Last week, along with 27,000 other Jewish Americans, Israeli-Americans and Israelis from around the world, I had an outstanding experience at my second-ever Israeli-American Council (IAC) Conference in Washington, DC. The IAC is an American nonprofit organization that represents and serves more than 250,000 Israeli-Americans across the country. Its mission is to preserve and strengthen the Israeli and Jewish identities of future generations, strengthen the American Jewish community, and strengthen the relationship between citizens of the United States and the State of Israel.
During the conference, we examined Jewish and Israeli identity, leadership around the community, the role of Israel for world Jewry, and changing political and cultural dynamics. With more than half a million Israeli-Americans living in the U.S. today, I was very proud to represent the connection between Israel and Kansas City. I had the unique opportunity to learn about so many different sectors of Israeli-American life, including a very special session focused on bridging the cultural gap to create deeper connections between U.S. Jewish communities and Israel. I felt honored to share the successful work we are doing in Kansas City. This, and many other topics, from Hebrew language education to Israeli-Jewish identity to Israeli-Americans’ impact on everything from technology to social activism to literature and pop culture were covered during the conference.
I was very inspired by Nikki Haley, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., who talked about the way the U.N. vocalized common misperceptions about Israel and its democracy. She also discussed the need to change this culture, mentioning the need for fundamental reform in the U.N., especially regarding Middle East issues. After the American decision to withdraw from UNESCO early this year, due to anti-Israel bias, it was amazing to hear Haley and to feel the U.S. support for Israel.
The IAC is the fastest growing Jewish organization in the US, with 10 regional councils throughout the state that are active in 27 states and 100 university campuses around the country. In Kansas City we are part of the “IAC Beyachad” (together) program, which helps bring Israel to Kansas City each year by sponsoring Israel Emissary events including Tu B’shvat, Yom HaZikaron. Yom HaAtzmaut, Israeli cooking classes and more.
I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, full of love, health and Israel!
I am so happy to be back for a third year as Israel Emissary here, and I would love to see you at an upcoming event. We have an Israeli baking class, November 29, 2017, and other upcoming events. Contact me, 913.832.7224, to learn more about the Israel Emissary program or the baking class.
Reprinted with permission from the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, written by Shiran Cohen