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August 26, 2016 / 22 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘mission’

Sustaining Israel’s Friends On Capitol Hill: NORPAC’s Mission – and Missions – in Washington

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

To answer your first question: No, NORPAC is not affiliated with AIPAC, but you can certainly be forgiven for the confusion. Both organizations are passionate about their advocacy for the State of Israel and both feature the letters P-A-C in their organization’s name. However, despite the similarities, only NORPAC is a political action committee which means that only NORPAC is allowed to fundraise and donate money to U.S. senators and members of congress that share the organization’s belief in a strong and enduring relationship between the USA and Israel (AIPAC is a registered lobbying group, which cannot donate money, and the P-A-C stands for public affairs committee). This distinction is important, explains Dr. Ben Chouake, the president of NORPAC. “The advocacy we do and that AIPAC does is extremely important, but it is also important to help people get elected who are strong on your issues and fundraising is one way to help make that happen.”

NORPAC’s strategy to maintain the historically vital connection between Israel and America is therefore two-pronged. The organization’s flagship program is their annual mission to Washington, a one-day whirlwind of on-the-hill advocacy, but NORPAC also proudly hosts an increasing number of fundraising events for politicians from around the country throughout the course of the year.

Chouake assumed the position of national president in 2000, and over the course of his tenure, the organization has grown from a small New Jersey-centric program that sent 20-30 people to Washington D.C. on its annual mission and hosted one or two fundraisers a year, to a prominent voice for Israel which sends over 1,000 people from all over the tri-state area on the annual mission and hosts 40 or more fundraisers every year. Of course, Chouake doesn’t do it all on his own, and he’s the first to let you know.

“I’m a good cheerleader,” Chouake says, “but the key is to have a great team to cheerlead for.” With only one full-time employee, the indefatigable Avi Schranz, working for the organization, NORPAC relies on the tireless efforts of a small army of volunteers to meet their increasingly ambitious annual goals.

As NORPAC has grown, new thriving chapters have sprung up further and further away from the original chapter in Englewood, NJ. David Steinberg, a highly respected member of the Kew Gardens Hills community, is the president of the Brooklyn-Queens chapter of NORPAC. Steinberg also serves as a mission chair along with Richie Schlussel and Dr. Laurie Baumel. Together the mission chairs organize every aspect of the mission to Washington. The logistics are incredibly complex but important to get right, as consistency in message is vital to a successful mission to Washington.

“You don’t get a thousand Jews walking into Capitol Hill at one time who are all accidentally saying the same thing,” says Steinberg, “everything that happens on the mission requires an incredible degree of planning and discipline.”

Over the course of their one-day mission this year on May 18, the NORPAC volunteers met with 98 senators and over 340 members of the House of Representatives. In some cases, the meetings were hosted by senior members of the congressmember’s staff, but often the congressman or congresswoman themselves sat down with the NORPAC volunteers.

Jeff Schreiber, the logistics chair of the NORPAC mission to Washington, explains how NORPAC’s size provides exactly the type of flexibility that allows for such a successful and unique day of advocacy. “When AIPAC sends 15,000 people to Washington,” says Schreiber, “there is only so much they can do with a group that large. With our 1,000 to 1,300 volunteers we are able to send small groups all around the Hill and we are able to hold all of these incredible face-to-face meetings in the span of one day.”

Yehuda Raskin

Balak – What Is Israel’s National Mission?

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

For the first time in a while, the main characters of this parsha are not the people of Israel. While the story of Bilaam and Balak are interesting, we wonder: the Torah isn’t an all-inclusive history book; why does the Torah tell us this story?

 

This video is from Rabbi David Block and Immanuel Shalev.

Link to last week:

https://www.alephbeta.org/course/lecture/chukat-2016-5776/autoplay

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For more about Balak, see here (http://bit.ly/29zAvyJ) or here (http://bit.ly/29EVRfS)

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Immanuel Shalev

Yad Vashem Leadership Mission Arrives in Israel

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

More than 50 influential friends and advocates of Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, participating in a Leadership Mission arrived in Israel today. The Mission brings together Yad Vashem’s steadfast supporters from around the world to explore prewar Jewish life in Europe, to reflect on the past, present and future, and to connect to Yad Vashem as well as to one another. Among some of the notable members of the Mission are Chairman of the American Society for Yad Vashem Lenny Wilf, world-renowned hotelier Mark Moskowitz, entrepreneur and philanthropist Yossie Hollander, Holocaust survivor Roberto Kucinski, and Barry Levine. In Poland, the Mission visited Auschwitz-Birkenau and the Wroclaw and Wolfsberg forced labor camps before spending a meaningful Shabbat in Krakow, where they were joined by Yad Vashem Council Chairman Rabbi Israel Meir Lau. 

 The Israel portion of the Mission begins with an private audience with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin. Participants will also meet with Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev, Director General Dorit Novak, and many of Yad Vashem’s Senior Staff. They will tour the campus on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem, and be briefed about Yad Vashem’s far-reaching activities in the fields of Holocaust remembrance, documentation, research and education.   

David Israel

ZOA Florida At Capitol Mission Day

Monday, June 6th, 2016

ZOA Florida attended the recent Capitol Hill Mission Day in Washington. The organization brought one of its largest groups to the event.

The attendees heard from dozens of lawmakers and met with key senators and representatives or their aides.

ZOA Florida urged lawmakers to co-sign the Iran Ballistic Missile Sanctions Act of 2016 (S. 2725 and H.R. 4815) and increased sanctions legislation with S.2726 and H.R. 4992. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is a co-signer of both. They also advocated for withholding funding to the Palestinian Authority so long as incitement and terrorism continue and urged them to block any U N Security Council resolutions that would be dangerous for Israel, especially any actions that grants Palestinian Arabs a state unilaterally.

For more information and updates contact florida@zoa.org.

ZOA Florida constituents meeting with Florida congressman Ron DeSantis (fourth from left).

ZOA Florida constituents meeting with Florida congressman Ron DeSantis (fourth from left).

Shelley Benveniste

The Blue Card: A Time-Limited Mission

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Two weeks ago we observed Yom HaShoah, a day on which we commemorate the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, and honor the heroic survivors. Tragically, many of them are still struggling to survive. In the U.S. alone, 25,000 Holocaust survivors live below the poverty line. These survivors lack the most basic needs – food and medicine – and often have to choose between the two. It is horrifying to contemplate that after all they have been forced to endure, these survivors are continuing to suffer. For many, it is organizations like The Blue Card that help them make ends meet.

The Blue Card is the only organization with the sole mission to provide financial assistance to needy survivors. It assists 2,400 survivors annually with the cost of food, medicine, rent, utilities, and other necessities. By doing so, it provides more than just financial support, it restores the dignity that has been snatched away from them.Baitch-052016-Blue-Card

The Blue Card provides for additional urgent needs such as telephone emergency response systems, dental services, and a program for survivors battling cancer. It also arranges for supplementary programs for survivors that add some joy and comfort to their lives. Survivors enjoy summer retreats and cards with $100 checks on their birthdays. One program they particularly appreciate is the Bring a Smile program. It is similar to the Make-a-Wish foundation in that it grants recipients their final wish. For example, one survivor had never learned to swim, so the organization sponsored the cost of swimming lessons for her

The Blue Card was originally created in 1934 to help Jews that were being affected by Nazi persecution through the loss of jobs, forcibly closed businesses, etc. The name of the organization derives from the blue card donors would receive and which would get stamped with each benefit. After the Holocaust, the foundation was reorganized to help survivors from all over Europe reestablish their lives in this country. Today, 82 years later, its mission has stayed the same: to allow survivors to age safely in their homes, enable them to be independent, and help them maintain their dignity.

Unlike most charities, this organization has a limited time frame. It is imperative to remember that these survivors won’t be with us forever. Executive Director Masha Pearl states: “It is a very time-limited mission and we have to support survivors because we don’t want to say that we could have done more when we had the chance.” The organization foresees that the needs will remain high until 2025, because Holocaust survivors face more physical, emotional, and financial challenges than the general elderly population.

Baitch-052016-BedSurvivors receive help by connecting with their local communities and service agencies. Case managers at social service agencies review the application and help the survivors get what they need with minimal amount of red tape. The amount of help a survivor receives is dependent on his or her need. Some may need one-time assistance like for hearing aids, dentures, or accumulated hospital bills. There are others who have been supported for over twenty years.

Sounds like a great organization? It is and could use our help. The Blue Card sends volunteers to visit survivors in hospitals and also to distribute food packages on the holidays. The organization also recruits professionals who donate their services, such as dentists, attorneys, and doctors. People who are athletically inclined can give to the organization by participating in endurance events, such as the New York City Marathon.

Survivors living in poverty is not something people like to talk about, though it should be. Let’s start a conversation today.

Tzippy Baitch

Jordanian Warplanes Fly Over Pilot’s Hometown on Return from ‘Mission’

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Jordanian pilots honored their dead wing man Thursday in a flyby over his hometown as they returned from an unnamed “mission,” Jordan state-run television reported.

King Abdullah II was visiting the pilot’s family in Karak also on Thursday, just two days after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group released the barbaric video showing the captured pilot being burned alive in a cage.

Jordan’s military vowed to take full revenge on the group. The force is participating in the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS.

The Hashemite monarch asked the Obama administration earlier this week for more “sophisticated air-to-ground weaponry, ground-to-ground weaponry, weapons like anti-tank [and] spare parts,” said Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Chairman Senator John McCain. Abdullah II managed to submit his request just prior cutting his visit short and flying back to Amman to deal with the murder of his air force pilot.

The senator told media that committee members from both sides of the aisle agreed to sign a letter to President Barack Obama to fast-track deliveries. He added that if the administration did not act immediately in response to the letter, “which every member is going to sign on this committee, we will then introduce legislation direct to the floor.”

Media reports in Arab and Kurdish news outlets reported overnight Wednesday that Jordanian Air Force fighter pilots struck dozens of ISIS fighters in Mosul, Iraq. An unconfirmed report claimed an ISIS commander for the Ninveh area, Abu Obeidah El Tunisi, was killed in the air strike.

Jordan threatened to avenge the death of its pilot at the hands of ISIS; on Wednesday two imprisoned Al Qaeda terrorists were hanged at dawn. Both were on death row and awaiting execution for multiple murders.

Hana Levi Julian

NYS Gov Andrew Cuomo, State Leaders on Israel Solidarity Visit

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and a bi-partisan delegation of state government and community leaders have spent the past three days packed back-to-back with briefings, meetings and tours of Israel.

Mostly, they have been expressing their solidarity with residents of the Jewish State. It comes in stark contrast to this week’s White House hold on a routine delivery of Hellfire missiles to its “closest friend and ally, the only democracy in the Middle East” — at a time when that ally is threatened by a foe receiving arms from Iran and Syria.

Cuomo and his fellow New Yorkers have done endless ‘meet and greets,’ especially in Jerusalem, where they stopped for the requisite snack at ‘Big Apple Pizza’ on the Ben Yehuda tourist walkway at the heart of the capital, and in the Old City of Jerusalem where the governor said a prayer at the Western Wall and was hugged by the leader of probably every represented faith, plus others.

Now Cuomo, Senate Majority co-leaders Dean Skelos and Jeff Klein, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver are reaching the end of their three day solidarity visit. They’ve seen the people most affected by the current conflict: the millions of Israelis targeted by Hamas and allied terrorists in Gaza with their missiles and kidnapping plots and tunneling projects.

The state leaders arrived on August 12 to reaffirm “the State of New York’s support in light of the continued threat of attacks by Hamas and other terrorist organizations,” according to the media statement sent out by the governor’s office. Cuomo and his delegation met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, New York students living and learning in Israel and Israeli residents directly affected by the Gaza attacks.

“We are grateful for the Governor’s support and words of encouragement, and proud of the strong relationship we share with the people of New York, which is based on our shared values,” Consul General of Israel in New York, Ido Aharoni said.

“Friends stand together in times of crisis, and I am proud to lead this bipartisan delegation to Israel to reaffirm our friendship and support,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York has always had a special relationship with Israel. As Hamas and other terrorist organizations continue to threaten Israel, now is the time to deliver that message of solidarity in person.”

Senate Co-Leader Dean G. Skelos said, “During this important moment in history, it is incumbent upon New York to reaffirm its strong and unconditional support for Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas-led attacks and to take whatever action they deem necessary to protect their people from the brutal tactics of homicide bombers. I am pleased to join the Governor, Senate Co-Leader Klein, and Speaker Silver as part of the official New York State delegation visiting Israel this week, and look forward to bringing the good wishes of the people of my district and the state of New York to our nation’s most trusted and reliable ally.” Senate Co-Leader Jeffrey D. Klein said, “As the grandson of Holocaust survivors the State of Israel is not only personally sacred to me but a beacon for the values and rights inherent in a Democracy which I hold dear. I am pleased to join Governor Cuomo, Senate Co-Leader Skelos, and Speaker Silver as part of the official New York delegation, as a show of support that we will always stand in solidarity with Israel.” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “Having visited many times, I am delighted to join Governor Cuomo and Senators Skelos and Klein in our mission to Israel to show New York’s solidarity with the people of the Jewish State. As a lifetime supporter of Israel, I cannot overstate the importance of this trip. I am proud that many New York businesses were started there and I believe it is essential that the Empire State’s leaders express our solidarity with Israel and its people, especially during these difficult times. I am certain our visit will reinforce the already strong ties that bind New York and the State of Israel.”

Rachel Levy

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/nys-gov-andrew-cuomo-state-leaders-on-israel-solidarity-visit/2014/08/14/

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