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
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
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.