Shishi Israeli: Shabbat Experience With the Israeli American Council

Devorah Selber, in the maroon apron, and Mazal Fellah, in the striped apron, with volunteers cooking for Shishi Israeli.

Devorah Selber, in the maroon apron, and Mazal Fellah, in the striped apron, with volunteers cooking for Shishi Israeli.

Have you ever enjoyed an Israeli-style Shabbat dinner? They tend to be casual family get-togethers, with delicious home-cooked food. Even many secular Israelis still congregate for Shabbat dinner every Friday evening, sans the blessings. If you are not fortunate enough to have an Israeli relative to invite you, you may now join the Israeli American Council (IAC) community for potluck Shabbat dinners. The main courses are cooked at the venue by a group of volunteers, lead by Devorah Selber and Mazal Fellah. [Read more…]

Learning From the Past to Change the Future

By Laurel Fairworth

16107464_1852348398343930_3795405131184417547_oIn light of recent developments it is more important than ever to remind people about what can happen when anti-Semitism is left unchecked. Recently, cemetery stones have been overturned, bomb threats made against synagogues and we have seen a dramatic rise in hate crimes against Jews. To combat that a new pilot program called Eitanim (which means the strong or steadfast ones), is encouraging teenagers to use technology in a novel way to share what happened in the past to deepen connection to Israel in the future. [Read more…]

Myths & Facts about the Israeli-Arab conflict – Ben-Dror Yemini

Ben-Dror Yemini is an Israeli journalist for the daily newspaper Yedioth Aharonot. He published a series of articles about the Israeli-Arab conflict in which he examined issues of genocide, refugees, human rights violations, the status of Israeli Arabs, multiculturalism, BDS, and the status of women.

The lecture will be given in English.

Free admission for students!

Please purchase your tickets here.

Shabbat Dinners Entice with a Taste of Israel

By Laurel Fairworth

Photo by Shiran Pasternak https://www.flickr.com/photos/gingi0/

Photo by Shiran Pasternak https://www.flickr.com/photos/gingi0/

Sitting around a table and sharing a meal is an easy and natural way to connect with people of backgrounds different from one’s own. That’s why the Israeli American Council (IAC) has launched Shishi Israeli, an Israeli version of traditional Shabbat dinners taking place over the next several months in Center City, the Main Line, Elkins Park and Cherry Hill, NJ. It is hoped these Shabbat celebrations will help bridge the gap between American Jews and the Israeli community. Yoni Ari, IAC Executive Director of the Philadelphia chapter, says, “Friendships and the understanding of each other’s culture can take place while breaking bread and jointly savoring the Friday night tradition.” These Shabbat evenings are open to all, especially to Israeli Americans unaffiliated with a synagogue. Ari continued, “Shishi Israeli is not religious, but rather it is a joyous cultural experience showcasing an Israeli flair with food and music.”

The Friday night events feature singing, dancing, and of course copious amounts of ethnic cuisine. A traditional dinner consists of Moroccan style fish, chicken with fruit, and meatballs with hummus. “Israelis love a big table laid out with all the courses served at the same time. That way they can eat whatever they want depending on their mood,” explained Ari. “This is the typical Jewish way to welcome the new week.” It is hoped that the program will be a magnet for many families from both the Israeli and American communities, creating meaningful and during connections.

Special emphasis will be placed on the next Shishi Israeli scheduled for February 10, 2017. In honor of Tu Bishvat, donations will be collected to plant trees to replace those burned in the recent forest fires that swept Haifa. The following dinners are March 17 in Elkins Park, March 31 at Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia and early April at a date to be determined in south New Jersey. All of the events are in partnership with local groups which means each is unique. However they will have in common the same Israeli zest for life and Middle Eastern culinary flair.

JBHA Open House and IAC Eitanim: High School Leadership & Entrepreneurship Program

The Jack M Barrack Hebrew Academy will have an open house and host the IAC. The Israeli American Council’s Eitanim program is a unique leadership and entrepreneurship project-based program for high school students, 9th-12th grade. IAC Eitanim allows the students to connect, explore, and experience Israel while preparing for college and developing professional skills.The program develops students’ creativity, self-learning skills, team-work skills, and a connection to Israel through real world challenges, while working with experts on creative ideas and innovative solutions and technologies.

Introductory meeting: Thursday 10/27 @ 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
First three sessions: 11/7, 12/18, 1/12 @ 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Second three sessions: 2/9, 3/16, 4/20 @ 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Third three sessions: 5/11, 6/1, 6/1@ 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

• The program includes 10 mandatory sessions and an optional summer summit
All sessions of the program are held in English and will take place at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy

• If you have any questions about the registration, feel free to contact Sharona Durry – sharonad@israeliamerican.org or call 267-250-3835

Birthright Launches New Program for Israeli-Americans

The Israeli-American Council (IAC) has partnered with the successful Taglit Birthright Israel program to launch a special Hebrew track called IAC Shelanu.

 Taglit-Birthright Israel by Luqux

Taglit-Birthright Israel participants. Photo by Luqux.

The new program offers a 10-day trip to Israel designed specifically for Israeli-American young adults, ages 18-26. IAC Shelanu, in partnership with Taglit Birthright Israel and Israel Experience, will be conducted in Hebrew, aiming to engage this unique group of young leaders and create future Jewish-Israeli community influencers. Registration opens September 9 for the December 2014 program.

According to a recent study commissioned by IAC and conducted by leading Israeli polling company Midgam, about 17% of second generation Israeli-Americans are married to non-Jews and Hebrew fluency drops from 53% to 19% for those living in the U.S. more than ten years.

IAC Shelanu aims to provide an authentic Israel experience that will help these young Israeli-Americans and other Hebrew speakers to connect on a deeper level with their Jewish-Israeli identity and expand their knowledge of and acquaintance with the State of Israel, its history and culture.

IAC Shelanu provides the experience of a lifetime for its participants, including a recruitment process by the IAC that focuses on identifying, selecting, and encouraging potential leaders. IAC Shelanu will then follow up with participants upon their return to ensure an enduring impact on their lives and further involvement in pro-Israel advocacy. Participants will be encouraged to participate in an IAC Shelanu alumni program, which will develop their connections to one another and the State of Israel while fortifying them with the network and skills needed to be ambassadors for Israel.

“The Israeli-American Community is excited to be able to provide this wonderful opportunity to our future leaders. There is no better way to inspire our young generation, ignite their spirit, and connect them to their Jewish-Israeli heritage and the State of Israel, than to bring them to Israel with IAC Shelanu and let them see with their own eyes the history, land, and miracles of our start-up nation.” said IAC National Board Member Adam Milstein. “IAC Shelanu will develop our future leaders, strengthen and build the connection between Jewish and Israeli life, and greatly impact our community for the future.”

More information about IAC Shelanu can be found at its website.

“Israeli Rock Godfather” Arik Einstein Dies at 74


“You Can’t (Leave Me)” by Arik Einstein’s band, the “High Windows.”

— by Amir Shoam

The iconic Israeli folk singer and comedian Arik Einstein passed away suddenly at the age of 74.

Einstein introduced entire genres, including rock, to Israeli music. Imagining Israeli music without him is like imagining the NBA without Michael Jordan. He will be missed.

More praise for this Israel entertainment legend and videos of his music and comedy follow the jump.

Parody of Israeli immigration

Shawn Evenhaim, Chairman of the Israeli-American Council commented,

We are sad to hear about Arik Einstein’s death and send our condolences to his family, friends, fans, and to all Israelis. Einstein is an Israeli cultural legend and probably the greatest Israeli singer of all time, and we’re sure that every Israeli who lives in the U.S. today shares in the sadness of his passing. A major icon of Israeli culture has left us, but his memory and songs will stay with us forever.

International Bible Quiz parody

Song on Soviet invasion of Prague