Masorti Olami & MERCAZ Olami Update

September 2017/ Elul 5777

Like us on Facebook
 View our videos on YouTube 
Message from the Executive Director Mauricio
The Jewish people need the Masorti Movement.
Many people I meet tell me that the Jewish people has no need for ' Movements', that we must do away with all denominations and speak only of Judaism. Others propose that we should merge with other movements. To all of them I say - "The Jewish people need the Masorti Movement". Do not misunderstand me, I am a true pluralistic Jew, I do not believe that all Jews should belong to the Masorti Movement (It scares me to think that we should all have the same ideas and only one way of living our Judaism). I do believe that we should grant every Jew access to Masorti Judaism, particularly those who have not found or determined their connection to Judaism. 
Masorti Judaism is authentic Judaism offering a Jewish way of life guided by Halacha and by the values laid out by our sources.
Over the past 90 days, I had the opportunity to visit Masorti communities and projects in Mexico, Costa Rica, Buenos Aires, Berlin, London, and Budapest. In each one of them the flame and passion of our movement offers a clear answer to modern Jews seeking to live their Judaism in a traditional and modern framework,  guided by Halacha. At the same time, I met with groups of young people in Israel, who came from Mexico, Ukraine, France, Uganda, and the United States within the framework of programs sponsored by NOAM Olami and Marom Olami. These were amazing groups of committed and concerned young people, involved with the continuation of the Jewish people and the expansion of the Masorti Movement in their respective countries.
We are starting to work shoulder to shoulder with Marom Olami again. While some believe that our future depends on our young people, I believe that they are our present. We must grant them the necessary space to assume further leadership within the Jewish people.
We must be more active in our movement, strengthening MERCAZ Olami, the Zionist arm of the Masorti Movement, and making sure that our friends and supporters understand the importance of expanding the ranks of MERCAZ around the world, in order to achieve greater representation in the National Institutions.
We need more hands and hearts to join us. I encourage you to get involved, either by volunteering with or donating to Masorti Olami, Masorti Europe, Masorti AmLat, NOAM Olami, Marom Olami, to MERCAZ chapters around the world or directly to MERCAZ Olami.
There is much to be done. "The Jewish people need the Masorti Movement".
In Pirkei Avot 2:15, Rabbi Tarfon teaches us - 
רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן אוֹמֵר, הַיּוֹם קָצֵר וְהַמְּלָאכָה מְרֻבָּה.....
El día es corto y la tarea inmensa......
The day is short and the labor plenty...
Let us begin now!
Shalom from Jerusalem.

Rabbi Mauricio Balter
Executive Director Masorti Olami and MERCAZ Olami

Click here for Hebrew Version.
SAVE THE DATE! Masorti Olami Tribute EventTribute

Click here to place an ad and buy your tickets today! 
Rabbi Peretz Visits Masorti Communities in Argentina RabbiEli
In August, Rabbi Eliahu Peretz of Kehilat Sinai in Tel Aviv visited several Masorti communities in Argentina. Rabbi Peretz began his tour with Masorti Olami's newest affiliated kehila, Asociación Israelita de Beneficencia (AIB) - Kehilá Rosario. Rabbi Peretz participated in the community's Havdalah service and led sessions on "Black Lists and White Lists - Open Hatred in our Time" relating to the controversial blacklist published by the Chief Rabbanut of Israel. With the students of the J. N. Bialik School of the community in Santa Fe, Rabbi Peretz led a session about Identity: How our Jewish Identity is formed and defined. In Buenos Aires, he visited with the youth of the Benei Tikva community, met with the Bnei u'Bnot Mitzva group of the Bet-El community and visited the TIKUNEA program of the Or Jadash-Weizmann community, a Tikkun Olam and intercultural discourse program in one.

Launch of Yesh Program in Argentina YESH
Several times during the course of the year, university students from the Masorti communities in Cordoba, Rosario, Mendoza and Tucuman plan to travel together to a vacation destination. A shared Masorti Shabbat experience is an integral part of each trip. Through this type of leisurely social setting, Masorti university students experience Masorti Judaism and learn to incorporate into their lives living as committed Masorti Jews. The first successful trip took place in August in Chile and the next trip is scheduled for September to Colombia. For further details please see

Masoret Kiev Family Camp Ukraine
In the forest, alongside a river in Cherkassy, Ukraine, over 100 people, from the ages of 4 months to 80 years, gathered for a week of community, family, Jewish tradition and education. During the annual family camp in July, directed by Rabbi Reuven Stamov, participants explored the theme of " Ki mi Zion tetze Torah" through tefila, games, art, nature, music, Torah study and more. For one participant, family camp was a profound experience and the culmination of a year of hard work and study, enabling him to serve as the mashgiach during camp. There are many stories to tell and you are invited to read more about family camp and the Masoret Kiev community by clicking here:

Masorti Europe Meeting in Stockholm, Sweden Swedeen
From May 26-28, lay leaders from across Europe convened in Stockholm, Sweden for the Masorti Europe Seminar. The seminar was hosted by the Masorti community in Stockholm at the Great Synagogue of Stockholm. This was an ideal opportunity for lay leaders and professional educators from Jewish communities throughout Europe to meet, share ideas, learn new skills, strengthen Jewish and Israeli connections and build networks across the traditional European movement. This was also an opportunity to show that the Masorti Movement is committed to one of the most important areas - formal youth education.

Onward NOAM Olami 2017 Onward
Onward  NOAM  Olami has completed its second successful summer in Jerusalem! From June 21 - August 2, ten representatives from the NOAM Olami Masorti Youth Movement across the world (Australia, France, Uganda, Ukraine and the USA) spent six weeks in Israel on a leadership training program. During the program, participants created work plans for their respective home communities while sharing ideas, learning from each other and developing joint projects. In addition, each participant worked at an internship in their profession. Onward NOAM Olami provides a true Israeli experience through living in Jerusalem, touring throughout the country while exploring social justice issues in Israeli society, and expanding personal professional experience while educating the participants in the tenets of Masorti Judaism and as future leaders.

NOAM Winter Camps in AmLat NOAMamlat

Darkei  NOAM Winter Camp in Argentina.

NOAM Sao Paulo Winter Camp in Brazil.

Bet El, Mexico Rittner 3.0 G Leadership Mission to Israel Mexico
For ten days this summer, a group of ten young professionals from Community Bet El in Mexico participated in a leadership mission to Israel. This mission came to fruition through the initiative of the Masorti Community Bet El, Masorti Olami and Marom Olami.  The goal, based on the concept of start-ups and entrepreneurship, is to recruit young professionals and provide leadership training to promote professional and personal development while creating roles for them as Jewish community leaders and advocates for Israel. A special thank you to Rabbi Marcelo Rittner and Rabbi Leonel Levy for turning this dream into a reality!
Rabbi Mauricio Balter, Executive Director of Masorti Olami and MERCAZ Olami, met with the participants and presented a thought provoking session on Masorti ideology. 

Masorti Movement Growing in the UKUK  
A new report from the Institute for  Jewish Policy Research (JPR on synagogue membership in the UK in 2016, shows that apart  from the strictly Orthodox, the Masorti Movement is the only  stream of Judaism to grow. The Masorti Movement has more than  doubled its membership since 1990, and is no longer the smallest stream in the UK. 

Click here to read the full report .

Mazal Tov to Rabbi Tomchinsky-Galanternik and the CIP Community Brazil
Latin America's largest synagogue, the 2,000-family
CIP Community, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, was proud to inaugurate its first female rabbi -  Rabbi Fernanda Tomchinsky-Galanternik, in a welcome ceremony in the presence of more than 200 people.
Mazal Tov!

Aurora Jewish Community Center in Budapest, Hungary Hungary
In Budapest, Hungary, the  Aurora Jewish Community Center is home to  Marom, the Masorti Movement's group of students and young adults. Young people in Budapest gather at this center because in it they find a welcoming and thriving space for connecting to Masorti Jewish life and celebrations, to socialize and to engage in social justice activities. Recently, the Aurora Jewish Community Center has come under attack by the Hungarian government as a place that, through its acceptance of external support and donations, promotes the rights of minority groups, which "harms" the fabric of Hungarian society. This attitude has in turn prompted anti-Semitic attacks on the center itself.

Rabbi Mauricio Balter, Executive Director of Masorti Olami and MERCAZ Olami, and Ro'oe Peled, Director of Marom Olami, went to Budapest in July to meet with community leaders, including Adam Schoenberger, President of Marom Budapest. Though there has been undeniable financial, practical and motivational harm, the community continues to provide activities and and a home for Masorti Jewish young adults.  The movement and community leaders discussed how the Masorti Movement will strengthen the Marom Budapest community with spiritual and rabbinical support as well as enriching their Jewish programming.

MERC AZ Olami Leadership RetreatMERCAZ

In late June, MERCAZ Olami conducted a Leadership Retreat to work with our wonderful new Executive Director, Rabbi Mauricio Balter. The following plans were set.

1. Four committees were established - Finance, chaired by Emily Levy-Shochat; Strategic Planning, chaired by Leandro Galanternik; Education, chaired by Sophie Fellman and MERCAZ Chapters, chaired by Rabbi Joe Wernik.
2. A leadership training seminar in Israel is being planned for January 2018, to which one activist from each of our fifteen chapters will be invited and granted a travel subsidy.
3. A strategic planning seminar is to be planned for the Deans or their representatives from each of the five Masorti Movement Rabbinical Schools
4. Allocations were decided upon for the 2017 Stream allocations from Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael - Jewish National Fund, with funds being distributed among Masorti Israel, Masorti Olami, the five Masorti Movement rabbinical schools, the Conservative Yeshiva, NOAM Olami, NOAM Israel, USY, Marom Olami, and the Rabbinical Assemblies of Israel, Latin America and Europe.
5. Funds from the agreement with Yesh Atid will enable MERCAZ to send Knesset members to visit and inspire MERCAZ Chapters around the world.
6. Funds will be expended to spread Zionist education and activities via technology.
7. Plans for the WZO elections in 2020 are already beginning to be put into place.

We look forward to building MERCAZ all around the world, increasing the impact of our Movement in serving nearly two million self-identified Conservative/Masorti Jews.

Rabbi Alan Silverstein, Ph.D.                                                                                                  

Masorti Conference - Madrid, Spain

Click here for more information. 
"Hitjadshut" Masorti AmLat Meeting - Santiago, Chile

Email us here for more information.
Click here for the save the date.

MAROM AmLat Seminar - Sao Paulo, Brazil 

Click here for more information.
Onward NOAM Olami Summer 2018

Click here for more information.
Masorti Olami Annual Tribute Event - New York City

Click here for more information.
Yom Ha'atzmaut 70th Celebration - Israel
Click here for more information.