May 2016
With Yom HaAtzmaut around the corner and Milwaukee hosting the next Partnership2Gether Steering Committee meeting, volunteer opportunities are plentiful:   
  1. We are looking for volunteers to help day-of with the community-wide celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut and Walk for Israel on May 15th. Event details here
  2. We are looking for host families and drivers for our P2G delegates from Israel, Tulsa, Madison, and St. Paul, June 3-8th
  3. Tzofim, Israel scouts, are back this year and we are looking for host homes July 10-11th. These are Israeli teens who travel around the U.S. performing and presenting a fun side of Israel's traditions.
  4. Milwaukee will host teens from our Partnership region, July 7-10th and we are looking for homes for them. The teens will participate in daytime programming and will have most meals provided.
  5. We are looking for host families for our Shin Shins, young Israeli emissaries, for the 2016-2017 academic year. Learn more about the Shin Shin program here
 To volunteer, contact Allison Hayden, 414-390-5724.
CURRENT PERSPECTIVES                                 
Attacks against civilians in Israel continue. Hamas took credit for an April 18 bus bombing that injured 21 people. On Wednesday, a Palestinian woman and young man attacked border guards  with a knife at the Qalandiya crossing in the West Bank. Since the wave of Palestinian attacks on civilians began in October, 29 Israelis and four others have been killed. Meanwhile, as Israelis debate how to respond to such attacks, the Israel Defense Forces has charged a soldier who shot a wounded Palestinian assailant as he lay on the ground with manslaughter. That charge could lead to a jail term of up to 20 years.   
Last week, New York University's graduate student union passed a resolution to boycott Israel . That decision was roundly rejected by NYU's president , who called it "contrary to our core principles of academic freedom" and "antithetical to the free exchange of ideas."
Many are expressing outrage over the Harvard law student's asking Tzipi Livni, Israel's former foreign minister, "How is it that you are so smelly?" with many calling it outright anti-Semitism that echoes old canards. It has also led to further scrutiny of Students for Justice in Palestine and, in particular, their funding sources. The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens wrote an article about "The Anti-Israel Money Trail" that includes some Milwaukee references.
Jewish presence on the Temple Mount has sparked new tensions. On Wednesday, Moshe Gafni, a member of Knesset from the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism, warned that Jews who ascend to the holy site are instigating war . Though his reasons are religious, others pointed to recent violence; on Tuesday, two Muslim men were arrested for attacking a group of Jewish visitors and Israeli police removed nine Jews from the site for not complying with security measures. These conflicts come just days after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution that ignores Jewish links to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall area and backs Islamic tradition that refers to the Western Wall as a hitching post for Mohammed's steed.

The UN continued to show its bias against Israel . Earlier this month, the UN Commission on the Status of Women concluded its annual meeting by condemning only one country for its treatment of women - Israel. On the same day, the UN Human Rights Council concluded its month-long session by condemning Israel five times more than any other of the 192 UN member states.
In case you missed it, Israel's former president Shimon Peres continued to display his youthful humor with a doctored "selfie" of himself in front of the pyramids in Egypt.

Yom HaZikaron: (Israel's Memorial Day)

I am writing to you with Yom HaZikaron in mind. Every year, this day has a strong effect on me.
When I moved to Israel at age ten, I stood alongside my peers, Israeli school children, in white shirts standing still in rows, squinting at the hot May sun, waiting for the siren to cease. I didn't understand the full meaning of this day. Just, that there was something important and somber about it.
Later, in high school, together with the Youth Movement, we hiked a lot and learned about battles and the many lives lost.
When I myself became a soldier, everything became closer to home. I knew some soldiers killed. I went to some funerals. My fellow Garin Nachal members were paratroopers. We heard firsthand accounts of hard ships they had to overcome. We experienced their fatigue. We saw them turn from Youth into men.
Every year, the siren sounds twice on Yom HaZikaron: The evening before and the day of. This is a link to what it looks like when the high way stops. Where else in the world does a whole country stop to commemorate all the fallen soldiers since 1948? I encourage you to watch it.
Here is a link to an amazing project of Beit Avi Chai. They chose memories shared by loved ones of fallen soldiers and victims of terror. They created short animated films. We will be showing two on May 11th. While trying to narrow down and choose the two, I was driven to tears again and again. Feelings of loss are universal.
I hope you can join us on May 11th at 6pm at the Community hall of the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center for the Yom HaZikaron Ceremony.
We will be wearing white shirts, and handing out "Yizkor" stickers as is customary in Israel. In Israel, everyone I know will attend a ceremony. My children were with me in every ceremony since the day they were born. It's part of the fabric of Israeli society. We grow up remembering.
As my son, Yonatan, who is in high school gets IDF letters sent to him, his peers here are getting college letters. As they travel to choose which campus they will spend the next 4 years of their lives in, Yonatan and his peers at home (as well as the Shin Shins here, Omer and Orni) think about which army unit they will serve in. As much as we may share values and opinions (sometimes), our realities are very different.
I hope that someday, the need to serve in the IDF will lessen and it can stop being mandatory. I wish for peace with all my heart.

Amit Yaniv-Zehavi
Community Shlichah 

P.S. Feel free to contact me at

Milwaukeean Gilad Zvi had a unique experience in Israel volunteering at Kibbutz Lotan's Center for Creative Ecology. Lotan, situated in Israel's southern Arava desert, is rooted in Tikkun Olam - the Jewish concept for repairing and transforming the world. The Center is unique within Israel in providing quality experiential environmental education from a liberal, progressive Jewish perspective. Their mission is to serve as a catalyst to inspire, motivate and empower people to build sustainable community and to take creative action for positive change towards social and environmental justice. In Gilad's words, "I've never seen intellectuality, questioning, and personal initiative like I saw that year. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to deepen their understanding and widen their perspective of human capability for thought, action, emotion, and caring in general about this world." Learn more about the experience here.
The Yamim are here!!
Yom HaShoah
May 1 * 3 pm
Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC, 6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd.
More information  
Scholar in Residence: Matti Freidman
May 6-7 *
Congregation Beth Israel Ner Tamid
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Congregation Emanu-El of Waukesha Yom HaAtzmaut Celebration
May 7 * 5 pm
830 W. Moreland Blvd., Waukesha

Yom HaZikaron
May 11 * 6-7 pm
Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC, 6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd.
More information
Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah Yom HaAtzmaut Meal
May 12 * 6:15 pm
6717 N. Green Bay Ave. 
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Chug Ivrit Hebrew Conversation Group
May 13 * 1-2pm
Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC, 6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd.. 
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Yom HaAtzmaut- Community-wide Celebration
May 15 * 4-6:30 pm
750 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr. 
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Picnic for Israelis
May 22 * 12:30pm
Private Home
Mohammed Dajani, Weston Fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
June 1 * 7pm
2400 E. Kenwood Blvd.
Film: Orange People
June 2 * 7pm
Harry & Rose Samson Family JCC, 6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd.
More information


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.