Today is August 15, 2018 -

I am a Zionist

rob-kovach-thumbnailI am a Zionist. I’ve been to Israel many times. My wife Ilana was born in Israel and has returned many times. We’ve sent our children a total of 14 times to Israel. Going to Israel, learning about Israel, and supporting Israel are financial priorities for us.

You shouldn’t be surprised. In fact, you should expect no less from the president and CEO of your Jewish Federation.

What is surprising to me, however, is the absolute and unwavering support of so many from this community for Israel.

Several community members have children who live in Israel and others who sent their children on summer programs. One might think that the predominant emotion during this dangerous time would be concern or even fear, but it has not been. Without exception, the overwhelming emotion from parents has been that of pride.

People, especially our young adults, whom many have tried to write off as uninterested, are looking for a solidarity mission to Israel, to stand together with Israelis and show our support during this time of crisis. While we do not yet have any missions planned, we are happy to help place people on one of the national missions.

Three weeks ago, we had a community solidarity rally. I asked you to come and bring your checkbooks. Five hundred people showed up, and we raised $100,000.

Today, as the war unfortunately continues, people are looking for our next community gathering, to again learn together and show our solidarity. Hopefully, 500 of you will again come out to Congregation Beth Emeth, this Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m., to hear Martin Raffel speak on whether there is a light at the end of the tunnels.

Martin’s bio reads:
For 27 years, Martin Raffel served as the senior vice president and director of the Task Force on Israel, World Jewry & International Human Rights at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA). In that capacity, he served as the primary resource on a broad range of Israel-related and other international issues for a network of 16 national and 125 local Jewish public affairs/ community relations organizations throughout the United States (JCRCs). He communicated regularly with U.S. government representatives and maintained an ongoing liaison with senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem and the United States.

This will not be a fundraising event, and you are welcome to leave your checkbooks at home. I hope to see everyone there.

Happy anniversary Ilana. I hope that the next 21 years will be as wonderful as the first 21.

Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York

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