Welcome to ReFuel, the monthly newsletter of 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 & Important Stuff
Send FFT to the World Zionist Congress
FFT has joined the Americans4Israel (A4I) slate for the upcoming 2020 US Election for the 38th World Zionist Congress! The World Zionist Congress is the only democratically elected body serving World Jewry, and the direction of some of Israel’s main institutions will be influenced by this election. This is a rare opportunity for American Jews to have a direct impact on the future of Israel and diaspora affairs, so vote for A4I between January 21 and March 11 to ensure the values of FFT—and the Israel you seek—is represented.
FFT Members on the A4I Slate:
Top L-R: Ron Wasserman (FFT Chairman), Nataly Antar (NYC Boot Camp graduate), Justin Ellis (FFT Executive Director), Emmanuelle Subar (Miami Boot Camp graduate), Daniel Flesch (DC Boot Camp founder)
Bottom L-R: Joe Tipograph (DC Boot Camp graduate), Jeremy Meller (Chief Operating Officer), Samantha Mandeles (Boston Boot Camp instructor), Jonathan "Yoni" Michanie (Boston Boot Camp instructor), Corey Feldman (NYC Boot Camp instructor).
VOTE A4I BEGINNING JANUARY 21!
Kick Off 2020 at our NYC Party For Truth
It's time to #PartyForTruth! Join the members of Fuel For Truth, our recent NYC Boot Camp graduates, and hundreds of other young professionals at Vandal for a night of boozing, schmoozing, and learning how you can be a more effective voice for Israel! Registration includes 1-hour open bar, DJ spinning fresh Israeli tunes, and mingling with hundreds of other young professionals.
Party For Truth
Thursday, January 16 • 7:00 - 10:00 PM
Vandal • 199 Bowery, NYC
Now Accepting Applications for Winter Boot Camp Classes
When you hear someone bashing Israel, do you want to speak up but fear sounding like you don't know what you're talking about? Wish you knew more about the reality behind the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how to talk about it with those who don't share your views? Then apply to Boot Camp!
Our flagship program for young professionals is an intensive, multi-week class that equips participants with the knowledge, tools, and confidence to have today's difficult conversations about Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while providing a fun and social space to be part of a community and something bigger than yourself.
Mazal Tov to the Wasserman Family!
Fuel For Truth would like to wish our Chairman Ron Wasserman and his wife Tiffany a huge mazal tov on the birth of their son! Oz Lev Wasserman was born December 26 and joins big brothers Liam and Mac as the third child of the Wasserman clan. Boot Camp alumni were in attendance for his Brit Milah to celebrate with the family and officially welcome him to Am Yisrael. If the youngest Wasserman is anything like his parents, look out for Oz teaching Boot Camp by 2050.
We Say Goodbye to Barry
We are saddened to inform you of the passing of Barry Liben. Barry was a great supporter and friend of Fuel For Truth who generously offered his time and resources to our organization, including his office at Tzell Travel Group, which previously served as the classroom of our New York City Boot Camp. He loved Israel and the Jewish people, and that was reflected by his deeds in this world. His daughter Rebecca and son-in-law Matthew are Boot Camp graduates, and our hearts are with them and the entire Liben family during this difficult time. Baruch Dayan Haemet. May his memory be a blessing.
Jewish National Fund Opportunities
FFT is proud to be partnered with Jewish National Fund (JNF), which leads the way in connecting Jews with the land and people of Israel. Every issue of ReFuel we highlight different opportunities to get involved with JNF's great work, in particular through its young professional division—JNFuture.
JNFuture is a network for young professionals ages 22-40 who share a passion for Israel. Nationwide, JNFuture engages its members through local, social, and educational programming, and opportunities to contribute to and visit Israel. Learn more about JNFuture and how to join your local chapter.
JNFuture New York City Presents: Tu BiShvat Cocktail Party
Spend an enchanting evening celebrating the New Year for trees with Jewish National Fund, the organization that has planted over 260 million trees in Israel since 1901! Connect with like-minded young professionals over cocktails and delicious food. Hear about Jewish National Fund’s big, bold vision for a bright, prosperous, and green future for the land and people of Israel.
Thursday, February 06
399 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003
JNFuture Miami Presents: Nocturnal Oasis
Enjoy cocktails, live music, and so much more at Miami’s newest elegant venue—PALAPA—a 3,500 square foot tiki hut surrounded by lush, tropical trees. Join us as we celebrate JNF’s positive impact with over 150 young professionals ages of 22-40 who share a passion for the environment and Israel!
Saturday March 28
Palapa at Upper Buena Vista
184 NE 50th Terrace, Miami, FL 33137
Travel to Israel with JNF
Traveling to Israel is always the most meaningful way for Zionists to reconnect with the land and people we love. Jewish National Fund allows you to explore Israel through a new lens, and there’s no shortage of travel options available. Whether you want to skip the usual tourist haunts and spend a week getting your hands dirty on Volunteer Vacation, or combine the classics of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv with stops to see the new developments and changes happening in Israel north and south, JNF helps you strengthen your love of Israel while getting to know a new side of the country you’ve never seen.
"I was blown away by the breadth and scope of Jewish National Fund’s impact everywhere we went. We learned about JNF’s amazing work with disabilities, toured the rehabilitative village at ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran, met the brave residents living in the Gaza Envelope—where they are famous for saying life is 99% heaven and 1% hell—and saw the children of Sderot play in the safety of the fortified Sderot Indoor Recreation Center.” — Lisa Shakun, Widsor, CT.
Ready to get back to Israel? Check out our tours here!
ReCap: December 2019
Friday Night Live at Sinai Temple
It was very special to partner with Sinai Temple (home of our LA Boot Camp) and Atid (its young professionals division) for their monthly Friday Night Live (FNL) Shabbat service and dinner. Attended by more than 100 young professionals from all walks of life, The Ted & Hedy Orden & Family Friday Night Live is a special experience that offers Jews around Los Angeles the opportunity to unwind, connect, welcome the Shabbat, and learn more about different programs elevating local Jewish life. Fuel For Truth Executive Director Justin Ellis joined FNL and Saturday morning services to talk about the impact of FFT and how it is revolutionizing Israel education and Jewish young professional engagement.
ReTold: Shafir Sidjaja's Story
I was born and raised in Indonesia, the country with the highest Muslim population, and a nation which has been openly anti-Semitic and against Israel since her existence as a modern state in 1948. In Indonesia, every piece of bad news from the Middle East seems to be blamed on Israel and many people will blame Jews for anything. I was not anti-Israel, but I was ignorant about Israel.
Despite living in Indonesia for many generations, my family and I aren’t considered true Indonesians by many countrymen. My dad is of Chinese and Dutch descent and my mom is an Indonesian-Christian. I was not just a minority, but also a visible target of ethnic and religious discriminations. In my time living there, I learned about many similarities between the Chinese and Jews in diaspora.
My family immigrated to New Jersey when I was sixteen. After graduating high school, I decided to work and postpone my education plan, or perhaps forget about it. After four years of working, my education dream was fulfilled by a 93-year-old Shoah survivor for whom my mom was working (she still works for her descendants today). I was so astonished that a Shoah survivor told me and my mom that she would pay for my college tuition, and for any university of my choice. Why would she help me? A stranger, from an infamously anti-Semitic country, who would not be able to pay her back?
This woman chose to help me simply because my experience reminded her of her arrival in America after WWII, when she and her late husband immigrated from Poland and had to start over in a new country. I felt that I must pay her back in some way, or pay her kindness forward. Around this time, I also became more aware of rising anti-Semitism and anti-Israel propaganda. I wanted to learn more about Israel and Jewish history in order to better defend my stance against anti-Semitism.
After graduating college I decided to participate in FFT’s Boot Camp. I learned a lot from Boot Camp, including history and valuable facts, but the most important lessons were about trying to change the opponent’s perspective rather than trying to win an argument. Since graduating from Boot Camp last September, I have been involved with pro-Israel organizations and organizations that combat anti-Semitism at my alma matter. I would like to do more in the future.
So many people ask me why I support Israel. “Are you a Zionist? Or are you just against anti-Semitism in general?” Before FFT I would usually go with a basic answer, such as “Israel is the only democratic nation in the Middle East!” But my support for Israel is beyond this now; it is about right and wrong, period! I lived in an apartheid state and I understand very clearly that Israel is a nation that values equality and human rights. And you don’t have to be a Jew to be pro-Israel and against anti-Semitism.
FFT Speaker Profile: Dr. Jeffrey Herbst
Every issue of ReFuel we highlight one of the numerous guest speakers who graciously donate their time to speak at Boot Camp. These include prominent individuals with extensive experience in politics, foreign policy, religion, media, communication, and education.
QUICK BIO: Dr. Jeffrey Herbst is the fourth and current President of American Jewish University (AJU) in Los Angeles, whose innovative academic programs prepare undergraduate, graduate, and rabbinical students for rewarding lives as leaders in the Jewish community as well as society at large.
CLAIM(S) TO FAME: Prior to leading AJU, Dr. Herbst was president of Colgate University in upstate New York, as well as president and CEO of the Newseum in Washington, DC, which was dedicated to increasing public understanding of the importance of a free press and the First Amendment. A two-time Fulbright Scholar, he taught at Princeton University for almost two decades.
WHY WE LOVE THE SPEAKER: Dr. Herbst's academic and professional experience has focused on the development of new countries following emancipation from colonial rule. As a result, he provides unique insight into Israel's growth over the past century comparative to other nations as they transition away from the founding generation of national leadership. He also has a daughter currently serving in the Israel Defense Forces.
FFT Hero Profile: Yitzhak Shamir
We at Fuel For Truth believe that everyone has the potential to play an important role in the story of Israel and the Jewish people. Every issue of ReFuel we highlight someone who has left their mark in an extraordinary way and hope they serve as an inspiration to find your place in this incredible story.
If you ask Israelis who lived during his leadership what they remember of Yitzhak Shamir, a handful of words will likely repeat themselves; tough, stubborn, uncompromising, and deeply Zionistic.
Yitzhak Shamir was a member of the founding generation of Israel's leaders. Those whose political ideology matured in the crucible of warfare against the enemy of the day: first the Nazis, then the British, then the Arabs, and eventually competing political factions. He was a member of deeply nationalist Jewish organizations from the time he developed a political consciousness; Betar, Irgun, Lehi, and eventually Likud. He was a strong political leader who never forgot the tragedies that befell the Jews of Europe, stating once “never be desperate, that is my slogan.” His formative years were spent in the company of superstars like Jabotinsky, Ben-Gurion, Begin, and Stern.
Born Yitzhak Yezernitsky in Belarus in 1915, he spent much of his formative years in Poland. There he studied law at the University of Warsaw, joined the Betar youth group, and famously observed “every Pole sucked anti-Semitism with his mother's milk." Feeling uncomfortable as a Jew in Poland, he left law school without earning a degree and immigrated to British Palestine in 1935. Despite his best efforts to smuggle his family out of Europe; his mother, father and two sisters died in the camps. On his way to British Palestine he met his future wife Shulamit in a refugee detention camp and it was there that he took for himself the surname Shamir, Hebrew for thorn; fitting given his prickly political legacy...
ReLearn: Advocacy Tips & Resources
Take a deep breath. In advocacy, we have a biological flight or fight response when we hear something that offends us, especially when it’s a conversation about something as existentially important as Israel.
Ron's Book Selection
The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership
by Yehuda Avner
The Prime Ministers is the first and only insider account of Israeli politics from the founding of the Jewish State to the near-present day.
It reveals stunning details of life-and-death decision-making, top-secret military operations and high level peace negotiations. The Prime Ministers brings readers into the orbits of world figures, including Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger, Yasser Arafat, Margaret Thatcher, Princess Diana, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Written in a captivating literary style by a political adviser, speechwriter, and diplomat, The Prime Ministers is an enthralling political memoir, and a precisely crafted prism through which to view current Middle East affairs. The Prime Ministers is the basis of a major documentary produced by Moriah Films, the Academy Award-winning film division of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
What to Watch
Charged with overseeing Israel's battle against Palestinian terrorism, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel's secret service—is present at the crossroad of every decision made.
For the first time ever six former heads of the agency agreed to share their insights and reflect publicly on their actions and decisions. The Gatekeepers offers an exclusive account of the sum of their success and failures.
Help us train the next generation of Israel advocates by making a one-time or monthly gift
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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 - Executive Director
Daniel Brooks - Associate Director
Jeremy Meller - COO
Jennie Rimon - FFT Miami Chapter Leader
Hali Haber, Ben Suster - FFT Boston Chapter Leaders
Newsletter Team - Arielle Holstein, Leon Anijar
PO Box 1929
90 Church Street
New York, NY 10008