Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

5 Shevat 5760 - January 12, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Am Echad VIP Delegation to Eretz Yisroel

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

From Tuesday through Thursday, January 18-20, a delegation of Am Echad activists representing a broad cross-section of American Orthodoxy will be in Eretz Yisroel to participate in the official dedication of Am Echad's Israel office, as part of the second Am Echad VIP group mission to Israel.

The more than 100 participants, mostly professionals and community askonim, are taking part in the mission because of their concern for the security and maintenance of Orthodox life and values in Israel. The participants come with experiences to share, drawn from their current lives in a "pluralistic" society, from their professional capacities, and, for many, from being parents of yeshiva students benefiting from a unique Torah education in Eretz Yisroel. Am Echad, chaired by New York community activist Avrohom Biderman, is a pan-Orthodox organization dedicated to authentic Jewish unity, continuity and education. The effort is pledged to correct media misrepresentations of, and promote accurate information about, Orthodox Jews and Judaism.

The Am Echad Israel office, located in Yerushalayim on Rechov Yirmiyahu, is under the directorship of the well-known author Rabbi Yonason Rosenblum. With the assistance of staff attorney Mordechai Haller, the office has already made a significant impact on more positively portraying the Orthodox community in the world press, serving as a primary resource for media contacts around the globe. Rabbi Rosenblum is constantly available to the media, and provides them with an unabashed Orthodox perspective.

While in Israel, the delegates will be meeting with gedolei Eretz Yisroel. They will also speak with a number of Israeli political figures and attend two Am Echad- sponsored symposia: one, on the role of Israel's High Court in Israeli society; and the second, on the world media's perspective of Orthodox Jews in Israel.

Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, the Novominsker Rebbe and Rosh Agudath Israel of America, is scheduled to join the delegates for part of the mission.

"Am Echad was created to address a great and timely need," says Rabbi Avi Shafran, American director of Am Echad. "The Orthodox voice needs to be heard among the overwhelming misrepresentations and misinformation that so flood the public arena. Our Israel office is, in many ways today, our world's first line of defense."

Am Echad's first mission to Israel took place in 1997, led by the late president of Agudath Israel of America, Rabbi Moshe Sherer, zt"l. In ensuing months, Am Echad, which was Rabbi Sherer's brainchild, grew from an ad-hoc effort to bring balance to the issue of "Jewish religious pluralism" in Israel into a multifaceted media resource enterprise servicing the press and public, both in Eretz Yisroel and North America.

Am Echad is also well known for the much-noticed advertisements in the secular press promoting Torah education and dispelling confusion about Orthodoxy; its hotline offering information to American Jews about Jewish educational opportunities; a weekly syndication service supplying articles to Anglo-Jewish periodicals around the world; and its coordination of letters to editors responding to press stories and reports that merit Orthodox reaction.

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