70 Voices for Israel – A Countdown to Yom Ha’atzma’ut

The Mahara”l of Prague writes that the number seven represents the entirety of this natural world, which was created in seven days (six days of creation, completed on the Sabbath) and will last for 7000 years (6000 years plus a 1000-year Sabbath – see Talmud Sanhedrin 97a). And any number multiplied by 10 represents its expanded full potential – so that 70 of something represents all the potential facets of that thing in the natural world. In 70 days, the State of Israel will be celebrating its 70th Year of Independence. 70 years of the Jewish people having a state of their own, a place where Judaism and democracy exist and Jews have self sovereignty. Israel is still a young country, and it is not perfect, but its existence is a testament of the strength and faith of the Jewish people. It is a dream realized after thousands of years. As the words of Hatikvah remind us, “As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart, with eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion, then our hope – the two-thousand year old hope – will not be lost: to be a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.” For the next 70 days, as we look toward this momentous occasion, we celebrate with 70 voices, your voices, the voices of United Hebrew that continue to hope, to love, to dream, to experience Israel! May we cherish and learn from the past 70 years and look forward with hope at the amazing potential of the next 70! And, may this year, be the year, that Israel and her neighbors know peace! Read the first blog post by Ethan Guller. You can view the blog, daily, at United Hebrew’s Israel Blog or on our Facebook Page If you are interested in being one of the “voices” please email Rabbi...

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MICRO-GRANT OPPORTUNITY: 50 YEARS SINCE THE SIX DAY WAR: A CIVIL DISCOURSE

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis (JCRC) is now accepting proposals for micro-grants to fund programs that illuminate the discourse around Israel in our modern world. Israel was once a source of unity in our community; now, amid rising anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, she has the potential to be a source of division. JCRC invites proposals for one-time activities or short-term projects that are educational as well as spirited. We encourage organizations, groups, and individuals to create their own relevant programming that addresses and reflects on the Israel over the past half-century. Requests may range from $500 to $1,000 and programming must be completed by December 31, 2017. Micro-grant proposals will be accepted until March 15, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. Grants may be used to help defray the costs of: Program expenses, including speaker honoraria, film rights, equipment rental, etc. Marketing expenses, including printing and online promotional costs. Funds cannot be used to cover salaries for marketing staff. Service support, including use of open captioning, sign language interpreter, use of Braille, assistive listening device, etc. Grants will range from $500 to $1,000 depending on the funding needs. Grants cannot be used for funding of ongoing staff. Only one application per agency will be considered. Grantees will be required to complete a follow-up survey following completion of the activity. Grants will be evaluated against the following criteria: Potential to reach those in the Jewish community less engaged with Israel; Diversity of viewpoints and constituencies represented; Creativity of programming; and, Ability of grantee(s) to find alternative or matching funding. Applications are available online at http://jcrcstl.org/micrograntapp/. This program is made possible due to the generosity and support of the Kranzberg Family Foundation, Lubin-Green Foundation and Staenberg Family Foundation, which are supporting foundations of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis. For questions please contact JCRC at rholloway@jcrcstl.org or at (314)...

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Prominent Israeli LGBTQ* Activist to Speak

Leading Israeli LGBTQ* activist, Etai Pinkas, will deliver a keynote entitled, “Marriage Equality & LGBTQ* Issues in Israel,” on Monday, November 14 at 7:30 pm in Umrath Lounge on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis.  Named one of the “100 most influential people in Israel,” speaker Etai Pinkas served as Chairman of the national LGBT association in Israel and advises the Mayor of Tel Aviv on LGBTQ* affairs.  He and his partner have challenged the legal system in Israel to recognize same-sex marriages and provide equal accessibility to the surrogacy process in Israel for same-sex couples.  Both of these issues have reached the Israeli Supreme Court through his appeals. The event is free and open to the public and is being co-sponsored by Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis, Nice Jewish Queers, WashU Students for Israel, Hillel International and Jewish United Fund’s Israel Education Center. Umrath Lounge is adjacent to the Danforth University Center at Washington University.  Parking is available in the Danforth University Center Garage on Wallace Drive off of Forsyth Boulevard or in any yellow designated parking spot on campus.  A light dessert reception will follow.  For more information, visit tinyurl.com/EtaiPinkas or contact Jackie Levey, Executive Director, Hillel at Washington University, at...

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Jewish Values and the Jewish State: The St. Louis Jewish Community’s Relationship with Israel

J Street U Wash U invites you to attend our panel featuring St. Louis Jewish Communal Leaders, “Jewish Values and the Jewish State: The St. Louis Community’s Relationship with Israel” In this timely panel discussion featuring Doctor Andrew Rehfeld, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, and Maharat Rori Picker-Neiss, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, topics will range from the role of these institutions in furthering a two-state solution to Israel education at WashU and throughout the city. The second half of the panel will be open to questions from both students and community members. We really hope you can make it! Wednesday, April 20th Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis 6300 Forsyth Blvd, St. Louis 63105 6:30 – Refreshments 7:00 – Program...

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Yom Ha’atzmaut 2016

May 11 @ 6:00pm The J-Stanberg Family Compex 2 Millstone campus drive, 63146 Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration, with Israeli rock band show, Israeli food and lots of activities for kids! Free event.

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Destination Weddings/Events in Israel: Do I really need to hire a planner?

Soon you’ll be walking down that aisle with your love! Not long to go now until your dear son’s Bar Mitzvah! You have been awaiting this moment for so long. Yes, we all cherish these exciting moments in our lives. We find ourselves reliving them for years to come. But before that special day comes, its firstly time for the thinking caps to come on. Its time for the planning. Its time to get down to the fine details to create this dream celebration. So you might be asking yourselves – Where do I start? Do I need a planner? My family and I could probably split the responsibilities, but is it worth it? Is hiring a planner worth adding that extra expense to my current loooong list of expenses? What about my budget? How will it really help me? What will I be saving? All excellent questions. Here is a little insight of how a wedding or event planner can be useful for you regardless of budget limitations. Save Your Money A planner has the time and connections to find you high quality vendors to match your budget, whether high or low. Most likely she has long-term relationships with most of the vendors and can therefore get you much better prices and package extras that you could get yourself, saving you thousands off the overall cost. She will be a skilled negotiator ensuring that you get what you want and what you pay for. Your Budget Your planner will help you to understand, organize and manage your budget. Your Time is Valuable Planning an event – especially a wedding, can take an average of 250 hours in total. Booking the main vendors is the easy part, (kinda – see below) but as the details become finer, and the day approaches, the ‘things-to-do’ list becomes longer and longer, and you find yourself drowning in it all, and the stress levels begin to rise. Remember the ‘big picture’ needs to be translated into hundreds of smaller details. An event planner will help you do this, and she will do all the necessary research for you, list you all the details from A to Z, and manage it from start to end. All you will find yourself doing is the choosing and then you can allow yourself not to think about it any longer. Booking the ‘Right’ Vendors This is a tricky one, as there are literally thousands of vendors in every sector. In addition, Google search can be dangerous as looks can be deceiving. When having a destination event in Israel, there is an issue of different expectations of service, product and mentality. It is only after you have booked a vendor, that the overall experience of working alongside your vendor of choice be discovered. Sometimes luck will bring you satisfaction in your choice, and sometimes it could be a disaster, and at which point, its usually too late to change. With a planner, you can be confident that you will be pleased with the outcomes of the service, manner and product being offered by each vendor, and she will send your way the specific vendors that fit exactly your taste and budget. Venue coordinators are not the same This is one of the questions I am asked frequently as...

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