Updates

Mercaz Reads Israel: Someone To Run With

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Celebrate Tu B’Shevat with MERCAZ and the Cantors Assembly

MERCAZ USA, MERCAZ-Masorti Canada, and The Cantors Assembly present …

Tu B’Shevat 5782: A Celebration
Presented Live on Sunday | January 16, 2022 | 7:30 p.m. EST

In collaboration with the Cantors Assembly, MERCAZ USA and MERCAZ-Masorti Canada are delighted to celebrate this Zionist chag (holiday)…

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Tu B’Shevat, Mercaz, & the World Zionist Congress

A Resource for Educators & Youth Group Directors:

This guide was designed to help young people in 4th-12th grade make the connection between Tu B’Shvat, the World Zionist Organization, and the World Zionist Congress election – which will next take place in 2025.

The guide includes both an overview…

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Today’s Zionist: Committed Yet Conflicted | MERCAZ USA General Council Meeting 2021

On Sunday, November 7, MERCAZ USA held their annual General Council meeting via Zoom.

Prior to discharging our outgoing board members and installing our incoming officers and board members, we presented an important, eye opening, and thought provoking panel discussion:

Today’s Zionist:…

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Call for the Prevention of Bloodshed and Immediate Implementation of the "Kotel Agreement"

To:

  • Mr. Isaac Herzog, President
  • MK Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister
  • MK Yair Lapid, Alternate Prime Minister of Israel and Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Minister Matan Kahana, Minister of Religious Services
  • Mr. Shalom Shlomo, Cabinet Secretary

Dear Sirs,

Subject: Call for the Prevention of Bloodshed and Immediate Implementation of the “Kotel Agreement”

We, the leadership…

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Mercaz Reads Israel Book Club Meeting | Hope Valley

On October 21, 2021, MERCAZ Reads Israel held our fourth book club meeting to discuss Rabbi Haviva Ner-David’s novel, Hope Valley, with the author.

Hope Valley is the story of two women who come together to…

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Minister: Reviving Western Wall compromise is on cabinet agenda, backed by PM

A proposal to revive the so-called Western Wall compromise, which guarantees a formal role for Reform and Conservative Judaism in the oversight of a permanent pluralistic prayer pavilion at the Western Wall, has been placed on the cabinet agenda and is widely backed…

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Welcoming Words | A Message from the President

Dr. Marilyn Lishnoff Wind, President, MERCAZ USA

Sarrae and I hope that you have come through this past year plus with no illness and with your families healthy. We recognize that it has been a difficult time for all of us and we hope that you have been able to get your vaccinations and are ready to start the return…

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Executive Musings | A Message from Our Executive Director

Sarrae Crane, Executive Director, MERCAZ USA

The last year-and-a-half has been a blur with one day running into the next as I work from home and seem to be living on Zoom meetings. Last week, I went into the office and was instantly reminded by the materials and boxes I…

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Conservative Movement Leadership Meets with President Herzog and Others in Israel

Sarrae Crane, Executive Director of MERCAZ USA (fifth individual from the left), pictured with the Masorti/Conservative movement delegation to Israel the week of July 11, 2021.

The week of July 11, Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) and the Rabbinical Assembly (RA), led…

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Feature Article: Masorti on Campus … and MERCAZ USA

Eric Leiderman, Board Member, MERCAZ USA

The mission of Masorti On Campus is to provide for the needs of traditional-egalitarian Jewish campus communities …

Founded in 2013, Masorti On Campus (MoC) is an organization dedicated to supporting Jewish student life on North American college campuses. Its mission is to anticipate and provide…

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Coming to a Board Meeting Near You: MERCAZ USA

If you are reading this, you likely already know the critical role MERCAZ USA plays in connecting Jews in the United States to our siblings in Israel and representing Masorti (Conservative) Judaism in Israel and worldwide through the World Zionist Congress.

You probably also know that most of your…

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Feature Article: Growing Our Zionist Romance As Masorti Jews

Rabbi Dan Ornstein, Congregation Ohav Shalom, Albany NY

I like to compare our relationship with IsraeI to a romance which struggles to blossom into mature love. I remember well my first serious summertime Zionist romance. I was fed a steady diet of puppy love for Israel from the time that I was very young….

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Israel's High Court Rules For Pluralism

On March 1, 2021, after more than 15 years of struggle, the Masorti Movement of Israel was vindicated by the Israeli Supreme Court, which now recognizes its conversions to Judaism for the purposes of the Law of Return and Aliyah to Israel.

Rakefet Ginsburg, the CEO of Masorti Movement, responded to this fantastic news by declaring: “Today is a historic day. The decision handed down by the Israeli Supreme Court…

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MERCAZ USA Welcomes New American Zionist Movement (AZM) Leadership and New Member Organizations

On June 22. the American Zionist Movement (AZM) elected a new slate of officers, one that reflects the American Zionist community in this country, spanning the religious and political spectrum. We are hopeful that this new leadership can heal some of the rifts that have been created over the last few years:

  • President, Deborah Isaac, AMIT Children, NY
  • Chair of the National…
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Diving Into the Israel Experience: Mercaz Reads Israel

Our fourth book will be Hope Valley by Rabbi Haviva Ner DavidSAVE THE DATE for our next book club meeting:…

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MERCAZ USA General Council Meeting

SAVE THE DATE: Sunday, November 7, 2021

Every four years, MERCAZ USA holds its General Council meeting where we elect our new officers, vote on bylaw amendments, and learn together with guest presenters. Our past conventions have been in person – but learning from the positive outcomes and increased engagement with our virtual gatherings this past year, we will hold this convention via Zoom so people…

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MERCAZ Reads Israel: Watch our Book Club Discussion about ‘All The Rivers’

Our most recent MERCAZ READS ISRAEL book selection was All The Rivers, a novel by Dorit Rabinyan.

A controversial, award-winning story about the passionate but untenable affair between an Israeli woman and a Palestinian man. Banned from classrooms by Israel’s Ministry of Education, this remarkable novel is…

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MERCAZ USA Supports Virus Assistance to India

MERCAZ USA is a signatory on this letter, drafted by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, urging The White House to provide support and relief to India as they face a potential third wave of Covid-19 infections.

MERCAZ USA is a member organization of the the Conference of Presidents.


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MERCAZ USA Stands in Solidarity with Israel

As we monitor the escalating violence in Israel, we share the following with you from our partner organizations, standing in  prayer and solidarity with Israel:

 

Rabbinical Assembly Responds to Rocket Fire, Violent Attacks in Israel

In light of the deteriorating security situation in Israel, The Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of…

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In the Shadows of the Shoah and Refusniks: A New Tradition to Celebrate the Miracle of Israel

This piece is adapted from a sermon delivered by Rabbi Eytan Hammerman to his congregation on the Shabbat after Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israel’s Day of Independence):

Emily, when I was your age, at…

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Landmark Israel Supreme Court Ruling Recognizes Masorti-Conservative and Reform Conversions for Aliyah

This statement was released by The Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel on March 1. The original posting can be found here.

Also … read the statement issued by the Rabbinical Assembly

After more than 15 years of struggle, the Masorti Movement of Israel today was vindicated…

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Watch Our Shushan Purim Party!

Feel like climbing the walls? That’s Ok. Because when you drop down on the other side you’ll find a joyous Shushan Purim Party!

Mercaz Olami, the political arm of Masorti-Conservative Judaism in the National Institutions of the Jewish people – WZO, Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (JNF), Keren Hayesod, the Jewish Agency – strongly opposes a proposal made by the recently appointed Chairman of the Keren Kayemet Board…

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Statement on the KKL-JFN Move to Purchase West Bank Land

New York, NY – The Rabbinical Assembly, the rabbinical association of the global Conservative/Masorti movement, joins with Mercaz Olami, Mercaz Canada, Mercaz USA, and the Cantors Assembly in strong opposition to the decision by the Executive Committee of Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (KKL – JNF) to establish more expansive guidelines for the purchase of land in the West Bank territories. We reject these plans, approved by the executive committee on…

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Statement on the Attack on the United States Capitol

Organizations of the Conservative Movement of Judaism are appalled by the violence that took place at the United States Capitol Wednesday afternoon. We call on all American political and religious leaders to condemn in unequivocal terms this attack on democracy and its institutions. We also demand that,…

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MERCAZ Presents ... Tu B'Shevat 5781: A Celebration with the Cantors Assembly

MERCAZ USA, MERCAZ Canada, and MERCAZ UK presents

Tu B’Shevat 5781: A Celebration with the Cantors Assembly
Presented Live on Wednesday | January 27, 2021
3:00 p.m. EST (New York)

We are delighted to announce that MERCAZ USA we…

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What Happened at the World Zionist Congress: A Briefing from the AZM

On December 30, the AZM (American Zionist Movement, of which MERCAZ USA is a member organization) released this briefing on the proceedings of the 38th World Zionist Congress which took place in October:

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Mercaz Reads Israel Book Club Meeting 2

Discussing ‘If All The Seas Were Ink’ with author Ilana Kurshan on September 23, 2020:

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Feature Article: A Millennial Yankee in Theodor Herzl’s Court

Eric Leiderman, Board Member, MERCAZ USA

In late October, I was supposed to be in Israel attending the 38th World Zionist Congress, as a young adult delegate…

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MERCAZ USA Board Votes to Accept IHRA Definition of Antisemitism

A component of Mercaz USA’s mandate to foster engagement opportunities between Israelis and those in the Diaspora is combating antisemitism, anti-Zionism & BDS. In support of those objectives, and to align ourselves with the greater Jewish community, our board voted on December 1, 2020 to accept and adopt…

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Mercaz Reads Israel: Diving Into the Israel Experience

In the midst of the emerging pandemic and in the wake of the World Zionist Congress election campaign, MERCAZ USA launched an online book club featuring contemporary Israeli literature that provides insight into and understanding…

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Adding An Important Ingredient for MERCAZ’s Success: Salsa

It may not be sexy. Most likely, it will not be the topic of conversation on a Zoom call before your meeting is called to order. In fact, the impact this development will have on your day to day life will probably be zero. However, MERCAZ USA is in the process of…

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Inspirational Stories From Israel: Like Dreamers

As the COVID-19 pandemic drives us physically apart, inspiration is here to bring us closer together. The Jerusalem Parliament has joined forces with entrepreneurs, innovators, artists, and social activists in a series of ‘boutique’ inspirational conversations about Israel’s new society yet to be seen. Enjoy fascinating conversations, hear compelling stories, and discover the new Israel from the comfort of your home. From the heart of Israel comes a powerful…

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MERCAZ USA Joins ADL Coalition to Support Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act

MERCAZ USA is a proud signatory on this letter – drafted by the ADL – sent to every U.S. Senator, urging each of them to work in partnership to enact the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act

 


Download a PDF version…

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MERCAZ Delegates reflect on the 38th World Zionist Congress

MERCAZ delegates from across the globe represented the Conservative/Masorti movement during the 38th World Zionist Congress. What follows are personal reflections from a selection of our delegates:

Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, CEO of the USCJ and the Rabbinical…

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From a virtual World Zionist Congress to a Real Zionism

Rabbi Mauricio Balter, Chairman of Mercaz Olami and Masorti Olami

In the few weeks since the 38th World Zionist Congress finished I have experienced several feelings I would like to share with you.

Firstly: The virtual World Zionist Congress was a major challenge. Generally speaking, and given the circumstances, it was successful. We were…

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The real drama these days: The Zionist movement almost split

Dr. Yizhar Hess, Vice Chairman of the World Zionist Organization (previously served as the CEO of the Masorti Movement in Israel)

This article originally appeared in Haaretz on October 29, 2020

October 22 marked the conclusion of the 38th Zionist Congress. Before you yawn, listen to what happened behind the…

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Success at the World Zionist Congress, Your Votes Mattered!

Rabbi Dr. Alan Silverstein, MERCAZ Olami, President

At the once-every-five years World Zionist Congress, our movement is represented by MERCAZ Olami, with 15 chapters around the world. Thanks to the campaigning during the Congress Election Campaign, we achieved 37 mandates, 18 from the USA and 19 from the rest of the world, meaning…

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This #GivingTuesday, Join MERCAZ USA's cause supporting Masorti Judaism and Pluralism in Israel!

Tuesday, December 1, is #GivingTuesday, and we are asking that you consider MERCAZ USA to be among those organizations you choose to support this year!

MERCAZ USA has been fulfilling its Read More


Ensuring the Pluralistic and Unified Nature of Our National Zionist Institutions

 

An Update From MERCAZ USA on the proceedings of the 38th World Zionist Congress

After a long and hard-fought struggle and many months leading up to this week, we just completed…

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The 38th World Zionist Congress Closing Session: Day 3 (10/23/20) Replay

The final session of the 38th World Zionist Congress was broadcast live at 4:00 a.m. Eastern, Friday, October 23. You can watch the closing session below:

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The 38th World Zionist Congress: Day 3 (10/22/20) Replay

The third and final day of the 38th World Zionist Congress was broadcast from 9:25 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, October 22. You can watch the recordings of the third day of sessions below.

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The 38th World Zionist Congress: Day 2 (10/21/20) Replay

The second day of the 38th World Zionist Congress was broadcast live from 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, October 21. You can watch the recordings of the second day of sessions below.

Plenary Sessions 6a, 6b, and 7 (broadcast live from 10:55 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Wednesday, October 21):

 

Opening…

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The 38th World Zionist Congress: Day 1 (10/20/20) Replay

The first day of the 38th World Zionist Congress was broadcast live from 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, October 20. You can watch the recording of the first day of sessions below.

 

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Power Grab at the World Zionist Organization (WZO): Vote Tuesday, 10/20, on Measure at WZC Could Undermine Conservative and Reform Judaism in Israel

This urgent message is from the Executive Director, Gideon Aronoff, of our partner organization, The Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel.

Dear Friends,

Unless we act, and act quickly, Conservative…

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Get Ready to 'Join' the 38th World Zionist Congress

On Tuesday, October 20, 2020, the thirty-eighth World Zionist Congress will convene.

This year, the Congress will not sit in the Capital of our National and spiritual homeland, Jerusalem – but will gather together from the four corners of…

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An Accidental Memoirist: Mercaz Reads Israel, "If All The Seas Were Ink"

AN ACCIDENTAL MEMOIRIST

By Ilana Kurshan

Ilana Kurshan is the author of If All the Seas Were Ink, published in 2017 by St. Martin’s Press. She has translated books of Jewish interest by Ruth Calderon, Benjamin…

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Join Mercaz Olami at the Kotel to bring in Tisha B'Av

UPDATE | Wednesday, July 29, 5:00 p.m. EDT: If you missed the live presentation > This beautiful chanting of Megillat Eicha at the Egalitarian Kotel can be viewed on Masorti…

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MERCAZ Reads Israel: Register for our book club discussion about 'If All The Seas Were Ink'

MERCAZ USA and MERCAZ-Masorti Canada are proud to announce our second ‘MERCAZ Reads Israel’ book club meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 23 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern!

Our upcoming book club meeting will feature a discussion with author Ilana Kurshan, exploring her book ‘If All The…

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Official U.S. Zionist Congress Election Results Have Been Posted

From January 21 through March 11, the American Zionist Movement coordinated a historic Zionist Election to determine the number of delegates, representing 15 slates (including MERCAZ) from the U.S., to serve as representatives in the…

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MERCAZ Reads Israel: Catch up with our 1st book & get ready for our 2nd meeting!

This past spring, MERCAZ USA launched our online book club, MERCAZ Reads Israel. MERCAZ Reads Israel is an opportunity for lovers of books and Israel to read literature from contemporary Israeli authors. Our goal is to select books that provide insights to, and understanding…

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Conference of Presidents Members Condemn Mort Klein Black Lives Matter Tweets

Mercaz USA, as a member organization of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, is a signatory on this letter to Mort Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America, regarding several of his recent Tweets.

June 12, 2020

Mort Klein
President
Zionist Organization of America

Dear Mr. Klein,

We, the undersigned members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, condemn the tweets regarding Black…

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MERCAZ Reads Israel | On June 2, Discuss 'A Rabbi's Daughter' with Author Avigail Graetz

Join us for our first MERCAZ Reads Israel Book Club Meeting!

Discuss our first book selection, ‘ A Rabbi’s Daughter ‘ with author Avigail Graetz on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. EDT.

Watch the inaugural webinar for the MERCAZ READS ISRAEL book club!

On Wednesday, April 22, Mercaz USA launched our online book club – MERCAZ Reads Israel – featuring contemporary Israeli literature that provides insight into and understanding of the lives and concerns of our Israeli counterparts.

This new, exciting initiative is a partnership between Mercaz USA and the Read More


World Zionist Congress Election 2020 Update

The preliminary results for the 2020 World Zionist Congress election in the U.S. were released by the American Zionist Movement on March 23.

We recognize that in the short time since the election for the World Zionist Congress has ended, that the world…

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MERCAZ Reads ISRAEL: Join The Club Today!

Join MERCAZ READS ISRAEL, an online book club featuring contemporary Israeli literature that provides insight into and understanding of the lives and concerns of our Israeli counterparts.

This new, exciting initiative is a partnership between Mercaz USA and the The Times of Israel  – 800,000 Israeli Jews, or 13% of the country’s Jewish population, now self-identify as Reform or Conservative, a marked increase from numbers charted in previous studies. The study also found that the number of Reform or Conservative communities throughout Israel has climbed to 125, 56 of which have permanent synagogues.  There are 280 rabbis affiliated with…

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