The Office of the Deputy Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, in cooperation with the Jewish Federation of Metro-West and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized a rabbinic seminar for rabbis of the three branches of Judaism, which included 12 rabbis from the community of Metro-West, New Jersey, USA.
During the seminar meetings were held with Mr. Avraham Duvdevani, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and with Mr. Natan Sharansky, Chairperson of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Vice Chair of the World Zionist Organization, Dr. David Breakstone, who met with them at the Herzl Center, presented a workshop on Herzl's vision after they visited the museum and enjoyed the interactive “smart wall” activity at the Herzl Center.
The participants also visited the National Institutions Building, led by Michael Jankelowitz; they met with senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on a host of issues, such as the Iranian threat, the new media and ways to utilize it, the peace process, the Israel Divestment Campaign and more. Additionally, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs arranged a tour for the group along the Seam Zone in Jerusalem and gave a lecture with detailed explanations of the region.
Other (interesting sessions were held in the Supreme Court, with Justice Elyakim Rubinstein, and in the Knesset with members of the Knesset, MK Dr. Nachman Shai, Pnina Tamano-Shata and Dr. Shimon Ohayon. Eran Lerman, Deputy National Security Council for foreign policy and international affairs, met with the group for a particularly interesting hour on the agenda of the Israeli government and the State of Israel. Another extremely interesting meeting was held at the Van Leer Institute with Rabbi Prof. Naftali Rothenberg who spoke about Judaism and Zionism.
It should also be noted that one of the days of the seminar was devoted to visiting the Metro-West Federation’s projects in Israel. As part of the day they visited Kibbutz Erez where they received a briefing on the security situation in the south.
The purpose of the seminar was to provide the rabbis with additional and more modernized tools to expand on the topic of hasbara first hand, so that they can use them in their communities. At the end of the seminar the participants thanked the organizers – Marty Davis and Nava Avissar from the Office of the Vice Chairman, Ami Mel, Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Jewish Communities Department and Amir Shaham, Director of Israel Operations, United Jewish Communities of Metro-West – for the rich and diverse program, and they expressed hopes to return and participate in a future seminar.
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