What's New in the Masorti World?
Masorti Olami & MERCAZ Olami News
February 2018 / Adar 5778

Like us on Facebook
 View our videos on YouTube 
Night Quest: Who Stole Shabbat? Quest
Fifty kids and teens from across Ukraine enjoyed a weeklong  NOAM Winter Camp in the secluded forests on the banks of the Dnieper River. Activities of the week included daily tfillot and Hebrew songs as well as cooking and arts and crafts, but everyone's favorite camp activity was the night quest to find out "Who stole Shabbat"?
Madrichim (counselors) roused the campers from bed at 2 AM for an important mission-someone had stolen Shabbat, and there would be no Shabbat that week if they could not track down the culprit. With no time to waste, the campers, armed with flashlights were sent in groups to scour the building for clues. Making their way through the darkness they encountered Jewish learning stations, including hearing tales from a Maggid which helped them to solve the mystery.
"It was incredible!" said Madrich Vlad Khlynin from Kiev. "The kids had a great time. And our visiting Madrichim from Israel also popped out of the darkness to scare the kids throughout the night quest!" "A few of the kids were pretty tired and were really happy to get back to bed" laughed Sasha Shyrtut, a Madricha from Odessa, "But by the end of camp everyone agreed that the night quest was the highlight of camp".
Having completed their quest, the entire camp celebrated Shabbat with delicious meals and singing Zmirot and concluded with a touching Havdalah service.

Immigrants, neo-Nazis and Road Bikes: 
Rabbi Ute Steyer Talks about Jewish Life in SwedenUte 
Rabbi Ute Steyer, Sweden's first female Rabbi stopped by Masorti Olami's offices to tell us about Jewish life in Sweden. While recent news reports of the firebombing of the synagogue and Yom Kippur neo-Nazi march in Gothenburg present a bleak image of Jewish life in Sweden, Rabbi Steyer begs to differ. "There is an impression that Jews in Sweden are constantly being threatened, but it's just not true. Sweden actually has a very vibrant Jewish community for its size".
For the full interview, click here.

NCI Community in Uruguay NCI  

Over 80 years ago a group of Jews left their restricted lives in Germany to settle in Montevideo founding the  Nueva Congregacion Israelita, or NCI . During the Shoah and afterwards, NCI received thousands of Jews seeking new lives and community.

Since its inception, NCI has pioneered innovative Jewish projects advocating inclusion and equality. NCI is the only Kehillah in Uruguay affiliated with the Masorti Movement, and equality, egalitarianism, Zionism, Judaism, education and values have been our mantra and our daily actions for decades. At NCI, men and women are equals in enjoying the most significant Jewish and spiritual experience un Uruguay.

Education is a pillar of the NCI community with our School of Tradition educating children ages 3-12, Project Rashi for future Bnei Mitzvah, Hebrew courses offered at different levels, Introduction to Judaism, study and seniors groups all showing the importance of time and resources we invest in Jewish education.
In the past year, we have developed a new project to unite the past and future and our homes with the community. The aim of the  Nuestra Mezuza  project is to have families write mezuzot along with sofer Sebastian Grimberg. This way, what we affix to our houses is not a purchased object, but rather the fruit of an experience comprising our desires, intentions and encounters.
Over 100 families in our community have already written over 200 mezuzot. It is moving to see grandparents, grandchildren, parents, children, siblings and families writing their own  Mezuzot  together with the sofer. This is NCI.

Give Masorti Jews a Seat at the TableMERCAZ

MERCAZ   makes our voice heard across the Jewish world, is vital to the existence of every program we run globally and gives our movement a seat at the table.
This is the message the 36 delegates to  MERCAZ Olami's convention heard throughout the weeklong strategic seminar in Neve Ilan, Israel this past January. During the session, delegates were briefed on the inner workings of  MERCAZ, wrote a strategic plan for the upcoming 2020 WZO elections and raising  MERCAZ's profile in their communities and devised ways to bring out the vote in 2020.
"A strong  MERCAZ is what supports  Masorti Olami, NOAM and  MaromMERCAZ is the key to everything we do" says  Rabbi Alan Silverstein, President of  MERCAZ OLAMI
"We need to let people know that their vote in the  MERCAZ elections directly effects Jewish life in their communities".
For more information on the seminar, click here.

Pictured: MERCAZ Olami and the European RA 
Praying Mincha at the Kotel.
Masorti Israel Turns 40Masorti40
On Tu B'Shvat the  Masorti Movement in Israel celebrated its 40 th anniversary with a day of learning and a grand Gala evening attended by over 800 participants from six continents. The learning session featured four blocks containing multiple sessions in Hebrew and English led by spiritual, cultural and political leaders offering a wide variety of introspection on Masorti Judaism and Halacha, Zionism, Jewish music, liturgy and philosophy.
Masorti Israel  CEO, Dr.  Yizhar Hess, was the MC for the evening's Gala event and guest speakers included  US Ambassador Dan Shapiro and  Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky . Over the course of the evening each congregation in Israel recognized the contributions of its dedicated members by presenting them with the award of "Yakir Kehillati", and the movement also gave out six awards to members for outstanding contributions to the overall movement.
Highlights of the evening included a musical performance by  Shirat Machar , the vocal ensemble of the  NOAM youth movement as well as the unveiling of the smartphone app of the Masorti movement's egalitarian siddur  V'Ani Tefilati . Participants downloaded the app throughout the day and instead of handing out benchers, Bikrat HaMazon was recited entirely from the app that people had downloaded onto their phones.  

To download the V'Ani Tefialti siddur, click here.

Pictured Left, Shirat Machar, Pictured Right (L-R: Ambassador Dan Shapiro, Dr. Yizhar Hess, Rabbi Mauricio Balter.)
On the Fringe Fringe
This past December and January,  Marom Berlin held a workshop to create our own  Talitot to offer something that would allow us to take Jewish practice into our hands rather than only learning with our heads. The workshop was open to young adults from Marom as well as community members of all ages.
During the first meeting we brought our own shawls and prepared them by adding the four corners and the  Atara . This was especially difficult for those of us who don't normally include sewing in our daily routines. In the second meeting we inserted the  Tzitzit into the four corners and also checked and repaired our synagogue's Talitot. It was very special to sit together and work with our hands and discover people from a different angle. Our activities that are centered around learning normally bring out people who have a lot to say, whereas the atmosphere of working with our hands brought us together in a different way and highlighted those quieter people who are sometimes overlooked in discussions. It made me think anew about pluralism in our communities and reminded me of the four species of Sukkot that symbolize four different types of Jewish identities and the four children in the Haggadah whose different backgrounds and situations lead them to approach the Jewish tradition differently.
I am sure that in the future we will look at our Talitot differently when we wrap ourselves in them each morning or look at the Tzitzit before praying  Sh`ma . I appreciate the imperfect lines in the Talitot because I actually sewed them myself and they remind me of the kindness of the people who helped me finish the Talitot, because I worked too slowly.
Rachel DeBoor,  Marom Berlin

We want to hear what your community is doing. This article was a submission from one of our community members, and if you would like to tell us what your community is doing, please to write to Louis Sachs at Louis@Masortiolami.org with your submission.
Identity and Memory Memory
The holiday of Purim is approaching and along with it come its bundle of colors and customs which take on a life of their own.

Suddenly we are required to stop our routine and to forget everything-our fears and concerns and even to forget who we are.

The holiday provides us with the means to do so-masks, costumes, wine and unbridled humor. This would seem to be the message of the holiday. I don't have any desire to ruin this, but it appears to me that we ought to pause for a moment and search out the hidden meaning of the holiday.

Click here to read on.

Want an all-expenses paid summer in Israel? Onward
Onward NOAM Olami   is a six-week all-expenses paid summer in Israel for students and young adults ages 18-27. Unlike the shorter Birthright trips, Onward participants experience daily life in Israel in greater depth-living in private apartments in Jerusalem, shopping at the Mahane Yehudah Market and taking the bus to work at jobs with other Israelis each day.

Participants are paired with high-level internships in their field which are very attractive to future employees-in the past we have had political science majors interning at the Knesset, opera singers assisting productions at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and an art major who interned at Mamilla Galleries and continues to represent them in Europe to this day.

NOAM Olami, the Masorti movement's network of youth groups seeks to engage youth around the world and continue their involvement and commitment to Masorti Judaism by establishing leadership and branches of NOAM all around the world.

Participants in  Onward NOAM Olami  undergo intensive leadership training, seminars by leading figures within the movement, thought-provoking travel seminars examining the complexities of Israeli society and one-on-one coaching with  NOAM  Olami  staff where the build a year-plan for the establishment of a  NOAM chapter in the participant's home community.
All programs, lodging, travels within Israel and a weekly stipend for groceries is covered by Onward Israel and Masorti Olami. Participants are only responsible for a $200 participant fee and round-trip travel to Israel. For more information on  Onward NOAM Olami  for you or someone you know, please write to  Reut Yahav , director of  NOAM Olami  at  Reut@noamolami.org .

Masorti AmLat Tu B'shvat TuBishvat

Uniao Israelita Portoalegrense, Brazil

Circulo Israelita de Santiago, Chile

Why Is It Important for MERCAZ to Succeed 
in the World Zionist Congress Elections? RabbiAlan

By Rabbi Alan Silverstein
President,  MERCAZ Olami
Our global Movement includes 2 million self-identified Conservative/Masorti Jews with 1.2 million in the USA, 150,000 in Canada, 300,000 across Latin America, 250,000 in Israel, 50,000 in Europe, 25,000 in Mexico, 15,000 in Former Soviet Countries, 10,000 in Australia/Asia/Africa, yet when we do poorly in the elections, people falsely assume we are small and declining.

Even with the disappointing 2015 election results, we receive a total of nearly $2.8 million from either the World Zionist Organization [WZO], Jewish Agency, or Keren Kayemet L'Yisrael [KKL] for Israel/Zionist education, programming, conferences and Israel trips.
We distribute these funds widely among: 15  MERCAZ Chapters,  Masorti Israel (including  NOAM Israel and Hannaton),  The Schechter Institutes Masorti Olami (including  NOAM Olami ),  USCJ [Fuchsberg] including  USY and the  Conservative Yeshiva Marom RA Israel, Latin America and Europe, our five Rabbinical schools -  JTS, Ziegler, Schechter, Seminario, Frankel and the  Ramah Camps .
Better election results would mean significantly larger amounts of funding. And even with the 2015 results, our Movement does have significant representation at the decision-making tables of the WZO, Jewish Agency and KKL. These settings address the global needs of the Jewish People, notably in the realm of Jewish identity and religious pluralism.
Let's work hard to do much better in the 2020 Elections. Our success is crucial to our fulfilling our role within world Jewry!!
NOAM Olami International SeminarNice 
Thirty-four youth leaders from twelve countries on five continents convened on the sunny French Riviera from January 18-21 to meet one another and learn how to strengthen Masorti youth groups around the world. Peer led sessions covered topics on how to incorporate Hebrew language instruction, Israel Education in a Masorti context and how to plan successful camps and engaging programming in the face of the challenges confronted by small Jewish youth groups.
The Seminar was hosted by the Maayane-Or community in Nice, France which boasts the newest chapter in the NOAM network. This conference is held in a different location annually, with last year's being held in Dallas, TX in conjunction with USY's (a NOAM Olami affiliated youth group) International Convention.
The annual NOAM Olami International Seminar was formed to create a sense of a network amongst the movement's worldwide leadership and encourage branches to share content and create themes for the coming year. The leaders, ages 16-40 from Argentina, Uganda, Germany, Brazil, Israel, Ukraine, Chile, USA, Germany, UK, France and Spain formed personal bonds, discussed their challenges, and shared their strategies for cultivating meaningful discussions on Jewish and Israel themes.
To read more,  click here.

Meet Our Staff - Reut Yahav Reut

Reut Yahav has served for three years as the director of  NOAM Olami . Born in Jerusalem, Reut grew up in Kehillat Ramot Zion in French Hill and was active in the NOAM youth movement. For years Reut pursued her passion for Israel by working as a tour guide introducing families and groups to the wonders that the Jewish state has to offer. As director of  NOAM Olami she works to unify the Masorti youth groups around the world into one cohesive movement and to help Masorti youth groups work together to share ideas and strategies and act as a unified worldwide movement. 
Reut has also taught drama and dance and spent ten years doing Hebrew voiceovers for cartoons including  Feivel Goes West and  Little Lulu
She lives in Jerusalem with her husband, Kfir and her daughter, Yuval. 

Traveling? Find a Masorti Synagogue Wherever You Are! Travelling
As a worldwide movement, we are proud to have Masorti synagogues all over the world. Wherever your travels may take you, you will find a warm, welcoming Masorti/Conservative congregation.

To find Masorti synagogues around the world,  click here

For congregations in Israel, click here. And to locate Conservative/Masorti shuls in the United States and Canada, click here.

Stay Tuned for... Tuned

Yom Haatzmaut 70th Celebration
April 20, 2018

For more information click here

Educational Web Kit
Celebrating Israel @ 70

For more information click here

Masorti UK Women's Forum
March 11, 2018
London, United Kingdom

For more information  click here

Hitjadshut II
August 3-6, 218
Lima, Peru

For more information  click here 


Onward NOAM Olami
Summer 2018

For more information  click here