Israel Action Center Recent Events
The Margo and Yoram Cohen Family Talk Israel Conference
The JCRC and The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington had a great time hosting our 2nd annual Talk Israel conference for teens on Sunday, Nov. 20th. We welcomed nearly 90 college bound high school students for an amazing day of learning, conversation, and all things Israel.
Governor Larry Hogan's Economic Mission to Israel
The JCRC was proud to be a part of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's economic development mission to Israel organized by the Maryland/Israel Development Center. During the trade mission, the governor met with numerous companies, academic institutions, American and Israeli dignitaries and visited several significant and religious sites, in an effort to strengthen ties and promote Maryland as a gateway for Israeli companies seeking to establish U.S. operations and bring new jobs to Maryland.
Staff members from the Israel Action Center met with the participants of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington's Congregation Schlichim Program. The program welcomes 10 schlichim/Israeli emissaries to our community’s synagogues and schools. We discussed ways we can all work together especially in bringing Israel education and advocacy to the members of our synagogues and schools.
The Margo and Yoram Cohen Family Israel Engagement Fellowship
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and JCRC of Greater Washington began the 6th co-hort of the Margo and Yoram Cohen Family Israel Engagement Fellowship. In the fall of 2016, we partnered with Sha'are Shalom, Beth Emeth, and Beit Chavarim to welcome 18 college bound high school students in Northern Virginia to the program. These students particpiated in 7 weeks of training learning how to engage with and advocate for Israel on campus and beyond.
Kids4Peace Global Institute
On August 2nd Rabbi Steinlauf had the opportunity, along with other leaders in the Jewish Community, to welcome the Israeli, Palestinian and Israeli teens participating in the Global Institute. The program was Voices of Hope: an inspiring evening honoring thirty Palestinian, Israeli and American peacemakers as they complete a week-long leadership program in advocacy and social action. Learn more about Kids4Peace go to their website.
MIDC Day at the Embassy
The JCRC of Greater Washington was proud to co-sponsor the MIDC - Maryland/Israel Development Center's second annual MIDC Day at the Embassy of Israel. It was an exclusive networking event with an interactive panel featuring Israel's senior diplomats to the U.S. discussing how they promote U.S.-Israel collaboration.
#PeaceIsSweet Solidarity Vigil
On Friday, June 10 the JCRC held a solidarity gathering at the Max Brenner Chocolates, Bethesda. Thank you to the more than 150 community members who joined us at Max Brenner Chocolates on Friday, June 10th. Together we showed our steadfast support for the people of Israel in the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attack that killed four Israelis at the Max Brenner Café in Tel Aviv on June 8th. Follow this link to view pictures from the gathering and this link to view videos.
Forum on Supporting Israel
On April 17, our new Director of the Israel Action Center,
Jennifer Raskas, moderated a panel at Congregation Beth Emeth in Herndon, Virginia on Supporting
Israel. The panelists were Yaron
Gamburg, Director of Public Affairs at Embassy of Israel in Washington; Alan Ronkin, Director of
the Washington Regional Office of the American Jewish Committee; and Matt Mayers, Chair of the
DC Metro chapter of J
Street. After the forum the audience attended facilitated breakout
sessions to discuss how they could best support Israel. Thanks to Suzanne Stluka for
organizing the session with help from Rabbi Mina Goldsmith, Carol Silberstein, Diane Lowenthal and Karen Robinson. Photos by Susan Berger.
Israel Engagement Fellowship 4th and 5th Cohorts
The JCRC of Greater Washington and The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington are very proud of the 22 graduates of our Israel Engagement Fellowship's 4th and 5th cohorts. We celebrated their achievements with nearly 100 people in attendance at a ceremony Wednesday night at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C.. Ilan Sztulman, Minister for Public Diplomacy at the Embassy, joined us and discussed the importance of American teens' engagement with Israel.
We were also joined by JCRC interns and college students, Melissa Dworkin and Miriam Duffy, who gave the high school students a real life picture of what to expect on campus with regards to Israel and some great tips for talking to other students about Israel. Several student representatives participated in the ceremony.
Thank you to Margo and Yoram Cohen for their vision and generosity making the IEF possible. And thank you to the Federation's Pnina Agenyahu and Samantha Vinokor for their hard work and dedication in teaching IEF this spring with the Israel Action Center's Noa Meir and Alexis Schwartz. Thanks to Na'ama Gold, shlicha at the JCC of Northern Virginia for her contributions to teaching IEF 4 last fall. We look forward to IEF cohorts 6, 7, and beyond next year!
Click here to view more pictures from the Israel Engagement Fellowship.
How Should a Committed
American View BDS?
On April 3 and 4, The JCRC, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the The Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, the Israel American Council, and the Israeli House Washington הבית הישראלי בוושינגטון were proud to host prominent Israeli journalist Ben-Dror Yemini, an international authority on combatting the anti-Israel BDS Movement. Mr. Yemini joined us for two programs. Sunday night April 3, Mr. Yemini discussed with more than 120 community members how committed Americans should view BDS at a community-wide forum at the JCC GW, and Monday night April 4 he met with a group of 40 young professionals in a “Think and Drink” event at Tommy Joe's Bar, Bethesda. He discussed the view that anti-Zionism is politically correct anti-Semitism, and stated that “BDS is about destruction, not about peace. It’s not about human rights, it’s about the denial for the right to self-determination for only one people on earth.”
The Different Narratives of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
The Israel Action Center educates about the different narratives of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The JCRC of Greater Washington is proud to provide a safe space to discuss these multifaceted issues, such as the Israel Engagement Fellowship for teens run in partnership with The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. As part of this effort, over the last several weeks Noa Meir, Director, Israel Action Center, participated in a number of programs. On Saturday 4/2 she spoke on a panel following the play “After the War” at Mosaic Theater Company of DC where she also reflected on her experiences as a spokesperson for the IDF during the Second Lebanon War. At AIPAC Policy Conference 2016 Noa attended a panel titled “Advancing Israeli-Palestinian Coexistence: People-to-People Dialogue,” after which she held an inspiring dialogue with Ali Abu Awwad and Bassam Aramin about the importance of recognizing each other’s narratives and creating civil discourse. During the Washington Jewish Film Festival Noa participated in talkbacks after the film “Partner with the Enemy” along with Ghaith Al-Omari, Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (2/28), and with Souria Bishara, New Israel Fund 2015-16 Human Rights Law Fellow (3/5).
AIPAC Policy Conference
Between March 20-22, 2016, JCRC of Greater Washington joined with more than 15,000 pro-Israel supporters at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, DC.
The conference included demonstrations of breakthrough Israeli innovations, keynote speeches by American and Israeli leaders, and educational breakout sessions.
Click here to view more photos from this exciting event!
Talk Israel Conference for Teens
On Sunday, March 13th, the JCRC in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, hosted our inaugural Talk Israel conference for teens. This day-long event brought together high school students from across the DC area to learn about Israel and what to expect when they go to college in the next few years.
Teens participated in plenary sessions and breakout sessions on topics ranging from Answering the Big Questions to Zionism to BDS to online activism to the New Face of Anti-Semitism (and more!). We have already received amazing feedback from participants and parents, and are excited to grow the program in future years. IAC Director Noa Meir and IAC Assistant Director Alexis Schwartz taught breakout sessions on the multiple narratives of the Israeli Palestinian conflict and the myths and facts of the BDS movement, and Social Justice Director, Rabbi Batya Steinlauf taught a breakout session with Father Josh Thomas of Kids4Peace International on how to talk about the conflict to different audiences.
Thanks to Pnina Agenyahu, Samantha Vinokor, JCRC Intern Melissa Dworkin and the staffs of the JCRC and Federation for helping our organizations work together to host such a wonderful and meaningful program! And many thanks to Margo and Yoram Cohen whose generous sponsorship of Talk Israel made the day possible.
Celebrating Women's History Month
As part of Women's History Month, on March 10 our Director of Israel
Action Center, Noa Meir, participated in a panel at JCC NoVa with local Israeli
shlichot about women in Israel. Additionally, On March 31 Noa Meir also participated in a panel about women in the IDF. The program was hosted by the The Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington and co-sponsored by the JCRC of Greater Washington and Friends of the IDF (FIDF) as part of women's history month. A wonderful and amusing Israeli movie "Zero Motivation" followed by an empowering discussion.
Washington Jewish Film Festival (February 24- March 6)
The JCRC’s Israel Action Center was a
proud co-presenter of several of the films at the Washington Jewish Film
Festival. The Director of the IAC, Noa Meir, spoke at several of the films:
Before the screening of “Mountain” in Bethesda, Noa spoke about
the significance and symbolism of Mt. Olive and the diversity of Israeli
society as portrayed within her very own family.
Noa also lead and participated in a panel along with the
Shlicha of the the JCC of Greater Washington, Danielle Flicker, and Lihi Shavit
Sagui, Director of Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of Israel, after the movie
“Encirclements” at the JCC of Greater Washington, where tickets were completely
sold out. The three reflected on themes that the movie sparked for them –
religiosity within Israeli society, the relationship between Ashkenazi and
Mizrahi Jews and other related issues.
Additionally, Noa gave a talkback after the film “Partner with the
Enemy” with Ghaith Al-Omari, Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near
East Policy, discussing different narratives of the Israeli-Palestinian
Noa gave another talkback after the film with Souria Bishara, New
Israel Fund 2015-16 Human Rights Law Fellow, discussing the differing
narratives as well as cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis.
6th Annual Community Education Day on Arab Citizens of Israel
On February 28, it was a full house at the 6th Annual Community Education Day on Arab Citizens of Israel as part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival, sponsored by the Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues (GWFIA) and the Washington DCJCC, lead support provided by The Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation and The Lois and Richard England Family Foundation.
Following the screening of the powerful documentary Women in Sink, there was an intriguing panel discussion between two leading shared society advocates from Israel: Reem Younis, co-founder of Nazareth-based global high-tech company Alpha Omega and role model for Israeli Arab entrepreneurial success, and Tziona Koenig-Yair, Israel¹s first Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner.
The conversation was moderated by Rabbi Sid Schwarz, co-chair of the GWFIA. The program was followed by a World Café-style discussion, led by GWFIA committee members, including Noa Meir, Director of the Israel Action Center. It was an enlightening day that carried a hopeful message.
"Stripes, Stars and Magen David" at Haifa University
On February 17, Noa Meir, Director of the Israel Action Center, attended a conference at Haifa University, in Israel. The conference, "Stripes, Stars and Magen David," was sponsered by the Ruderman Family Foundation and addressed the 100 years of Jewish-American involvement in the Yishuv and the State of Israel. Israeli and American professors discussed aspects of American Jewry's contribution to the Zionist project, and the ongoing cooperation between the Israeli and American Jewish communities.
The conference was followed by an evening dinner with the Conference of Presidents, including a panel discussion about the challenges ahead and the importance of investing in the next generation.
Click here to view more pictures from the conference.
Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama
On February 9, the JCRC welcomed Ambassador Dennis Ross to discuss his recent book, Doomed to Succeed: The U.S.-Israel Relationship from Truman to Obama. We were joined by more than 225 community members at Congregation B'nai Tzedek. Ambassador Ross engaged the audience with stories from his book, chatted about his experiences serving in different administrations, discussed the future of U.S.-Israel relations, and signed books.
Click here to view the full video of the event on the JCRC GW Youtube Page.
Scholar in Residence
From November 5th thru 9th, the JCRC welcomed our 3rd Annual Scholar in Residence, Member of Knesset Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin. Over the course of her 4 days in the Greater Washington area we had 14 programs visiting 3 synagogues, 3 universities, 2 churches, 1 think tank, 1 high school, and more. She spoke with hundreds of community members in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
Maryland Israel Development Center Event
On June 23rd, the JCRC co-sponsored a very successful event with the Maryland Israel Development Center at the Embassy of Israel. 130 people came to hear about the incredible cooperation between the US & Israel. Among the attendees were MoCo State Senator Cheryl C. Kagan, and representing County Exec Ike Leggett for County Executive - Lilly Qi.
AJC Global Forum
Israel Action Center Director, Noa Meir attended ACCESS AJC's Global Forum. There were several interesting speakers, including Deputy Secretary of State,Tony Blinken, MK Yair Lapid - יאיר לפיד, Senator Bob Menendez, Ambassador of Israel to Great Britian, Daniel Taub, Senior VP and Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College. Dr. Daniel Gordis, and a debate between Ari Shavit & Caroline Glick titled "Two-State Solution or Two-State Illusion?"
Yom Ha'atzmaut: Israel@67 Festivals
On Sunday, May 31st, staff and volunteers from the Israel Action Center participated in the Israel@67 Festivals in Maryland and Northern Virginia and the Blue and White BBQ in Washington, DC. We enjoyed celebrating Israel's 67th year of Independence and meet so many community members.
Turmoil in the Middle East
On May 21, The Israel Action Center and the Magen David Sephardic Congregation co-sponsored Turmoil in the Middle East: The Impact of Instability in Yemen on the Future of Arab-Israeli Relations. Sigurd Neubauer, a Washington Middle East Analyst, discussed the profound change of rhetoric in the Middle East, the common security threats and resentment towards current US policy, and even ended on an optimistic note, saying that “as the turmoil in the Middle East moves forward, we are going to see more potential alliances between Israel and some of its Arab neighbors.”
Yom Yerushalayim at the Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum
On May 17, Noa Meir, our Director of the Israel Action Center spoke at The Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum. Speaking in front of the NVHC Reston Sisterhood about Yom Yerushalayim, Noa gave some reflections about Jerusalem and shared her personal connection to Israel's eternal capital as a 10th generation Jerusalemite.
Post Election Briefing
On Wednesday May 6th, Director of the Israel Action Center, Noa Meir, and Community Shlicha, Pnina Agenyahu visited the JCCNV/Greater Gainesville Active Adults group to discuss the 2015 Israeli election campaigns, pre-election polling, the results, coalition building and their implications. Thank you to Sheila Budoff and the JCC NV for arranging for this program. Select this link to view pictures.
On April 30th, the JCRC’s Israel Action Center co-presented the movie A Borrowed Identity (aka Dancing Arabs), along with The Center for Israel Studies at American University at the DC JCC co-sponsored by the Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues. Director of the Israel Action Center, Noa Meir moderated a post-screening panel between AU Global Scholar Daniel Munayer, a Palestinian-Israeli Christian who grew up in Jerusalem, and Maram Masawri, a post-doctoral fellow at the Free University of Berlin who was head of the Early Childhood Education Department at Al Qasemi College of Education in Israel. It was a wonderful candid discussion about the Arab-Jewish relationship in Israel. While many challenges were surfaced, there was also much inspiration and hope. It is extremely important that we continue to have conversations such as these.
Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'Atzmaut
The JCRC of Greater Washington and The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington conducted a ceremony commemorating Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut, attended by staff, Jewish Women's Renaissance Project, Camp Moshe, and members of the Washington-Baltimore Rabbinical Assembly on April 22nd. The ceremony captured the emotional and unique atmosphere of these two special days in Israel, and provided a peek at Israeli ceremonies, including prayers, lighting the remembrance candle to honor all the heroes and heroines who gave their life for the State of Israel, reading texts, somber songs and the difficult but joyful transition to Yom Ha’atzmaut. Click here to learn more about the holidays.
Beneath the Helmet
The IAC co-sponsored a 2nd screening of Beneath The Helmet: From High School to the Homefront on April 21st, 2015, at the JCC Washington DC as part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival's year round programming. The film is a coming of age story that highlights five young Israeli high school graduates, who are drafted into the army to defend their country. At the age of 18, away from their houses, family, and friends these young individuals undergo a demanding journey, revealing the core of who they are and who they want to be.
Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus
On April 20th, 2015, the IAC co-sponsored a 2nd screening of the documentary film, Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus. The film reveals the rise of anti-Israel activity and anti-Semitic rhetoric on North American university campuses, and demonstrates when reasonable criticism of Israel ‘Crosses the Line’ into anti-Semitism. Film director, Shoshana Palatnik, spoke with the crowd after the screnning explaining why she made the movie and answered audience questions. This event was also co-sponsored by Jerusalem U, the Israeli House and JCC GW.
Israel Engagement Fellowship #3 (Maryland)
The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Israel Action Center at the JCRC have established the successful Israel Engagement Fellowship. This multi-part course welcomes 10th, 11th, and 12th graders from Maryland, Virginia, and DC to learn different ways they can be pro-Israel. In the fall of 2015, we welcomed 15 10th, 11th, and 12th graders from all Jewish denominations from Maryland and DC to our 3rd Israel Engagement Fellowship. The goal of the Israel Engagement Fellowship is to ensure that Greater Washington area teens are connecting with Israel in an authentic way, receiving Israel education, and learning how to be Israel advocates as they move on to college campuses. Thank you to generous donors Margo and Yoram Cohen for funding this program. Click here to view pictures from the 6 week course. And click here to learn more about the Israel Engagement Fellowship. Click here to read about the program in the Washington Jewish week.
Israel in the Media
On March 30th and April 2nd, IAC Director, Noa Meir was invited to speak about Israel in the Media in two classes titled “Literature, Mass Media and Schooling” taught by Dr. Melissa Landa at University of Maryland. Noa gave an interactive presentation about the miss portrayal of Israel in the international media. The students expressed much interest and were surprised to learn how badly Israel is depicted in the press in US and Europe.
Beneath the Helmet
The IAC co-sponsored a screening of Beneath The Helmet: From High School to the Homefront on March 24th, 2015, at the JCC NV with partners: Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, George Mason University Hillel and Friends of the IDF (FIDF). The screening of this touching movie about IDF soldiers was followed by a panel, with Noa Meir, Dana Kalishov, and Yakir Daniel, who shared their personal stories and perspectives from their IDF service. It was heartening to see united community support for Israel.
Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus
On March 23rd, 2015, the IAC co-sponsored a screening of the documentary film, Crossing the Line 2: The New Face of Anti-Semitism on Campus. The film reveals the rise of anti-Israel activity and anti-Semitic rhetoric on North American university campuses, and demonstrates when reasonable criticism of Israel ‘Crosses the Line’ into anti-Semitism. Film director, Shoshana Palatnik, spoke with the crowd after the screnning explaining why she made the movie and answered audience questions. This event was also co-sponsored by Jerusalem U, the Israeli House and JCC GW.
Post Elections Briefings
IAC Director Noa Meir and Community Shlicha, Pnina Agenyahu gave post-elections briefings to different groups in our Greater Washington community on March 18th &19th. They met with Conservative Rabbis at Congregation Beth El, Bethesda, Maryland and with Hillel International professionals, discussing the election campaigns, the results and their implications.
Election Night Real Time Analysis
More than 100 community members joined the JCRC and The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington on March 17, 2015 for our Election Night Real Time Analysis, as we celebrated Israel’s democracy on the day of its 2015 elections. We offered a peek into the Israeli parties and campaigns with Noa Meir and Pnina Agenyahu, followed by an analysis of the initial results by Neri Zilber, Journalist and Researcher on Middle East politics and culture, Visiting Scholar at the Washington Institute. Click here to view pictures. For more information about the elections, please visit the Israel Action Center's 2015 Israeli Election Information page.
JCRC and JFGW Staff Lunch and Learn: Israel's 2015 Elections
On Israel's election day 2015 (March 17th) Noa Meir, Director, Israel Action Center, and Pnina Agenyahu, Community Shaliach, JFGW, presented at an informative JCRC and JFGW lunch and learn session on the 2015 Israeli Elections. Click here to learn more about the elections, the parties who contested and the results.
Good Deeds Day
On March 15th, 2015 the IAC partnered with the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the Israeli House, the Embassy of Israel, and youth movements to bring together 8th through 12th graders from the Greater Washington Jewish community and local Israeli teens to make Shema pillowcases for IDF soldiers. Before completing the pillowcases, the teens watched an inspirational movie about teens entering the Israeli army. Members of the JCRC staff and board also participated in various programs throughout Maryland, DC, and Virginia as part of the community wide Good Deeds Day program. Click here to see pictures from the day.
The Alep-Bet of Israel's 2015 Elections
On March 9th, more than 50 members of our community joined us for the Aleph-Bet of Israel's 2015 Elections. Noa Meir, Director of the Israel Action Center, and The Jewish Federation's Community Shlicha, Pnina Agenyahu delivered a presentation on the ins and outs of Israel's 2015 elections complete with descriptions of the political process, key parties, leading candidates, and the issues facing Israeli voters. We were hosted by Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase and Rabbi Michael Feshbach provided opening remarks. Click here to view pictures.
Apples from the Desert
Director of the Israel Action Center, Noa Meir, introduced the Israeli movie Apples From the Desert on March 1, 2015 at Forman Theater at AU, as part of JCRC's co-presenting of the Washington Jewish Film Festival. Noa shared her personal story and perspective of two worlds intersecting - the ultra-religious and the secular/traditional. In, Apples from the Desert, an adaptation of the award-winning Israeli play that poignantly explores themes of love and reconciliation.The rebellious teenage daughter of ultra-Orthodox Jewish parents journeys into the secular world
On February 28th, 2015, the JCRC co-presented the movie screening Anywhere Else as part of the Washington Jewish Film Festival. The film deals tells the story of an Israeli living abroad who returns home for a short time to find things similar to when she left, but different as well. The screening, which took place at the JCC GW was followed by a panel which featured IAC Director, Noa Meir, Community Shaliach, Pnina Agenyahu, and Lihi Shavit Sagui - Director of Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of Israel. All three shared their personal reflections and answered some questions.
Fifth Annual Community Education on Israeli Arab Issues
Together with members of the Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues, the IAC co-sponsored the Fifth Annual Community Education on Israeli Arab Issues on February 22, 2015. The day began with a keynote address by Dr. Dalia Fadila, President of Al-Qasemi College of Engineering and Science. It was followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Fadila, Dan Arbell, Scholar-in-Residence, Center for Israel Studies at American University, and Safa Garb, JDC Division Director, Arab Society and Infrastructure, and moderated by Rabbi Sid Schwarz, Co-chair of the Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues. After the keynote address, attendees are invited to the DC premiere of Dancing Arabs by filmmaker Eran Riklis. The film told the story of First love, school bullies, British New Wave … and SCUD missiles. This bittersweet ‘80s coming-of-age drama from the director of The Syrian Bride and Lemon Tree adapts two autobiographical novels by popular Israeli-Arab writer Sayed Kashua. Eyad is a gifted Arab teenager who wins the chance to attend a prestigious Jewish boarding school. Isolated and lonely at first, he soon develops close friendships and begins fitting in. Soon however, heartbreak, personal tragedy and politics threaten to destroy his adolescent idyll. As Eyad moves into manhood, he makes impossible decisions about where he will stand – and who he will be – in a divided country. The screening was followed by a reception and World Cafe-style discussion. Click here to learn more about the Greater Washington Forum on Israeli Arab Issues.
Anti-Semitism in France Briefing with French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazenueve
Alexis Schwartz, Associate Director at the JCRC's Israel Action Center, attended a briefing on February 19th for American Jewish organizations on ways the government of France is working to combat anti-Semitism hosted by French Ambassador Gérard Araud. France's Interior Minister, Bernard Cazenueve, who was in Washington DC for the White House's summit on extremism, addressed the organizations' representatives. He reiterated France's commitment to protect Jewish institutions with soldiers and police and said that there is no France without French Jews. Anti-Semitism and extremism are a problem for the whole nation of France and the Western world and the government is committed to battling it in smart ways. Minister Cazenueve also addressed technology leaders in Silicon Valley on his trip and requested their help to battle extremism on social media. He discussed the importance of Jewish-Muslim-community partnerships with law enforcement officials to find new, smart, and innovative ways to stop terrorist and anti-Semitic attacks.
More than 150 community members attended a screening of Precious Life at the JCC Greater Washington on February 8th. After the screening, film maker Shlomi Eldar addressed the crowd. The film was nominated for an Oscar in 2011 and tells the story of an Israeli pediatrician and a Palestinian mother on a quest to get treatment for her baby, who suffers from an incurable genetic disease. Each must face their most profound biases as they inch towards a possible friendship in an impossible reality. The film was presented by the Embassy of Israel, Israeli House Washington הבית הישראלי בוושינגטון , Israel Scouts (Tzofim), The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, and the Israel Action Center at the JCRC.
Jewish Educators Assembly National Convention
Director of Israel Action Center, Noa Meir, spoke at the Jewish Educators Assembly national convention at the University of Maryland on January 28th. The convention dealt with new opportunities and new ways to engage with Israel, focussing on Jewish schools' engagement with Israel and all if its complexities.
Middle East Forum: Iran's Nuclear Program: Actions Speak Louder than Words with Ambassador Dennis Ross
On January 21st, 2015, the IAC welcomed Ambassador Dennis Ross for our Middle East Forum on Iran. Ambassador Ross addressed to more than 200 community members about the threat Iran poses to the U.S., Israel, and their relationship. He said, "The Iranians have to believe the price is going to go up. If We don't convince them that they need this deal more than we need it then there won't be a deal...I think Iran wants to dominate the region. I think we face a radical Islamist threat from both Shia and Sunni. Our mistake is to focus on ISIS alone. I don't distinguish between the radical Islamists in terms of their goals and views." Select this link to view photos from the event.
Israel Engagement Fellowship #2 (Northern Virginia)
In the fall of 2014, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and the Israel Action Center at the JCRC welcomed 14 10th, 11th, and 12th graders from all Jewish denominations from Northern Virginia to our 2nd Israel Engagement Fellowship. The Israel Action Center at the JCRC and The Jewish Federation are committed to the continuity of Israel engagement with all members of our community, regardless of age or affiliation. Thank you to generous donors Margo and Yoram Cohen for funding this program. Click here to view pictures from the 6 week course. And click here to learn more about the Israel Engagement Fellowship.
Beneath The Helmet
On December 11, 2014, more than 250 community members came to the JCC of Greater Washington for the Washington premiere of Jerusalem U's Beneath The Helmet, and stayed for the engaging panel afterwards led by Pnina Agenyahu and with Noa Meir.
"It was quite the event. I am so proud and honored that we were able to show the human faces of the IDF soldiers. Both the movie and the panel provided a great glimpse into the world of the brave men and women who serve to protect the Jewish State and nation." (Noa Meir, Director of the Israel Action Center). Select this link to view photos.
Georgia On My Mind: How Iran Uses the Caucasus to Evade Sanctions
On November 20, 2014, the Israel Action Center partnered with Magen David Sephardic Synagogue to welcome Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, DC to discuss the Iranian regime's attempts to evade U.S. sanctions and acquire nuclear weapons. Dr. Ottolenghi discussed the role of Georgia, a small post-soviet republic sandwiched between Russia to the north and Turkey to the south, located less than a thousand miles of driving distance to Tehran, which has become a critical conduit for Iran’s efforts to buy nuclear technology, finance its global operations, and beat the West in its quest for regional hegemony. He stressed that unless Western governments pay more attention, Iranian efforts to defy the international community and become a nuclear weapons state will succeed.
2014 Showcase of Maryland Israel Business
On November 18, 2014, the IAC co-sponsored the 2014 Showcase of Maryland Israel Business hosted by MIDC (Maryland/Israel Development Center). The Showcase featured Israeli companies in Maryland and Maryland and Israeli trade and high tech partners. Companies displayed their innovative products and technologies. The Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, Embassy of Israel, Epstein Becker Green, Tech Council of Maryland, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and Jewish Community Relations Council were Showcase partners. Learn more about the MIDC by clicking here.
Second Annual Scholar in Residence Featuring Colonel (Res.) Dr. Bentzi Gruber
(underwritten by the Meltzer Group)
Colonel (Res.) Dr. Bentzi Gruber spent three days (Nov 3-5, 2014) touring the Greater Washington Area and speaking to more than 700 members of our community exploring the moral and legal aspects of the war on terror including Operation Protective Edge and how the IDF applies ethics in real time during combat making life and death decisions in a matter of seconds. COL Gruber visited the US Naval Academy,Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, the World Bank, Catholic University Law School, Congregation Har Shalom, the JCC of Greater Washington, RAND Corporation and George Mason University. In each talk COL Gruber took the audience behind the scenes of the IDF’s daily battle to both ensure the country's security and uphold one of the most rigorous military codes of ethics in the world today. Select this link to view pictures from his visit.
Peace in the Middle East: How Do We Overcome the Psychological Barriers?
Great turnout for the event "How Do We Overcome the Psychological Barriers?" conducted by Har Tzeon Agudath Achim, the Israel Action Center and the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society of Washington Peace in the Middle East on October 19th, 2014. A very lively discussion was held by a panel of experts: Professor Ira Weiss, Professor Sahar Khamis, Rabbi Uri Topolosky, Imam Mohamad Bashar Arafat, moderated by Daniel Spiro, as they analyzed the psychological factors perpetuating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such as trauma, fear and mistrust, and how to overcome them. The ability of each side to empathize with the other, and the mutual recognition that both narratives are true, were reiterated as crucial factors in moving forward towards peace. The JCRC's IAC was proud to co-sponsor this fascinating event and strives to hold similar ones in the upcoming future.
Select this link to view older events