PEOPLE WATCH the Israel Air Force Aerobatic team fly over the Mediterranean Sea during Independence Day celebrations in Tel Aviv, 2017.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)
World Mizrachi is sending a veritable bevy of some of the most respected leaders and educators from the religious-Zionist community in Israel to speak in dozens of locations across the Diaspora this week in honor of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish state.
The initiative will see renowned leaders and educators such as Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Rabbanit Chana Henkin, Rabbi David Stav, Dr. Avivah Zornberg and Shani Taragin give a series of talks and lectures in major Jewish communities in the US, UK, Canada and South Africa over the coming weekend ahead of Israel’s 70th Independence Day.
In total, some 90 speakers will be speaking around the Jewish world, with as many as 70,000 people expected to attend their talks, as well as 15 in-depth study sessions in the US on the topic of the centrality of Israel to Jewish identity.
Rabbi Doron Perez, head of the Mizrachi World Movement, said the initiative is part of an effort to revitalize religious Zionism and the Mizrachi movement, which he said have lost their centrality in terms of the conversation about Israel in the Diaspora in recent years.
For many years, Perez said, the religious- Zionist movement’s central message to Diaspora Jews was simply to make aliya, and that it therefore lost relevance among Jews around the world, especially in the face of other organizations with different agendas bringing their message to Diaspora Jewry.
“We have to bring the centrality, the drama, of Israel and the spiritual voice of what Mizrachi is in Israel to Diaspora communities in a transformative way,” Perez told The Jerusalem Post
. “Israel is the heart, and the role of the heart is to send vibrancy and to revitalize the entire body.
Israel is the center, but it has to be pumping out a special energy, the Torah of the Land of Israel, and bring that Torah of the resurgence and revitalization of Jewish communal, national life in Israel in a powerful and transformative way.”
As well as sending out the delegation of speakers, World Mizrachi will also be launching a periodical called HaMizrachi, ahead of Independence Day, to serve as a mouthpiece for religious-Zionist voices on what the movement hopes will be a regular basis.
The first edition, of which 40,000 copies have been printed, comes out this Shabbat and includes articles and columns by leading religious-Zionist thinkers communicating the ideas and values of the movement’s leaders in Israel to the Diaspora.
The periodical is being produced in eight local versions for different Jewish Diaspora communities and the Anglo community in Israel, and further editions are planned for Jerusalem Day, the Three Weeks leading up to Tisha Be’av, and the fourth ahead of Rosh Hashana and the holiday period.
The organization is also planning to bring a delegation 100 communal and rabbinic Diaspora-based leaders of Mizrachi to Israel for a five-day mission for Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and Independence Day.
“We wanted to bring many of our leaders to Israel and get their spiritual batteries recharged so that they can go back and bring inspiration to their communities,” Perez said about the delegation.