through a uniquely LGBTQ lens. Spend three nights in Jerusalem and four in Tel Aviv, as well as glimmer at the beautiful sights of Israel's North. Relax in the comforts of leading Israeli hotels. Meet with Israel's top LGBTQ politicians, business leaders and innovators and learn what is being done to advance the rights of the LGBTQ community. Spend time with IDF Soldiers and Officers. Be inspired by incredible sites where Federations are changing lives every day. Experience Israeli culture, cuisine and character as a community. Options are available to extend for Tel Aviv Pride. Register here .
Questions? Email or call Jake Velleman at 414-390-5727.

Flash Mob
Rehearsals start March 13 (performance on May 15)
Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC
6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay
Make Milwaukee's Yom HaAtzmaut celebration special by joining our flash mob! No dance experience necessary.
For more information print flyer or c ontact Allison Hayden , 414-390-5724.
Co-sponsored by the Harry & Rose Sampson Family Jewish Community Center and the Milwaukee Jewish Federation

Israel Folk Dancing  
Mondays * 7:30-9:30 pm
Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC
6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay
Teaching and dancing for beginners is often held from 7:30 to 8:15 pm followed by intermediate to advanced level circle dancing of the newest dances from Israel. Ages 12+. No cost.
Email for more information including whether a beginner class is being held on a given week.  

Arthur Szyk Exhibit Opening
February 7-May 15 
Jewish Museum Milwaukee
1360 North Prospect Ave, Milwaukee
The Jewish Museum Milwaukee will be presenting the work of the mid-20th century artist Arthur Szyk's work and philosophies in connection with the topics of - Art as Propaganda, Democracy/ Freedom, Civil Rights and Zionism/ the State of Israel along with varied programming that will allow the public in depth opportunities to engage more profoundly in these timeless and timely ideas.
In 1914 Szyk traveled with a group of Jewish artists and writers to Palestine, an experience which informed the rest of his life and artistic career. He developed a passionate belief that the Jews should establish a new homeland in Palestine and began a decades-long commitment to fighting for that cause. Scholars and art historians have proposed that perhaps no artist did more to advocate for the State of Israel than Arthur Szyk. In an excerpt from her unpublished 1954 memories, Szyk's wife Julia recalled: "When Israel was declared independent we were home with some friends and heard the news over the radio, Arthur cried for joy. It was a dream of his that had come true. He was the happiest man in the world. He sat down the next day and made the declaration of Independence of Israel. It was a magnificent scroll with all the dreams of youth. Palestine was always his personal concern. Those who fought for it were like his own children. He felt they belonged to him."
For a complete listing of programs, click here.
Wonderful Women Film 
Next Year Jerusalem (Israel) 2013
February 29 *  7-9 pm 
Congregation Sinai
8223 N. Port Washington Road, Fox Point
Experience the power of relationships between women by attending this film screening which will be presented and moderated by Amit Yaniv-Zehavi, Milwaukee's Community Shlichah. Co-sponsored by the Women of Sinai, NCJW Milwaukee Section, Hadassah and the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
 Click here for the flyer or contact for more information.
Rabbi Ariella Graetz Bar Tuv - Shaping the Dream: Striving for Religious Pluralism and Gender Equality in Israel
March 1 * 7-9 pm
Congregation Sinai
8223 N. Port Washington Road, Fox Point
Congregation Sinai is hosting a Reform rabbi from Israel from Congregation Kehillat Emet VeShalom, Sinai's sister congregation. She will speak on religious pluralism in Israel. Kehillat Emet VeShalom, is the only congregation in Nahariya and the Western Galilee that is affiliated with Israel's Movement for Progressive and Reform Judaism.
Rabbi Ariella Graetz Bar Tuv, one of about 40 female Reform rabbis in Israel, is visiting as part of a project sponsored by Israeli Government and IMPJ, Israel's Reform movement. The initiative seeks to connect Israel and the diaspora in relevant and meaningful ways.

Seeking Justice
Strengthening the Prospects for Middle East Peace
David Makovsky
March 1 * 7-8:30 pm
Marquette University
Lunda Room in the Alumni Memorial Union
1442 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee
Between November 2013 and September 2014, David Makovsky advised Secretary of State John Kerry as part of an elite team charged with seeking an historic peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. Makovsky's firsthand account of what it's like to work behind the scenes on the most difficult diplomatic issues of the last century provides a riveting view of the issues, the personalities, and the prospects for peace moving forward. David Makovsky is the Ziegler distinguished fellow at The Washington Institute and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process. He is also an adjunct professor in Middle East studies at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and recently concluded an almost ten-month stint as a senior advisor on Secretary of State John Kerry's peace team. Author of numerous Washington Institute monographs and essays on issues related to the Middle East Peace Process and the Arab-Israeli conflict, he is also coauthor, with Dennis Ross, of the 2009 Washington Post bestseller "Myths, Illusions, and Peace: Finding a New Direction for America in the Middle East (Viking/Penguin)."
RSVP to  or 414-390-5724.
Israel Fest!
Harry &Rose Samson Family JCC
6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay

Zero Motivation
March 10 * 7 pm
This "black comedy" about everyday life for young women soldiers in the Israeli army was nominated for 12 Ophir (Israeli equivalent of the  Oscars) Awards and won 6, including Best Actress, Best Director and Best Screenplay. The film depicts a unit of young women serving in a Human Resources Office on a remote desert base who are less than enthused about their army assignments.
Hebrew with subtitles  | Suitable for ages 16 and up.
Length: 1 hr. 37 min
Instructor: Amit Yaniv Zehavi


A Borrowed Identity
March 17 * 7 pm

In this coming-of-age drama, a gifted Palestinian-Israeli boy, Eyad, is given the opportunity to study in a prestigious boarding school in Jerusalem - where he is the only Arab. Eyad struggles to fit in with Israeli society, dates an Israeli girl, and befriends a Jewish physically handicapped youth. Based on the semi-autobiographical book by Sayed Kashua.

Hebrew, Arabic, English and German with subtitles
Length: 1 hr. 44 min
Suitable for ages 16 and up.
Instructor: Alex Blumin

Both films are FREE and open to the community.
For more information, contact Laurie Herman, 414-967-8212
Co-sponsored by the JCC and the Israel Center of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation

Unearthing the Truth: Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls
March 13 * 2 pm
The Lux Center
7335 S. U.S. Highway 45
Franklin, WI
What do recent discoveries in Israel tell us about Judaism and the Jesus movement in the First Century? Archeologist and author Jodi Magness of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill will offer a fascinating illustrated exploration
of Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Sponsored by The Lux Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology, North America's only seminary-based center for Catholic-Jewish studies. The Lux Center provides public resources related to Catholic-Jewish dialogue, including this lecture.

For more information, contact Bonnie Shafrin, 414-529-6966. Print Flyer
Registration required by March 8. Free admission. Register here.

New York Times best-selling author: Seth M. Siegel  
March 15 * 7:30-9 pm 
Congregation Sinai
8330 N. Port Washington Rd., Fox Point
Presented by Women's Philanthropy of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation and the Edie Adelman Political Awareness Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation
Siegel will discuss how Israel can serve as a role model for the United States and countries everywhere by showing how to blunt the worst of the coming water calamities.
Dessert reception to follow (dietary laws observed)
Cost: $15; $5 for students
Co-sponsored by the Israel Center of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, National Council of Jewish Women - Milwaukee Section, and Milwaukee Riverkeepers.
For more information,  email  or call Ashleigh Lund at 414-390-5741.

The Transformation of Male Jewish Identity: Israel's Role in Modeling New Possibilities with Rabbi Cohen
March 20 * 10 am - 12 pm
Congregation Sinai
8223 N. Port Washington Road, Fox Point 
Israel's conquests in the six-day war were a revelation for American Jews, particularly men. It was for many the first exposure to a different model of what it meant to be a Jewish man. Historically, the Jewish man was seen to be weak, impotent, and incapable of self-defense. Suddenly a new model came to light: the Jewish man as a hero, strong and self sufficient, confident and brave.

We'll talk about that image of the Tzabar, the native born Israeli who is strong on the outside but sensitive on the inside, and trace, through literature and music, how it has changed over the past decades.

Deli Lunch and Israel Market
March 27 * 11 am - 2 pm
Temple Menorah
9363 N. 76th Street, Milwaukee

The menu will include Rabbi Gil Ezer's Famous New York-style Home-Made Corned Beef sandwiches, hotdogs and Falafel plates. A special feature will be the "Corned Beef To Go" by-the-pound. Children and people of all ages will dine on delicious food.
The Israeli Market will feature items "Made In Israel", perfect for the home and gift-giving. Temple Menorah offers this opportunity for the community to support the State Of Israel.
Admission at no charge. Reservations are required by Wednesday, March 23.
To make reservations and place food orders call Temple Menorah Office 414.-355-1120.
Lunch & Learn: Briefing with J Street
March 30 * 12-1:30 pm
Helfaer Community Service Building- Board Room
1360 N. Prospect Ave, Milwaukee
Rabbi Alison Abrams, J Street's Midwest Regional Director, will talk about the American Jewish community's connection to Israel, the US-Israel relationship, and related issues. Bring a lunch!
Co-sponsored by the JCRC and the Israel Center of he Milwaukee Jewish Federation.
Modern Hebrew Language Class
Wednesdays * 7 pm
Pelz Center for Jewish Life
2233 West Mequon Road, Mequon  
Questions? Email or call Rabbi Moshe Rapoport at 262-242-2235.


In case you missed it...

 Iran offers financial reward for families of potential Palestinian 'intifada martyrs'
  (Jerusalem Post)

Despite Campus Hype, Anti-Israel Activity Dips by 15 Percent (Forward) 

Lunch & Learn: Briefing with AIPAC
April 7 * 12-1:30 pm
Helfaer Community Service Building- Board Room
1360 N. Prospect Ave, Milwaukee
Joshua Hahn, Wisconsin Area Director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), will provide an overview of AIPAC, its mission, and its work.  An American organization, AIPAC works to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship by working with members of Congress on a bipartisan manner.       Bring a lunch! Off the record.



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.