The annual gathering of Jewish Federations of North America is held every five years in Israel
The 2023 General Assembly hosted by Jewish Federations of North America will kick off this coming week with the participation of thousands of North American Jews. Held every year, The General Assembly is the most consequential gathering of the leadership of the North American Jewish community and brings together Jewish leaders of diverse backgrounds in a space that fosters productive dialogue and debate. This year’s event, which coincides with Israel’s Memorial and Independence Days, will focus on celebrating 75 years of connection and partnership between North American Jewry and the Jewish State.
“Israel is a source of meaning for our Jewish communities in North America and it is a tremendous privilege to be in Israel with 3,000 leaders from across the Federation system to celebrate this milestone with our Israeli brothers and sisters,” said Jewish Federations of North America Board Chair Julie Platt. “Our being here in such large numbers and during this momentous occasion is a testament to the deep care we feel for Israel’s well-being and the unbreakable bonds between our two communities. Along with the celebrations, we will also listen, learn and engage in dialogue with Israeli decision-makers from the opposition and coalition as we continue to express our concerns on issues of importance to North American Jewry and their implications on our communities.”
“It is an honor to kick-off our annual General Assembly in Tel Aviv just a few days ahead of Israel’s 75th birthday, together with thousands of Jewish leaders from our Federation system,” said Jewish Federations of North America President & CEO Eric Fingerhut. “For decades, Federations have invested billions of dollars in programs to strengthen Israeli society, to care for the most vulnerable Israelis and to deepen the ties between our two communities, while remaining engaged with Israeli leaders on issues of important to our two communities. Our being in Israel this week is a reflection of our eternal love for Israel that transcends any difference of opinion or political discussion.”
The General Assembly kicks off on April 23rd with an event organized by Jewish Federations of North America, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Hayesod, and the World Zionist Organization, that will feature addresses by President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
On Monday, participants will have the opportunity to engage in dialogue with a variety of Israeli and North America public officials, entrepreneurs and communal leaders on key issues facing the two communities. Speakers include Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, MK Simcha Rothman, MK Oded Forer, MK Idan Roll, Rabbi Dr. Kenneth Brander, Prof. Yifat Bitton and many others.
Participants will observe the evening of Yom Hazikaron together with thousands of Jewish youth from around the globe at a ceremony hosted by Masa in Latrun. On Tuesday, participants will mark the solemn day in small groups, taking part in ceremonies to honor the fallen and a series of conversations led by Israeli educators. The conference will culminate with festive celebrations in honor of Israel’s 75th birthday.
In addition to The General Assembly, 14 national missions with over 3,000 participants representing 74 Federation communities will be crisscrossing the country this coming week, as participants explore Israel’s natural beauty, social diversity and heritage sites, in addition to Federation funded projects to strengthen Israeli society and support vulnerable Israelis.
The General Assembly comes at an important moment of ongoing debate within Israel on reforms to the Law of Return, the judicial system and other policies - changes that would have significant implications on North American Jewry. Last month, 30 Federation leaders took part in an extraordinary 24-hour visit to Israel to express their concerns with Israeli leaders on the proposed judicial reforms and to urge for immediate compromise.