Am Echad in the News


U.S. Orthodox Jews Accuse Liberal Streams Of Hijacking Jewish Discourse

Some 40 Orthodox Jews from the US are in Israel in a bid to convince the government that the voice of the liberal Jewish streams in the US does not represent Jews in their country.

In the fiery conversation, which has been conducted over the past year over the canceled agreement for an egalitarian section at the Western Wall, US Orthodox Jews have been left out, two of the members of the delegation explained to The Jerusalem Post in a meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday.


Recap Of The ‘Am Echad’ Mission To Israel

A two day Orthodox Jewish Leadership mission to Jerusalem, under the banner of Am Echad, to raise awareness of the deep emotional, spiritual and economic connection that America’s Orthodox Jewish community shares with Israel, was extremely productive, with more than three dozen members of the Am Echad delegation meeeting with top elected officials and leading Israeli rabbis.

The February 26th – February 27th trip was the third Am Echad mission to Israel. Two previous missions which took place in 1997 and 1998 by then-president of Agudath Israel of America, Rabbi Moshe Sherer, z”l, were prompted by the efforts of the American Reform and Conservative movements to change Israel’s conversion laws. 

On Final Day, Am Echad Mission Meets With Prime Minister, President, Mayor and MKs

Summing up the brief, yet intense, visit of the Am Echad delegation to Israel this week, Mr. Shlomo Werdiger, chairman of the board of Agudath Israel of America, found a few minutes to speak with Hamodia. “We think that — b’chasdei Shamayim — the shtadlanus paid off, and the intensive lobbying has at least opened the leading Israeli officials to listen to our side of the story. Of course we can’t expect instant results, but the fact that they were willing to hear us out, that in itself is a major achievement.

“We will need to follow this up once we get back to America, but we definitely see some positive progress.”


Orthodox Tell Israel To Stand Ground On Western Wall   

American ultra-Orthodox leaders traveled to Israel this week to tell Israeli officials to ignore liberal American Jews’ demands to allow women to pray at the Western Wall.

In statements and documents announcing the trip, the ultra-Orthodox leaders attacked non-Orthodox Jewish groups, saying that while ultra-Orthodoxy is growing, non-Orthodox Jewish movements are “dying,” and that acceding to the non-Orthodox on the Western Wall debate would be a “waste of money and resources.”

“It would be excessive for American liberal leaders to demand even 1% of the space at the Kotel afforded to traditional Jews,” the group wrote in a position paper distributed to the media, using the Hebrew term for the Western Wall.


Will the Real Reps Please Stand Up  

For years, America’s dwindling Conservative and Reform movements have created a false narrative that they represent American Jewry. Will last week’s American Orthodox mission — representing Israel’s biggest supporters — be able to turn the tide on this warped mindset? 

Last week, the Am Echad Mission, representing the full spectrum of Orthodox communities in the United States, spent two days in a whirlwind of meetings in Israel. One of the most important questions the delegates were asked was, “Where have you been until now?” 


כל רגע - גדולי ישראל: תגידו לרה"מ נתניהו שאסור להכיר ברפורמים

חברי המשלחת אצל הגר"ג אדלשטיין (כיכר השבת - באדיבות המצלם)

רגע לפני הפגישות עם צמרת מדינת ישראל נפגשו ראשי משלחת ארגון 'עם אחד' עם מנהיגי הציבור הליטאי

מרן הגר"ח קנייבסקי וראש הישיבה הגרי"ג אדלשטיין.

לפגישה עם הרבנים הגיעו שלמה ורדיגר יו"ר ועד חבר הנאמנים של אגודת ישראל בארצות הברית, ראש

אגודת ישראל בקליפורניה ד"ר ארווין לייבוביץ, והרב בוימל ראש אגודת ישראל בארצות הברית.

חברי המשלחת סיפרו למרן שר התורה הגר"ח קנייבסקי על מטרת בואם והתייעצו עמו באריכות על ההתמודדות עם השפעת הרפורמים.

'Reform is disappearing while the Orthodox community is growing'  

A delegation of forty Orthodox businessmen and other prominent figures in the Orthodox community in the US met recently with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, and other Israeli leaders.

During the meetings, the delegation gave a presentation on the shifting demographics of the American Jewish community, highlighting the rapid growth of the Orthodox sector, while noting the steep decline in the number of Reform Jews.

The delegation expressed their support for the government's decision to nix the so-called "Western Wall Deal", which would have expanded the space allotted for mixed-gender prayer, and granted the Reform and Conservative movements de facto recognition as joint administrators of the holy place.


It’s been marketed as a conversation, but it looks more like a confrontation. The Jewish Federation will begin its annual conference (the GA) in Tel Aviv in a few days. The official agenda is to create a conversation between American and Israelis Jews, but one look at the program suggests a contentious attitude. Although the issue of the Kotel (Western Wall) has not been singled out in the program, the Women of the Wall have chosen to move the issue front and center on the GA agenda, by organizing busloads of GA American delegates to join them for a special service.

JFNA, Time for you to Listen

Talking is good. The sticky part however, is that it’s not so much “we need to talk” on the part of the Federation as it is what they feel they have a right to insist upon vis-a-vis Israeli cultural, religious and other policies.

The Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) 70 Year Anniversary GA Mission in Israel, taking place October 17th through the 24th, is focusing on dialogue between the Jewish leadership of North America and the leadership in Israel. JFNA is an American Jewish umbrella organization representing over 150 Jewish Federations and 300 independent Jewish communities across North America. Recognizing that Israel and diaspora Jewry don’t see eye to eye on many issues concerning Israel, the Federation’s organizers are publicizing their mission under the banner of “We need to talk.”

JFNA’s Chutzpah

I first made aliyah to Israel in 1979, but returned to the US in 1988. During the 26 years between my yerida and my return to Israel in 2014, I became more and more involved in pro-Israel activism, both because I felt that I was more knowledgeable than most Americans about the issues, and because of a nagging feeling that I should never have left.

I wrote, spoke, arranged events, passed out fliers, picketed anti-Israel happenings, and tried to convince my mostly liberal and progressive friends that they should support Israel (see Rob Vincent’s comments about the futility of this enterprise here).

The Most Irrelevant Diss: The GA Diss

I was sitting this morning with an American Jew. He was previously very active in his Jewish community in America and just finished his service in the Israeli military. I asked him if he knew that the GA was coming up and he said, "you mean the G8?". I said, "no, the General Assembly of Jewish Federations". He said, "oh, what do they do?". EXACTLY. 

The reason I asked this guy about the GA this morning is because I had just finished reading an article in the Jpost by Gil Troy called: "The Tel Aviv GA: Building Bridges, Not Dissing Jerusalem". see here

I think it behooves us to examine some of the points in the piece, and its my blog, so let's do that. 

The General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of America, to be held this coming week in Israel, has created a bit of a ruckus here in Israel. For one thing, the Tel Aviv venue is thought to betray an agenda. Important gatherings like this should be held in Jerusalem, in order to underscore the idea that the Holy City is the capital of the Jewish State. There’s a feeling that the choice of Tel Aviv over Jerusalem is meant to be “in your face” to President Trump, who moved the United States embassy in the opposite direction, something much desired by both Israeli and American Jewry up until now. Writer Caroline Glick believes the entire event is meant as an anti-Trump protest.

But there are other concerns. The GA has billed the event as “Israel and the Diaspora: We need to talk,” going on to describe what the organizers apparently see as a rift between Israeli Jews and American Jews. 

© 2018 by Am Echad.