Welcome to the official newsletter of ZOA's Fuel For Truth: ReFuel. On the first Tuesday of each month, be sure to check your inbox for the latest edition. To provide feedback or suggestions, please reach out to Tali Snow Schwartz, email@example.com.
ReConnect: Announcements & Events
Irwin Hochberg Z"L
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mr. Irwin Hochberg at the age of 89. Irwin was a close friend, mentor, and father figure to many of our founders, and was instrumental in the building of our organization. He served as national chairman of Israel Bonds, President of UJA Federation, Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Zionist Organization of America, and held dozens of other leadership positions within the Jewish community. While doing all of this, he remained humble, accessible, and kind. Irwin was a great example of what we can and should all strive to be. Per his family's request, you can make a donation to ZOA's Fuel For Truth in Irwin's memory. Baruch Dayan Ha'emet.
Didn't you hear? We're coming to Boston!
Boot Camp is back in action, in New York and Washington, DC!
Join us in NY at the ZOA Gala's Eve Party!
FFT-DC Trivia Night
FFT-DC Party For Truth
Come celebrate the newest Boot Camp graduates and “fuel” your curiosity about Israel and the Middle East.
Save the date: Tuesday, November 28, 2017
FFT-DC L'chaim Ball
FFT-DC will be hosting its first holiday party/end-of-the-year celebration!
Open bar until 8:30pm | Kosher hors d'oeuvres
Saturday Dec 9, 7pm | L8 Lounge
ReCap: October 2017
ReTold: Melissa Sherman's Story
I dislike marches, despite my belief in their necessity. However, my personal preference of how to conduct education of politics and policy will not stop my attendance. Speakers, often a core component, are chosen to educate, inspire, and to place thoughts for the audience to consider. Speakers present at marches participate in educating the group at large; whether they believe so or not. Their emotions carry weight, the substance of their speeches often taken as truth.
We met armed with signs and solidarity against racism. A particular speaker claimed the same. Yet, instead of wearing clothing of solidarity, they wore a shirt blazed with their own cause. Rather than use their opening statement to discuss the issues for which we had gathered, they pointed out their ethnicity and religion, both of which tie deeply into their cause. Then, declared themselves unapologetic for this identity.
However, you see, no one asked this speaker to apologize. They had barely taken the stage for five minutes, and met a welcoming crowd. Confused, the audience waited. Suddenly, the sentence came, lessening the confusion. “I will not be intimidated by right-wing Zionists.” Ah, yes. There it is. In a march rescheduled to welcome the Jewish community, the one holding the microphone of power purposefully dividing us.
The speaker, Linda Sarsour, claimed her purpose was to stand against racism in the black community. While declaring, “When you show up to a space it doesn’t have to be about you. As a Palestinian American Muslim woman, I show up in a space about black people.” Yet, if this notion of self-sacrifice is true, why did Sarsour show up wearing a shirt with the word Palestine blazed across it? Why, did she mention multiple times throughout her speech, that she identifies as Palestinian? And why did she state, “It is not my job to educate Jewish people that Palestinians deserve dignity; it is the job of Jewish people and those Israelis.” Strange, I didn’t realize I was attending a march regarding foreign policy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If so, I would have held a sign pursuant to the topic.
While preaching understanding, Sarsour stated, “Especially for my white sisters and brothers, this is your moment.” Call me insane, but who is the audience again? Was the Jewish identity just swapped and glazed over as simply “white?" How convenient, for the person in power to identify as the oppressed, and to group the audience as oppressors. Sounds familiar.
Continuing to dilute the Jewish community’s ability to relate to the cause, Sarsour stated, “I want you to be part of a generation that 100 years from now that generation is brave. We wish there were generations like them 200 years ago. But 40 years from now you wanna act like you're supporting, like we did to Martin Luther King Jr.” Last time I fact-checked history, Jewish leaders and their members did march alongside Martin Luther King Jr.
Israel is dragged into the discussion when it has nothing to do with her. Domestic issues regarding racism and police brutality in America hold no relation to the policies surrounding the conflict halfway around the world. Yet, here we are. We could ask why we are constantly brought into the mix. Or we could be prepared.
Which is why ZOA's Fuel For Truth is a necessity. We can feel in our hearts the truth tugging, but we must be able to vocalize it. When the speaker is finished, and discussion occurs within the audience, we must have the developed skills to partake. To fail to do so is a disservice to our inner voice and moral compass. FFT allows us as individuals to learn and craft those skills, so that when the loudest microphone is turned off, we can impact the audience. Or perhaps - one day - hold the microphone.
ReLearn: Advocacy Tips & Resources
Although we often have a tendency to focus exclusively on history, we must avoid the legalistic style of advocacy. People sympathize with the Palestinians because they see innocent individuals suffering today. There is not much that happened in 1948 or 1967 which will adequately justify or explain the suffering of an innocent Palestinian child in 2017. Focus more on what can be done in the present to make for a better future.
Ron's Book Selection
Long is the Road to Freedom
by Ya'acov 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.
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THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Jon Loew & Joe Richards - Co-Founders
Ron Wasserman - Chairman & CEO
Justin Ellis - President
Jeremy Meller - COO
Daniel Flesch - FFT-DC Executive Director
Susan Chusyd - FFT-DC Deputy Executive Director
The Newsletter Team - Tali Schwartz, Arielle Holstein, Sam Wechsler