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
BOOT CAMP IS ALMOST HERE...
We're conducting interviews for our February cohorts, so now is the time to apply! Applicants are reviewed on a first come, first served basis and slots fill up fast for the only Israel advocacy program specifically designed for young professionals. Visit our Boot Camp page to learn more about the program and apply for the class in your city.
AN AMAZING YEAR OF SUCCESS IN MIAMI AND BOSTON
6 Classes. 38 Weeks. 122 Graduates.
It's remarkable how much can change in just a year. At this time in 2018 we were anxiously preparing to launch our first Boot Camp chapters as part of our partnership with the ZOA, and while we were incredibly optimistic of how they would turn out, we can happily say the results exceeded all our expectations. From the tangible success in growth and development to constantly hearing from our newest leaders and alumni about how this is revolutionizing the local Jewish landscape, it has been wonderful to watch these communities grow and we eagerly look forward to the accomplishments of year two.
COME PARTY FOR TRUTH IN NYC, MIAMI, AND BOSTON
Join our most recent Boot Camp graduates and mingle with other young professionals who share your passion for Israel over stiff beverages, solid tunes, and good vibes!
Party For Truth NYC
Thursday, January 17 | 7:00 - 10:00 PM
The Chester | 18 Ninth Avenue, NYC
Includes 1-hour open bar
Thursday, January 24 | 8:00 - 10:30 PM
PlugIn Karaoke | 801 Silks Run Suite 2597, Hallandale Beach
Includes one free drink
FFT SPEAKER PROFILE: LAWRENCE MUSCANT
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: Lawrence Muscant is Vice President at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy. As a Middle East analyst and speechwriter, Lawrence lectures on Iran, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and Middle East history to audiences across the globe.
CLAIM(S) TO FAME: Lawrence previously served as Executive Director at The David Project, a research organization in Boston focused on Israel and the Middle East, and taught the Arab-Israeli conflict course at both UMass Amherst and Boston University. Lawrence was also invited by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help consult on their branding campaign.
WHY WE LOVE THE SPEAKER: While most experts can go into depth on the Arab-Israeli conflict OR Iran's regional strategic interests OR how the United States manages relationships with Middle Eastern nations, Lawrence's expertise encompasses all three. This insight combined with his effective communication style and ability to get his audience to connect the dots and understand the bigger picture makes Lawrence one of our most valued guest speakers.
WHERE YOU CAN FIND: Based in south Florida, Lawrence has become a staple of the FFT Miami Boot Camp and also spends much of his time in Washington, DC, and New York. Lawrence goes above and beyond in his contribution to FFT and offers supplemental workshops for our community to raise their Middle East IQs.
ReCap: December 2018
BUILDING THE BRIDGE FROM CAMPUS TO BOOT CAMP
FFT National Director Justin Ellis staffed the ZOA Student Leadership Mission to Israel to provide participants with our signature advocacy training, build connections with campus leaders and expand our reach for campus programming and future Boot Campers. During the two-week trip participants had the unique opportunity to connect with the land of Israel and understand the reality on the ground by visiting sites not often accessible to most trips including the Tomb of Patriarchs and Matriarchs (pictured), Sderot and the communities surrounding Gaza, the Temple Mount, companies employing Israelis and Palestinians, and a military base on the Golan Heights.
You can read Justin's Times of Israel blog from the summer to learn why in the age of Birthright walkouts trips like this are so important.
EXPANDING OUR ADVOCACY FOOTPRINT
While Boot Camp is specifically designed for young professionals, FFT is committed to offering workshops to all communities seeking the facts, skills and confidence to be better advocates for Israel. In the spirit of that commitment, FFT Associate Director Daniel Brooks (pictured left) provided a pizza and discussion session with Congregation Sons of Israel in Astoria, NY, while FFT Boston Boot Camp instructor Yoni Michanie (pictured right) conducted a principles of advocacy and interactive training class for the Israel Advocacy Alliance in Brookline, MA.
Are you interested in bringing an FFT workshop to your community? Email us at [email protected] and let's discuss!
FFT MEMBERS BRING THEIR TALENTS TO THE UN
We love seeing how our alumni utilize their Boot Camp training and experience in their professional endeavors, but this case is especially awesome. Three FFT members now have the privilege and distinction of serving Danny Dannon, Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations! We are incredibly proud of Daniel Flesch (top, 1st from left), Shir Cohen (top, 2nd from right), and Kara Kwart (bottom, 5th from left) for representing Israel at the United Nations, and wish them all the best supporting the nation state of the Jewish people in the international arena. Photo credit: Shahar Azran
FFT MEMBERS SUPPORT ISRAEL'S HEROES
ReTold: Daniil Goldin's Story
FFT, Fuel For Truth—the meaning is in the name. Simply put, FFT provides the fuel we all need to get to the truth. I thought I was quite knowledgeable about Israel, but after the very first class, I realized just how much I did not know.
I was born in the former USSR in 1989. The daily anti-semitism my family faced served as a constant reminder that they were Jews. We immigrated to the U.S. in 1993 and began to explore Judaism—we attended services during high holidays, stopped eating pork, but that was pretty much it. It wasn't until I was 12 years old that my Mother asked me “There is this thing Jewish boys do at 13 years old called a Bar Mitzvah, are you interested?” Thankfully, I said yes.
This is what set me off on the journey of finding my Jewish Identity. I began attending Hebrew School at Lincoln Square Synagogue, I stopped eating shellfish, mixing meat with dairy, and was circumcised. I was the first person in my family to have a Bar Mitzvah in over 100 years. After which, I decided to attend a Jewish high school and a Jewish university.
Around this time I learned of a country called Israel. It felt so incredible to explore Judaism, and then learn we have our own country! It is hard to describe the feeling. I was attending Heschel High School at the time and in discussions students were often unfairly critical of Israel. I was shocked, how could these Jewish kids, who were raised with Jewish values their entire lives, speak so unfairly about the only country which will ensure our survival? Likely because they never experienced any anti-semitism firsthand.
Over the years I became very vocal in my support for Israel. Defending her any chance I could, in person, online, at social events, protests, counter-protests, etc. About a year ago, I really started to find myself emotionally exhausted from all the lies attempting to demonize Israel. I was finding it difficult to not only find my voice, but was lost as to how to express my voice. This is when my mother told me about FFT.
After the first class, I was hooked. I have been missing this puzzle piece in my life for too long. To be in a room surrounded by individuals who all deeply care for Israel, who want to better themselves and our future—it really is inspiring. Each week I left feeling more fulfilled than the last. Each lesson, speaker, and class was extremely valuable.
In the past, many discussions I had about Israel turned ugly. I could not help but let my emotions take over. Israel is my heart, and when someone attacked Israel, I felt an attack on my very being. Fuel For Truth has taught me the power of narratives, how to better keep my emotions in check, and how to properly converse with someone I may disagree with.
When you dismiss someone else's truth, they dismiss yours. Effective advocacy is about listening, not just talking. Many times the individuals are simply not educated and it's our responsibility to change this. FFT taught me the power of knowing the truth and using it as a tool to influence and teach others. I feel very blessed to have found FFT and my journey here has only just begun. The future does not feel as daunting as before—I will continue learning, improving, and shaping my advocacy for Israel into something which can have a positive effect, all thanks to Fuel For Truth.
ReLearn: Advocacy Tips & Resources
Once someone else has made their point, re-articulate it to them to ensure you heard them correctly. Remember, you can separate your understanding of someone else's perspective from agreement with it.
Ron's Book Selection
The Brigade: An Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation, and WWII
by Howard Blum
November 1944. The British government finally agrees to send a brigade of 5,000 Jewish volunteers from Palestine to Europe to fight the German army.
But when the war ends and the soldiers witness firsthand the horrors their people have suffered in the concentration camps, the men launch a brutal and calculating campaign of vengeance, forming secret squads to identify, locate, and kill Nazi officers in hiding. Their own ferocity threatens to overwhelm them until a fortuitous encounter with an orphaned girl sets the men on a course of action—rescuing Jewish war orphans and transporting them to Palestine—that will not only change their lives but also help create a nation and forever alter the course of world history.
The Green Prince
What to Watch
Set against the chaotic backdrop of recent events in the Middle East, Nadav Schirman's The Green Prince retraces the details of a highly unprecedented partnership that developed between sworn enemies.
In the style of a tense psychological thriller, this extraordinary documentary recounts the true story of the son of a Hamas leader who emerged as one of Israel s prized informants, and the Shin Bet agent who risked his career to protect him.
RePost: Articles Published by FFT Members
by Liel Asulin, Boston Boot Camp graduate - December 3, 2018
"My own family suffered the consequences of being Jewish in the Arab world both before and after the creation of Israel."
by Michael Yadov, NYC Boot Camp graduate & class instructor - December 16, 2018
"Let this be our official notice. We will exercise our right to defend ourselves if you try to attack us. We will use proportionate force that a reasonable person would use to defend their family."
Help us fight the anti-Israel wave and support the next generation of Israel advocates by making a one-time or monthly gift.
All donations are tax-deductible
Fuel For Truth is a 501(c)(3) organization
Tax ID: 30-0129917
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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, Abby Schultz - 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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New York, NY 10008