What is the Masorti Movement?
The Movement is the name of the Conservative Movement in Israel. It is an indigenous Israeli movement for Israelis and by Israelis. Derived from the Hebrew word Masoret, meaning "tradition," it represents a modern and non-coercive approach to Jewish life in Israel.
is the Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel?
The Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel is the American organization responsible for raising funds to support the Masorti Movement, and its various activities in Israel. The Foundation also serves as the Movement�s voice to American media, public officials and Jewish leadership.
is Masorti Olami?
Masorti Masorti Olami is the Hebrew name of the World Council of Conservative Synagogues. Masorti Olami establishes Masorti synagogues, schools, camps, NOAM youth groups and MAROM youth leadership networks everywhere where Jews live except the United States, Canada and Israel (e.g. Europe, Latin America, Australia).
What is MERCAZ?
MERCAZ is the Conservative Movement�s Zionist membership organization. As the political lobby within the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency, MERCAZ uses its power and the size of its membership rolls to leverage an appropriate share of Jewish communal funding.
MERCAZ membership is important because of the total funding of $300 million, still only .03 percent ($800,000) of the total funding of $300 million goes to Masorti Movement projects. An additional .04 percent goes to other Conservative institutions in Israel such as the Fuchsberg Center, the Schechter Institute, etc.
What is the relationship between Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), the Schechter Institute, University of Judaism, The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, etc.?
All of these organizations are sister organizations in a world-wide Conservative movement. JTS, like the Schechter Institute in Israel, the University of Judaism in Los Angeles and the Seminario Rabbinico Latino Americano in Buenos Aires, are all academic institutions that train Jewish leaders and ordain rabbis. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism is the umbrella organization of North American Conservative congregations.
does Masorti stand on Israeli political issues?
The Masorti Movement is apolitical: members of Masorti kehillot range over the entire spectrum, but check their political views at the synagogue door. This is unique in Israeli society, where often religious affiliation and political views go hand in hand.
Isn�t religious pluralism a luxury and shouldn�t we be working on Israel�s security needs?
Religious pluralism and freedom are not luxuries, but rather real needs of Israeli citizens, affecting them and setting their priorities no less than questions of foreign and defense policy. In the last election, hundreds of thousands of Israelis chose, at a time when they were threatened daily by suicide bombers and the outbreak of war with Iraq, to vote for a party (Shinui) that prioritizes the fight against religious coercion and the Orthodox monopoly.
While Masorti often disagrees with positions taken by the Shinui Party, the general population�s concern with religious freedom is well established by their striking success at the polls.
can’t Israelis support their own movement with synagogue dues, the way North
Israel � with no separation between church and state � heavily funds religious institutions, including synagogues, from the State budget. However, this funding is limited to Orthodox institutions and practically no public funding goes to the Masorti Movement.
The concept of dues to a synagogue is alien to most Israelis, however, all Masorti kehillot collect such dues, part of which are channeled to the Movement. While philanthropy is on the rise in Israel, due to the economic situation and high taxes, funds are directed more toward social and cultural rather than religious endeavors.
comprises the population of the Masorti Movement congregations?
The Masorti Movement prides itself on the wide-ranging roots of its members. Many synagogues boast members from over 25 countries. Today, Masorti is a deep-rooted Israeli organization: some two-thirds are native-born Israelis or immigrants from Latin America, Europe and the Former Soviet Union. North Americans, who established the Movement�s first synagogues, comprise around one third of the present membership.
is the Masorti Movement’s Budget and what does it cover?
The Masorti Movement�s present budget is a modest $2.5 million. This budget includes all national programs and subsidies to Masorti kehillot.
About one third of the budget is dedicated to youth programs, one third subsidizes rabbinic salaries, and the rest goes to all the other programs. The Movement�s main sources of income are the Masorti Foundation, the Jewish Agency, income from services and local donations.