Welcome to ReFuel, the monthly newsletter of ZOA's Fuel For Truth. Check your inbox on the first Tuesday of each month to find out what's happening in the FFT universe. Let us know what you love/hate by reaching out to Arielle Holstein.
ReConnect: News, Events, & Other Important Stuff
LAST CHANCE TO APPLY TO BOOT CAMP
Tick tock... tick tock... All of our chapters are starting their new classes this month, so there's limited time left to apply! Gain the facts, skills, and confidence to have effective conversations about the Arab-Israeli conflict, while making awesome friends. Visit our Boot Camp page to learn more about the program and apply for the class in your city.
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
You read that right. We're rolling out a Boot Camp 2.0 program in the coming months for alumni and their social networks to continue learning about Israel and developing Jewish identity! Featuring presentations, discussions, and workshops, these sessions will dive deeper into content covered during Boot Camp, pressing issues, and current events, as well as offer participants practical experience in ways to apply their activism.
More information to come on how you can take part in 2.0 activities in cities where FFT is active.
MAZAL TOV, NADAV YESOD!
We all know the United Nations isn't the most friendly place for Israel, but that doesn't mean good things can't happen every now and then. Boot Camp alum Nadav Yesod, the Human Rights Adviser to the Israeli Mission to the UN, has been elected Vice-Chair of the UN Committee Overseeing Human Rights Groups! We couldn't be more proud and know he'll do an awesome job in this new, exciting role.
FFT SPEAKER PROFILE: RABBI YEHUDA HAKOHEN
Every issue of ReFuel we highlight one of the numerous guest speakers we host during Boot Camp. These include prominent individuals with extensive experience in politics, foreign policy, religion, media, communication, and education.
QUICK BIO: Rabbi Yehuda HaKohen is an alternative peace activist and teacher at several Jerusalem institutions. Born and raised in New York City, he made Aliyah in 2001 to enlist in the IDF at the height of the Second Intifada, and currently lives near Bet El with his wife and children.
CLAIM(S) TO FAME: Yehuda has assumed leadership positions on three national election campaigns in Israel and works to decolonize Jewish identity and foster support for Jewish national rights on North American college campuses. He also organizes grassroots dialogue sessions for Palestinian and Israeli activists seeking to transcend competing one-sided narratives.
WHY WE LOVE THE SPEAKER: Yehuda inspires young adults to become active characters in Israel’s story by providing a deeper understanding and appreciation of Jewish history and their place within it. He empowers participants by helping them define the next goals of Jewish history, what obstacles are in the way of achieving those goals, and what they can do as characters in this story to smash those obstacles.
ReCap: January 2019
MIAMI GOES INSIDE THE MIDDLE EAST
Over lunch and Florida sunshine, Lawrence Muscant, VP of Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a Miami Boot Camp favorite, provided FFT Miami members and their community with a three-part seminar on understanding the Arab-Israeli conflict, making the case for Israel, as well as contemporary issues in the Middle East. Thank you again, Lawrence, and we eagerly look forward to the next workshop!
PARTIES FOR TRUTH KICK OFF 2019
The Party For Truth has become a great way for each graduating Boot Camp class to celebrate their induction into the FFT family, while introducing their friends to what this program and community can offer. Congrats to our newest alumni for throwing four awesome events last month and showing why nothing compares to FFT for young professionals.
ReTold: Tiffany Wasserman's Story
Turning 34 this past New Year’s Eve, with my cousin’s wedding the day before and an opportunity to stay with one of my best friends from college, seemed like a fantastic reason to fly to Israel. As a busy, working mom of two, all I wanted was the blessing from my partner, Ron, who luckily shares my passion for Israel—one of the many reasons I married him! Flying to Israel for four days sounded a bit crazy to me, but it was the zest I needed to rouse my sense of self and my love affair with Israel.
I grew up in Queens with an American mother and an Israeli father. I visited Israel when I was a toddler a few times but did not return until I was a freshman in college on a father-daughter trip (coincidentally, on my birthday). I always knew Israel had a special place in my heart—I had heard Hebrew on a daily basis in my neighborhood, learned about it from a biblical perspective at my Jewish elementary school, met incredible shlichim at my sleepaway camp—but I did not know about the vibrant population and culture living there; I was clueless!
That trip changed my life, in many ways. I remember traveling around the country with my father and he would say “תריחי את הארץ” (smell the land) with a huge smile, beaming with pride. Luckily, because of Birthright and MASA, I had the opportunity to return countless times. This allowed me to view and absorb other people’s reactions to this complicated, incredible, and ancient country. Binghamton University also shaped my love for Israel. There, Israel advocacy was “cool.” Many students went on Birthright, were active in Jewish organizations, and even went on to join the Israeli Army. It was there that I met Fuel For Truth! We partied and advocated with many like-minded people. It was part of the reason I decided to study abroad in Israel. I had an intense desire to immerse myself in the culture for a long span of time. I loved every minute of Tel Aviv University!
I noticed that as soon as I started my career and took on a more adult role that my advocacy waned. That was until I met Ron, who reconnected me with FFT. I remember doing Boot Camp as the organization was being revived and seeing Ron at that podium with so much desire to share his knowledge—all he wanted was an eager audience and it was with Fuel For Truth where the Wasserman connection to Israel was reignited! I felt like I had come full circle. Meeting Ron and being reconnected with FFT was beshert. FFT has given us a place to keep our fire ignited. When my boys wonder why Abba isn’t home I tell them he is teaching about ארץ ישראל (the land of Israel). When we refill our SodaStream© bottles they see pictures of Golda, Ben Gurion, Hertzl, and Moshe Dayan on the bottles and they are surrounded by these leaders in the artwork with which we have chosen to fill our home. We named our children with that fervor: Liam, my nation, and Maccabee, our little Israel warrior.
When Ron and I had our first child, Liam, we decided that we would speak Hebrew with him. It was a natural decision even though it is not my native tongue and I did not grow up in a Hebrew-speaking home. I was committed to giving my children that gift. I want my children to feel a connection to Israel on a daily basis, so that Israel always feels like home. I want them to feel independent in their communication when they visit and able to communicate with their family there. And Liam thinks it’s extra cool that he speaks the same language as Wonder Woman!
FFT has given my family the opportunity to make a difference in the America/Israel relationship and connect young professionals in a deep way, bound by their knowledge and love for Israel. Although it isn’t me in class every Tuesday night, I know that Ron has helped to equip so many young professionals with this knowledge and with our shared love for Israel, and this brings me so much pride. Through FFT we have been able to rouse our peers and clarify Israel’s significance. The fact that it’s run by alumni is evident in the enthusiasm that radiates from it.
Leaving Israel last month, the passport scanning technology could not detect who I was until the attendant told me to smile. This worked, however, I fought tears as I entered the departures terminal. Israel is a home away from home; a place of so much love, passion, belonging, unity, depth, history, and culture. It’s an ancient biblical homeland that has evolved into a multicultural, bustling country with countless juxtapositions. As I walked down the long ramp to the gates, I saw a quote from Herzl that really resonated with me: “...Zionism is an infinite ideal…as it will not cease to be an ideal after we attain our land, the Land of Israel. For Zionism...encompasses not only the hope of a legally secured homeland for our people…but also the aspiration to reach moral and spiritual perfection.” I really feel like that is what FFT is trying to clarify; just how moral Israel is and how we can’t take it for granted.
ReLearn: Advocacy Tips & Resources
Avoid using the word "but." Instead, use the word "and." When someone hears "but" they hear it as a negation of what came before it. So when you say, "I understand what you're saying, but..." all they hear is that you do not understand at all. Instead, just by using the word "and," you can avoid this dangerous misunderstanding.
Ron's Book Selection
Long is the Road to Freedom
by Yaakov Meridor
Long is the Road to Freedom accounts the personal experience of the leader of the Irgun before Menachem Begin took over after his arrival in Israel.
Yaakov Meridor describes his experience of being a prisoner of the British colonial administration, exiled in prison camps in Africa, and the countless escapes he took part in and his journeys through Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Kenya in the mid 1940s. It is the story of the tenacity and fighting spirit of the Nation of Israel and the determination of the liberators of the Irgun Zvai Leumi to get back to their homeland of Israel.
Above and Beyond
What to Watch
Would you risk everything—your future, your citizenship, even your life—to help a brother in need?
In 1948, just three years after the liberation of Nazi death camps, a group of Jewish American pilots answered a call for help. In secret and at great personal risk, they smuggled planes out of the US, trained behind the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia and flew for Israel in its War of Independence. As members of Machal—“volunteers from abroad”—this ragtag band of brothers not only turned the tide of the war; they also embarked on personal journeys of discovery and renewed Jewish pride. Above and Beyond is their story.
RePost: Articles Published by FFT Members
by Michael Yadov, NYC Boot Camp Instructor - January 10, 2019
"All people of sound moral standing and especially those who care about Israel can play an important role in the fight against BDS and its hateful philosophy..."
by Daniel Brooks, FFT Associate National Director - January 31, 2019
"While one might anticipate success through its strength in numbers, it will face a loud and vehement challenge from the party’s Israel detractors, whose profound lack of historical knowledge on Israel is exacerbated by their misguided moral authority and bravado."
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THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Jon Loew & Joe Richards - Co-Founders
Ron Wasserman - Chairman & CEO
Justin Ellis - President & National Director
Daniel Brooks - Associate National Director
Jeremy Meller - COO
Susan Chusyd, Jodie Singer - FFT-DC Co-Executive Directors
Jennie Rimon - FFT-Miami Executive Director
Hali Haber, Ben Suster - FFT-Boston Co-Executive Directors
The Newsletter Team - Arielle Holstein, Lauren Konopko, Zach Schaffer
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