October/November 2016
CURRENT PERSPECTIVES                                 

Shimon Peres


Many Israeli and world leaders gathered today for the funeral of Shimon Peres, z"l, who died Wednesday at age 93 after suffering a stroke. As we prepare for Rosh HaShanah and the year 5777, we remember the life and legacy of Peres, the last of Israel's founders. President Obama released a moving statement about Peres and a proclamation, ordering that flags be flown at half-staff.  We note just a few of the plentiful eulogies written for Peres:  

  • The Times of Israel comprehensive obituary 
  • Michael Koplow wrote in Matzavblog: "Peres never won an outright election to be prime minister. He was not, until his last decade, truly loved or embraced by the Israeli public. He was continually overshadowed by his rival Rabin. But rather than become the Adlai Stevenson of Israel, he became the Shimon Peres of Israel. He understood that failure was something that you overcome rather than something that defines you. He took
    whatever situation he was in and elevated it to something sublime and heretofore unimaginable."
  • Martin Raffel, former vice president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, wrote a personal reflection explaining why Peres was one of his heroes: "Why a hero? He devoted his life to maintaining Israel's security in a violent and hostile neighborhood and was even in charge of establishing Israel's nuclear reactor in Dimona. Yet he never stopped believing in peace and reconciliation with the neighbors."
  • David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy called Peres "Israel's quintessential Zionist" in a Times of Israel eulogy.
  • The New York Times dedicated significant space to remembering Peres, with a multimedia feature; a behind-the-scenes account of photographer Lynsey Addario's time with Peres; a tender and personal column by Thomas Friedman in which he notes that Peres "could stand in the other guy's shoes, and he was determined to let the future bury the past and not let the past bury the future"; a reflection by Tzipi Livni, former foreign minister and currently a joint leader of the Zionist Union, called Peres "The Realistic Dreamer". 
  • Peres more freely demonstrated his playfulness and showmanship as he aged. On his 92 birthday, the Peres Peace Center released this playful video of Peres job hunting after packing his presidential office. It ends with the pithy Peres quote: "You are as great as the cause that you serve, and as young as your dreams."


We join our prayers with those around the world in the memory of Shimon Peres. May his memory be a blessing. 


Saudi paper chides Palestinians for rejecting Netanyahu's Knesset invite. 
While acknowledging that Netanyahu "rejects a settlement freeze, will not uproot settlements, rejects the 1967 borders as the basis for talks and rejects any division of Jerusalem," the editorial argued that before Begin ' s invitation to Sadat, Israel and Egypt were "mortal enemies, having fought three wars." In his speech, Netanyahu praised developing relations with regional Sunni powers such as Saudi Arabia, saying that they "recognize that Israel is not their enemy but their ally," and that the "common enemy is Iran and ISIS," referring to the Islamic State jihadist group based in Iraq and Syria. "In coming years, we will work together openly," Netanyahu said. "The change taking place in the Arab world offers a unique opportunity to advance peace," he added.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has determined that temperatures in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) will increase along with drying trends during this century. This will lead to water scarcity and the decimation of rural lands due to drought and famine. Impacts have already begun to be felt by us due to events in a country on Israel's doorstep, Syria.

Al-Monitor reports that recent water shortages in Tunisia, caused in part by a 28% deficit in rainfall relative to 2015, have led to social unrest and citizen protests. While religious leaders are calling for the faithful to pray for rain, water cutoffs by authorities are said to have spawned the unrest.

International financial magazine Forbes ranked Tel Aviv as one of the 20 most beautiful destinations in the world. According to the rating conducted with the travel community and Lifestream-style social networks, "Beautiful Destinations", Tel Aviv was ranked in 15th place. Each of the competing destinations were presented by a local photographer.Tel Aviv was photographed by Sivan Askayo, who defined Tel Aviv-Jaffa as a chic Mediterranean metropolis, whose main strength is "not necessarily cafes and restaurants, but people who love the good life." The top three destinations were New York, Venice and Los Angeles.

Israel's Delek Group, one of the developers of the country's biggest natural gas reservoir, says it has signed a deal to sell gas to neighboring Jordan.The agreement, announced Monday, would provide 45 billion cubic meters (1.6 trillion cubic feet) of gas to Jordan over 15 years. Delek says revenues could amount to $10 billion. Delek Drilling CEO Yossi Abu hailed the "historic" deal and said developers of the Leviathan reservoir would pursue similar agreements with others in the region, including Egypt, Turkey and the Palestinian Authority.

While surveying natural limestone caves in the Galilee, scientists have discovered hundreds of limestone caves in which Jews hid when Roman troops came marching through 2,000 years ago, during the Great Jewish Revolt (66-70 CE). Extensive embellishment such as baths and candle niches carved into the rock show that the caves had been prepared for extensive habitation. Water cisterns carved into the rock, as well as pitchers, pottery shards, coins, and other artifacts dating to the 1st century C.E. were found in many of the cliff shelters, say Dr. Yinon Shivtiel from the Safed Academic College and Vladimir Boslove of the Israeli Cave Research Center. The researchers discovered dozens of flattened Roman arrow-heads that had been shot into the caves, some striking the cliffs and becoming embedded in the rock face. These findings certainly connect the caves with Roman-Jewish violence, yet Shivtel assumes that most of the civilians who took refuge in the caves survived. The Galilee could not have had flourishing Jewish communities in the second and third century C.E. if the population had been slaughtered, he points out.

An Exciting Year for Israel in Milwaukee!
Where Israel was once the great uniter, today Israel can be divisive in the Jewish community. Join us, as we strive to widen the tent and talk together about different perspectives on and in Israel. Highlights in the upcoming months are Partnership2Gether Diversity Delegations Cultural Celebration and A Conversation on Israel: Jonathan Tobin and J.J. Goldberg . Jonathan S. Tobin is the senior online editor and chief political blogger of Commentary, the neo-conservative magazine covering American politics, international affairs, and Judaism, and J. J. Goldberg, editor-at-large of the newspaper The Forward. Learn more

Year Three - what's it all about?
I have a friend, who was a Shaliach in DC, who became a mentor and role model for me regarding my Shlichut. I liked how he put emphasis on personal connections while empowering all the individuals involved. He saw the micro without ever losing sight of the larger goals. He was one of the people who inspired me to go on Shlichut. When the time came along to decide whether we should stay a third year, Gilad said: "Of course!" Similar to Passover, I asked: "Ma Nishtana?, What will differ the third year from the rest?" and the answer was: Deepening connections and taking risks.
Now that the new year is around the corner, I truly feel both of these things happening. I no longer consider people I hang out with acquaintances. I see them and hope they see me as friends (for life). I no longer have small talk conversations with people. I have deep talks that can always be continued. It's a treat to see people I know, not work or a task or rubbing shoulders. We, as a family feel a part of this community. It has become our "home away from home". Together with this, I miss my family and friends in Israel very much and look forward to spending Sukkoth with them.
Regarding risk taking, I don't mean this in an irresponsible way. There is no gambling or speeding involved! This week , we had a reception for a team of blind sailors from Israel who competed in Sheboygan. Normally, I would not plan an event in less than a week, yet my intuition told me it would be OK and even inspiring, and it was as well as meaningful for both the athletes and the small crowd.
In November, Partnership2Gether is sending a small delegation of four adults from the Kinneret region to bring their ethnic backgrounds through workshops and talks throughout the community. This is a complicated delegation to coordinate, yet my "kishke" (gut) tells me it will be very engaging and will show case new and fascinating sides of Israel. Check them out in their promo clip  and stay tuned for more information on the community activities planned, especially the ceremonies (Havdallah, Henna, Bsisa and Coffee) on November 5. This would not have been an undertaking for year one or two.
I conclude this letter with the news of the passing of a truly great man, Shimon Peres. Shimon believed in his way and inspired many with his optimism and good heart. May his memory be blessed.
In the new year that is just beginning, I wish you all a year of deepening connections and risk taking as well. See where it leads you!

Amit Yaniv-Zehavi
Community Shlichah 

P.S. Feel free to contact me at AmitZ@MilwaukeeJewish.org

For Rebecca Perl, Nativwas an opportunity to experience what it is like to live in Israel, learn how to live independently, and get credits for college at Hebrew University before she even started Drake University. She also noted the contrast between living in Jerusalem, where she had a chance to explore and grow her Jewish identity and living in Yeruham, a development town, where she taught English to 7th-12th graders, and experienced an inspirational sense of community. Rebecca said that in Yeruham, people opened their homes for Shabbat meals to strangers, and she could always depend on her host family to take care of her. Rebecca's volunteering in the classroom gave her skills to come back to the U.S. and teach Sunday school, one of her jobs while in college. While on Nativ, Rebecca applied for and was chosen to participate in Core 18 Leadership Lab where she learned leadership skills and how to be an Israel advocate on her campus.

Shtisel: Season 2 - Israeli TV Show
September 29 * 7 pm
Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC, 6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd.
Engaging Israel: Foundations for a New Israel
Most Wednesdays, October 26-January 18 * 6:30-8:30 pm
Congregation Shalom, 7630 N. Santa Monica Blvd.
Milwaukee Jewish Film Festival: Wedding Doll
October 31 * 7:30 pm
Marcus North Shore Cinemas, 11700 Port Washington Rd.
More information
Milwaukee Jewish Film Festival: In Search of Israeli Cuisine
November 3 * 7:30 pm
Marcus North Shore Cinemas, 11700 Port Washington Rd.
Partnership2Gether Diversity Delegations Cultural Celebration
November 5 * 7:30 pm
Congregation Emanu-El B'ne Jeshurun , 2020 West Brown Deer Rd.

Falafel Night
November 6 * 5 pm
Joseph and Rebecca Peltz Center for Jewish Life, 223 West Mequon Rd.

Partnership2Gether Diversity Delegations Panel and Roundtable Discussion
November 6 * 7pm
Nicolet High School, 6701 N. Jean Nicolet Rd, Glendale

Cutting Edge Israel Films: "Barriers" and "Thou Shalt Love"
November 10 * 7-8:30 pm
Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC, 6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd.

A Conversation on Israel: Jonathan Tobin and J.J. Goldberg
November 17 * 7-9 pm
Congregation Shalom, 7630 N. Santa Monica Blvd.



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 www.MilwaukeeJewish.org/JCRC or contact Elana   Kahn through email or by calling 414-390-5736.