December 2015

"Da Meayin Bata"

Ever since I heard that "Da Meayin Bata" would be the theme of the 4th grade at MJDS this year, it has been occupying my thoughts. As a hybrid Israeli - American (bi-lingual and somewhat bi-cultural), I think about what makes us who we are.
There is a physical answer to that question: Where did I grow up? Places I have lived that shape who I am (in my case: NY, Rehovot, Kibbutz, California) What about places I visited for a long time like India? How about where I did my army service - by the Dead Sea and in the Northern Galilee, or where I went to University -  Jerusalem? How will my time as shlichah in Milwaukee affect this? How will it affect the way my children answer this question one day?
There is a spiritual one too: Where do I belong? Where can I be most at home? Most myself, as a person, as a Jew, as an Israeli?
And there is a moralistic one - what values shape me? My youth movement values that are also my kibbutz ones: Socialism, Democracy, Zionism and Peace? The Jewish values I absorbed? Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), Arvut Hadadit (Jews in Israel and around the world caring for each other), Vehigadeta (communicating tradition and values), humility and more.

Can the answers be more than one or "all of the above" or change in different decades in our lives? In the end, everyone's answer to this is unique, although as Jews we share a common narrative.

In "My Promised Land", Ari Shavit does a great job describing who we (Israelis) are:

"Israelis are diamonds in the rough. And Israeliness is an iridescent kaleidoscope of broken identities that come together to form a unique human phenomenon. Somehow, something quite incredible emerged in this old-new country. That is why there is an extraordinary emotional quality to our life here. That is why we are not only creative and innovative but authentic and direct and warm and genuine and sexy. That is why personal relationships here are exceptional and human contact is remarkable. After all, Israeliness is family-ness. As different as they are from one another, and although they belong to rival tribes, the men and women who gathered on this shore managed to form one big, strange, loud, and diverse family"

I embrace the opportunity to stop and contemplate my own complex, dynamic, ever-changing identity.

Milwaukee is now part of who I am, who my family is. When we return to Israel, we will be transformed.

I find that revisiting a place I belong to helps me recharge my emotional batteries. When you go to Israel, does the same happen to you?

I am happy to continue exploring this subject with you, if you want to contact me:

In the meantime, Happy Hanukkah, one of my favorite holidays. May we all be "Ner Ehad" (one light) against the darkness surrounding and may Peace resume in our shared land of Israel, my home.
Amit Yaniv-Zehavi
Community Shlichah 

PS Feel free to contact me at
Milwaukee Missions 2016    
March 27 - April 7, 2016
One Week in Israel for $1500 per person!
*This price does not include airfare
**While MJF subsidies last

Join for a unique look at Israel! We will explore religious pluralism with Women of the Wall, decipher graffiti on the streets of Tel Aviv, hear fist-hand experiences of Palestinian students, experience authentic life on kibbutz with our community shlichah and connect with Israelis in our Partnership region around Lake Kinneret. Register here.
Questions?  Email or call Rabbi Hannah Greenstein at 414-390-5764. 

Womens Philanthropy Heart to Heart  
February 7-11, 2016
Heart to Heart 7 Women's Mission to Israel
National Chair: Andrea Schneider
Milwaukee Chair: Jody Herbert
In February 2016, National Women's Philanthropy of the Jewish Federations of North America will lead its seventh annual Heart to Heart mission. Come join our Milwaukee delegation and experience this life-changing journey with a multigenerational group of engaged Jewish women from across North America. Learn about how Israeli women and their families are moving forward after last summer's conflict, and how we can continue to support them. Meet amazing women who are playing leading roles in fields like medicine, fashion, art, business and spirituality. Experience groundbreaking, Federation-supported programs that are improving the lives of vulnerable Israelis. Enjoy Israel's unique culture, fashion, and food. And return home empowered to be a leader in your community. 
Questions? Email or call Amy Blumenthal at 414-390-5713. 
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.  
Jews Around the World - Free Film Series
The Green Prince (Germany/USA/UK/Israel) 2014
November 22 * 4pm
Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC
6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay
This startling documentary uncovers the true story of a Palestinian youth, the son of a head of Hamas, who secretly worked for the Mossad. Mosab Hassan Yosusef was anti-Israel when arrested by Israeli police - but after seeing the ruthlessness of Hamas in an Israeli prison, he is willing to spy for Israel. The film includes numerous interviews with Yosuef, as well as with his Israeli handler.

In Hebrew and English with subtitles. Suitable for ages 14 and up.
Film Length: 1 hr 41 min
Instructor: Yoni Zvi
For more information contact Laurie Herman - 414-967-8212

Roey Gilad Community Presentation
December 8 * 7-9 pm
Congregation Emanu-el B'ne Jeshurun
2020 W. Brown Deer Rd., River Hills
Join us for an evening of candle lighting and official briefing of what's happening in Israel from our Regional Consul General Roey Gilad.
For more information please contact Hannah Greenstein at 414-390-5764. Print Flyer
Co-sponsored by the Milwaukee Jewish Federation's Israel Center and Jewish Community Relations Council.
J-Street and the Two-State Solution Lecture
December 15 * 7-9 pm
Lake Park Synagogue
3207 N. Hackett Ave., Milwaukee
Hear Michael Schaalman, J-Street Milwaukee Co-Chair speak about J-Street and the Two-State Solution. Learn more here .

Cutting Edge Israel - Free Film Series
Next Year Jerusalem (Israel) 2013
December 17 *  7 pm 
Life can truly begin at 90, as we see in this uplifting film about 8 residents of a nursing home (with an average age of 91) who are taken for one last adventure on a 10-day trip to Israel. According to the director, he aimed the film to be a "poetic exploration of living and dying, hope and fear, travel and memory."
This film is in English. Suitable for ages 14 and up.
Length: 1 hr. 12 min.
Instructor: Amit Yaniv-Zehavi
Chug Ivrit - Hebrew Conversation Group
Fridays * 1 pm, December 11th, January 8th
Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC
6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay

Join JCC Jewish Educator Jody Hirsh and Community Shlichah Amit Zehavi for a monthly lunch conversation in Hebrew! Not a class, just an informal opportunity to practice your Hebrew discussing a variety of topics.
For more information, contact Jody Hirsh or 414-967-8199.

Young Adult including College Student, Interested in Learning Hebrew?
Email  Stefanie Sager, Young Jewish Adults Milwaukee (YJAM), for details.
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.
The violence that began in mid-September continues, with near daily stabbings and car attacks. For coverage of those events, be sure to follow Israeli newspapers, including Times of Israel, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post and others.
Eichmann in Jerusalem, Before and After - A Conversation Between Dr. Yannay Spitzer and Dr. Shay Pilnik
January 3, 2016 * 4-5:30 pm
Jewish Museum Milwaukee
1360 N Prospect Ave - Milwaukee
The capture of Adolf Eichmann, one of the key players in the implementation of the Final Solution, and his trial in Israel is considered a watershed event in the history of Holocaust awareness, commemoration, scholarship, and the quest for postwar justice.
Dr. Shay Pilnik
Join Dr. Shay Pilnik, Executive Director of the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center and Dr. Yannay Spitzer, Assistant Professor at the Department of Economics at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and grandson of Moshe Landau, the chief judge at the trial, for a conversation about the impact of this key event. The talk will be followed by the screening of a short documentary on the Nazi colonies established in Argentina and Paraguay in the wake of World War II.
Dr. Yannay Spitzer
This program is the second in a 2-part series being offered in connection with the Jewish Museum Milwaukee exhibit, 'Southern Exposure: The Jews of Argentina' and in partnership with the Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center. Funded in part by the Wisconsin Humanities Council.
RSVP by December 29 to or 414-390-5730.


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.