For First Time, American Immigrant Elected Jewish Agency for Israel's Deputy Chair

Rank and File | Beit Shemesh Baseball launches crowdfunding campaign to help build complex; Council of Olim Associations working with other organizations, Education Corps officers to help soldiers with army bureaucracy

Dr. David Breakstone
Avi Dodi hired by World Zionist Organization / Wikimedia Commons

AMERICAN FIRST: Dr. David Breakstone, a former WZO executive and founding director of the Herzl Museum, has been elected deputy chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel. According to the quasi-governmental organization, this is the first time that a veteran immigrant from the United States has attained this position on JAFI’s executive committee. “How appropriate and sobering that my first official duty in this post was to lay a wreath at the state ceremony on Mt. Herzl in memory of those who have fallen in Israel’s defense and whose final resting place is unknown,” Breakstone said after taking the position last month. “It will serve as a constant reminder that my job is about ensuring that we pay our debt to all those who have sacrificed their lives for the Zionist cause.” Breakstone has also been active in the Masorti movement since moving to Israel in 1974.

ON THE MAP: Just weeks after the Israel Association of Baseball’s Team Israel ignited new excitement for the sport, Beit Shemesh Baseball has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help build the complex. “Our team’s thrilling run in the World Baseball Classic put baseball in Israel on the map,” said Jordan Alter, who moved to Israel in 2005 from Fair Lawn, New Jersey and heads the Beit Shemesh Baseball NGO. “We see demand and attention growing, and now we need the infrastructure to capitalize on this momentum,” he added. Israel swept its pool to reach the final eight last month before being eliminated. The field is designated as one of several to be built throughout Israel with the support of the Jewish National Fund’s Project Baseball. To learn more or to contribute, go to gofundme.com and search for Beit Shemesh.

GREETINGS: Aware that immigrant soldiers face many challenges when engaging army bureaucracy, the Council of Olim Associations, in partnership with Telfed, the Michael Levin Lone Soldiers’ Center, AACI (Americans and Canadians in Israel) and a pair of French immigrant associations, has begun working with officers within the Education Corps to address these issues. Telfed’s CEO, Dorron Kline, together with Yigal Sela - the Israel representative of the Zionist Federation of Australia - led a session of simulations and discussions at the second such seminar for 17 army educators (who each train some 600 commanders over the course of a year), in Jerusalem on March 29. “These seminars have opened our eyes to the very specific needs of olim and lone soldiers. This new knowledge is translated into action as we prepare the commanders in the field. ” said Noam, the educational officer in charge.

Rank and File was compiledby Steven Klein.

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