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October & November Monthly Report

Masorti Olami Tribute Dinner a Success
 
“A wonderful, wonderful evening.”
“The event was magnificent.  The cantors were so great we were all transported.”
“A truly inspiring event!” 
 
Those are just a few of the accolades that came pouring into our office after Masorti Olami’s annual Evening of Tribute, which took place with a concert and reception on November 2nd at the Park Avenue Synagogue in New York City. We were proud to honor three outstanding Jewish leaders at the event: Dr. Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor Emeritus of the Jewish Theological Seminary, recipient of the Boneh Yisrael Award; Rabbi David H. Lincoln, recently retired senior rabbi of Park Avenue Synagogue in New York, received the Rabbi Mordecai Waxman Memorial Lifetime Rabbinic Leadership Award; and Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi, cantor of Anshe Emet Synagogue in Chicago, received the Hiddur Mitzvah Award.  

 
Thank you to Ms. Janet Tobin, devoted chairperson of the evening, to the dedicated members of the Tribute Committee and to Paticia Vaturi Neiman and Brett Drucker for their efforts in making this evening such a success.  
 
 
Adath Shalom Paris Celebrates 20 Years!
Our flagship Masorti kehillah in Paris, Adath Shalom, celebrated their 20th anniversary from November 6-9. Twenty years ago the idea of a Masorti kehillah in Paris was only a dream for the twelve families that founded the congregation, yet they had the courage to persevere and turn that dream into reality. Today, Adath Shalom, with a membership of over 600 families, has become a vibrant center for prayer, learning and community for people of all ages. 
 
Claude Machline, one of the founders of the congregation and an active member of Massorti France and Masorti Europe, shared the excitement of the weekend with us: 
“The weekend began with an Israeli film evening at a newly renovated cinema, followed by a dinner and cocktails, with 300 people in attendance. On Friday evening, an exceptional Kabbalat Shabbat service took place with over 350 members and the participation of specially invited hazzanim and the choir of Adath Shalom, followed by a champagne kiddush.
"On Shabbat afternoon, Adath Shalom rabbi, Rivon Krigyer, organized an Oneg Shabbat on the subject of "Thoughts on Revelation", with two invited speakers, both members of Adath Shalom: Mireille Hadas-Lebel, professor at la Sorbonne University, specialist of linguistics, and Catherine Challier, professor of philosophy at la Sorbonne University. A Havdalah service and Melave Malka was celebrated with a Klezmer band, dancing, singing and champagne and a special debut of a special anniversary film of Adath Shalom, with each member receiving a copy of the film.  
On Sunday a study session entitled “Limudenu” was organized from 9 am to 4:30 pm with different topics and various workshops offered, led by prominent personalities of the congregation. Over 200 people participated in the study. A special workshop for teenagers also took place and was well attended.  At 6 pm an exceptional concert took place at the Hilton Hotel by Laurent Naouri, a famous baritone and opera singer, followed by a superb gala dinner. All these events left our members breathless and enthusiastic. We all look forward to the next anniversary.” 
 
Mazal tov to Adath Shalom! We look forward to working together to further build and develop the kehillah and the Masorti Movement in France.  
 
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Celebrating 20 years: (l to r): Claude Machline (founder and Honorary President Masorti Europe), Maître Ariel Goldmann (vice-président du CRIF et du FSJU), David Roche (directeur de l'Agence Juive en France), Laurence Spira-Weil (Adath Shalom), S.E l'Ambassadeur d'Israël Daniel Shek, le Rabbin Rivon Krygier, Evelyne Montserrat-Dahan (présidente d'Adath Shalom) 
 
 
Activities in Masorti AMLAT (Latin America)
 
Reported by Yoel Schvartz, Masorti shaliach to Latin America 
On November the 9th, the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht (the Night of Broken Glass), NOAM, Marom and FEDECC (Federation of Conservative Communities in Argentina), in association with the Konrad Adenahuer Foundation and Taglit, participated in the worldwide initiative to illuminate every synagogue and commemorate this date with special ceremonies and activities. Our movement prepared explanatory material on the subject, with support from the German Embassy in Argentina. The material was printed and distributed in all Conservative communities and other Jewish institutions in Argentina. 
 
We are busy with preparations for our Camp Elyse NOAM summer camps which begin in December with over 2000 campers. We have begun training the madrichim (counselors) who will be working at the various camps. We thank the rabbis and Seminario students who are helping with the training.  
 
The graduation ceremony for Darchei NOAM, our training school for madrichim, is scheduled to take place at the Seminario on December 4th. This year there are 80 graduates, from kehillot Amijai, Bet Hilel, SIO Moron, El Jai Bialik, Jerusalem, Adat Israel, Or Jadash, Dor Jadash, Bet El, Beit Israel and Kehilatid. Darchei NOAM is participating in a study led by the Joint on various pedagogical models of informal Jewish education. 
We are working on the development of a website for Marom AMLAT. The goal of the website is to circulate information about events in every Marom community in Latin America and aims to be a study tool through a virtual Beit Midrash.  
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              400 Noam participants attended the Hazemer Festival
              that took place in Kehillat Jerusalem on November 1.  
         
         

Masorti Europe Board Meets in Spain
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Reports were presented by the outgoing president and treasurer and a document was circulated which explained the responsibilities of members of the Board. The first meeting of this new Board was then held and discussions included a strategy update for Masorti Europe which encompassed future progress and growth and the question of budgets for 2009. There was a full presentation of the EU Grundtvig Programme with explanations on how this would function over the next 2 years.  The development of both Noam and Marom across Europe was discussed and suggestions were made as to how the UK could help progress other communities in their planning and activities for youth and young adults.  
 
 
New Shlicha to Beijing
Your browser may not support display of this image.Ada Schwarzapel, our new shlicha (emissary) in Beijing and her husband Elad, arrived in China two weeks ago to work with the Jewish community. This is the first joint shlichut for Masorti Olami and Kehillat Beijing.  Although the kehillah is a community-wide congregation and not formally affiliated with Masorti Olami, Masorti rabbi Peretz Rodman from Israel has traveled to the kehillah to lead activities over the past few years and has established a strong connection.  
Ada, who grew up in Ramah camps and has led USY programs, has been studying Chinese in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has arrived in China full of enthusiasm, knowledge and charm. The community is looking forward to Ada's teaching Hebrew and Judaism to all ages, helping the community organize various activities and Shabbat services, and reaching out to Jewish students at local universities.
The couple is now getting settled and is currently being graciously hosted by the warm members of the community. We wish them much success in their new adventure.
 
 
World Leadership in Jerusalem for WZO and JAFI meetings
Representatives from MERCAZ chapters around the world, along with leadership from Masorti Olami, were in Jerusalem last week for meetings of the Zionist General Council of the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency Assembly, with some members participating in the GA and Jewish Agency Board of Governors as well.
Prior to the schedule of WZO and JAFI meetings, a one day seminar took place at Fuchsberg Center for our delegation. At the seminar, representatives were updated on various issues in the WZO, Jewish Agency and Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (KKL) by our leadership Rabbi Vernon Kurtz, Alan H. Silberman Rabbi Tzvi Graetz and Dr. David Breakstone.
An interesting session entitled “In Search of our Essence: Building the Masorti Movement Around the World – the role of halakhah/ mitzvot, the meaning of kehillah and the place of Israel in our lives” involved panel participants Rabbi Barry Schlesinger (Israel), Rabbi Alejandro Bloch (Chile), Yizhar Hess (Israel), Olya Weinstein, (Israel), Andres Kan (Argentina) and Charlie Schwartz (USA). Mr. Efi Stenzler, chairman of the Directorate of KKL, addressed the group during a session on “Serving and Protecting Gan Eden: The Role of MERCAZ and Masorti Olami in Ecology and Environment”, during which various joint projects between KKL and the Masorti Movement were presented, including a report from Dr. Alon Tal, one of our representatives to KKL. The final session of the day entitled “Moving towards the Future” included the topics of “Models of outreach to our constituents” presented by MERCAZ Canada President Marion Mayman , “Revitalizing Hannaton”, by Yoav Ende, rabbi of Hannaton, and “Masorti Aliyah” by Rabbi Paul Freedman, Director of the Israel Commission for USCJ.
We were especially proud of Rabbi Vernon Kurtz’s participation on a panel on the conversion crisis which took place at the Jewish Agency Assembly. Rabbi Kurtz spoke about the crucial need for the government of Israel to take immediate action to solve the problem of the hundreds of thousands of people who live in Israel who want to convert and are unable to do so due to the bureaucracy and the lack of cooperation by the Rabbinate.
 
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Your browser may not support display of this image.Your browser may not support display of this image.Delegation at Fuchsberg Center                KKL Chairman Efi Stenzler at Fuchsberg     
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MERCAZ delegates voting at Vaad Hapoel
Janet Tobin chairs a Vaad Hapoel

Our UN Representatives
We thank Gloria Landy and Judy Horowitz for their wonderful work in representing the World Council of Conservative Synagogues in the NGO/ Dept. of Public Information in the United Nations.  
Gloria Landy attended the Women Ambassadors Luncheon, sponsored by the NGO Committee on the Status of Women.  
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In photo: Gloria Landy (first row, on right) is sitting next to the new UN Ambassador to the United Nations from Israel, H.E. Ms. Gabriella Shalev. 
Gloria reports that Ms. Shalev has promised to speak to the Informal Jewish NGO Caucus in the future.

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