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9,000 Pack Biggest-Ever Israeli-American Event in NYC

NEW YORK, Braving rainy weather, more than 9,000 Israeli Americans, Jews and supporters of Israel packed Pier 94 in Midtown Manhattan on Sunday for the inaugural Israeli-American Council (IAC) Celebrate Israel Festival New York, marking a historic turning point for the Tri-State Israeli-American community.

The largest celebration ever of Israeli-American culture in New York featured an array of iconic Israeli pop culture stars, including the chart-topping singer Rita, beloved children’s entertainer Rinat Gabay and a host of acclaimed Israeli jazz musicians sponsored by the world-famous Blue Note Records label. Israeli pop star Kobi Aflalo also made a surprise appearance, performing a dazzling duet with Rita.

Celebrate Israel New York was organized by IAC in partnership with the Consulate General of Israel in New York, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York (JCRC-NY), and the UJA-Federation of New York, and followed the annual Celebrate Israel Parade on Fifth Avenue.

“Celebrate Israel New York was a game-changer for Israeli-Americans in New York and beyond,” said Yehudit Feinstein-Mentesh, the IAC’s New York regional director. “On Sunday we came together in a powerful embrace to celebrate the rich, multi-layered culture of Israel in the Big Apple. We sang and cried with Rita and Kobi, laughed with Rinat and painted the town blue and white for the first of what we expect will be many magical moments.”

Israel’s Ambassador in New York Ido Aharoni and the CEO of UJA-Federation Eric Goldstein officially opened the festival and welcomed the Israeli-American community. Along with the captivating performances, Celebrate Israel featured a wide array of Israeli-themed attractions, including a food court showcasing Israel’s multicultural cuisine with everything from the breaded chicken cutlets of the Schnitzel Truck to the Mediterranean delicacies of the Shakshuka Truck. Two leading Israeli vintners, Montefiore and Tabor, also offered exquisite wine tastings.

Meanwhile, a technology pavilion showcased some of Israel’s most innovative startups, including the Uber competitor Gett and the on-demand farm-to-table provider Farmigo. A mini Tel-Aviv beach hosted throngs of toddlers playing in the sand behind a backdrop of the seaside city, while former Israeli basketball stars Derrick Sharp and David Blu of Maccabi Tel-Aviv led an exciting basketball clinic.

Celebrate Israel New York culminated a month-long series of IAC Celebrate Israel Festivals across the country this May in Boston, L.A., Las Vegas and Miami, which together attracted more than 50,000 people. The Celebrate Israel Festival was modeled after IAC's hugely popular Celebrate Israel Festival in Los Angeles for Israel's Independence Day – the largest Jewish festival in North America, typically drawing more than 15,000.
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Over $23M Raised at IAC Gala in LA

Funds to strengthen Israeli-American community nationally and help build L.A. Center


BEVERLY HILLS, CA, More than 1,100 prominent Israeli-American community supporters and philanthropists from across the country raised $23.4 million at the Israeli-American Council (IAC)’S Seventh Annual Gala March 8 in Los Angeles.

The gala, at the historic Beverly Hilton Hotel, marked the Israeli-American community’s achievements over the past year. The funds will go toward IAC programs that strengthen the Israeli-American community nationwide, which is estimated at 600,000 members. The funds will also help complete the purchase of a building and campus in the San Fernando Valley for a future Israeli-American Community Center, to serve the Greater L.A. area.

Evenhaim said the new Israeli-American Center will serve to further unite the community and the large array of activities the organization offers Israeli-Americans and American Jews of all ages. One of the Gala’s goals was to raise a portion of the $10 million necessary to complete the purchase of the property – and that goal was more than surpassed, Evenhaim said.

“The incredible outpouring of support at the gala underscores that Israeli Americans are highly focused on building our community for the future,” said IAC National Chairman Shawn Evenhaim.

Among the leading IAC guests was Israel’s Consul-General in L.A., David Siegel, who lauded the organization’s work. “The IAC is the glue that keeps the Israeli-American community connected to the State of Israel,” Siegel said.

IAC’s sold-out Los Angeles gala honored Roz and Jerry Rothstein, co-founders of StandWithUs, the international pro-Israel education and advocacy organization, and Stanley Black, this year’s lifetime achievement award recipient. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Black is the chairman and founder of Black Equities Group, a real estate investment company, and is among L.A.’s leading philanthropists.

“There is something we can learn from our enemies -- they are unified. We need to be much more unified. We should not focus on the 20 percent we don't agree on, we need to focus on the 80 percent that we all agree on,” said Rothstein.

Speakers at the event included Gala Co-Chairs Ruth Davidov and Orly Maciborski, veteran L.A. community leaders and IAC supporters; IAC Los Angeles Regional Council Chairwoman Miri Shepher, one of L.A.’s most active communal leaders and philanthropists; and Evenhaim, who has been active in the real estate and building industries since 1989 and is a member of the National Association of Home Builders and the Building Industry Association of Southern California.

One of New York’s top comedians, Israeli-American Modi Rosenfeld, hosted the gala, while Israeli classic rock superstars Danny, Gidi & Friends performed. A pre-gala VIP event featured a Q&A session with the Israeli rock stars.
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IAC: All Members of Congress Should Hear Netanyahu's speach

Shawn Evenhaim, National Chairman of the Israeli-American Council (IAC), the leading Israeli-American organization, which reaches over 150,000 Israeli-Americans in the US, says that members of Congress should attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before a joint session of Congress on March 3rd.


“As Israeli-Americans who see it as our mission to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Israel, we believe that members of Congress need to hear the elected leader of the United States’ strongest Mideast ally about the serious challenge we face together – preventing a nuclear Iran,” said Evenhaim. “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and is the United States’ closest friend. When a prime minister of Israel accepts an invitation to address Congress, especially about this critical shared goal, we believe legislators need to hear him. Not listening is unhelpful.”


Evenhaim also emphasized that the IAC is a non-political organization. “We are not taking any side in any political arena, but we believe Congress should hear the elected leader of Israel – the only free democracy in the Middle East. The threat of a nuclear Iran is a threat to world peace, transcending domestic, political and partisan agendas. The IAC believes that members of Congress should hear any Israeli prime minister, of any party, on topics of mutual concern.”

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Israeli-American Council (IAC) announces its newest Regional Office, in NYC Joins recently opened offices in Boston, Miami, and Las Vegas

New York, NY, The Israeli-American Council (IAC), the largest Israeli-American organization in the United States, announced the opening of its newest Regional Office in New York City this week to serve the New York Metropolitan area Israeli-American community. Some 200,000 Israeli-Americans are estimated to live in the area, mostly in or around New York City.

The IAC New York Metro Regional Office, will immediately begin to launch community initiatives in keeping with IAC’s mission of building the Israeli-American community which, in turn, can help broaden support for Israel, bolster the Jewish and Israeli identity of future generations, and create a bridge to the Jewish-American community at large. The new Regional Office is part of IAC’s national growth, which includes opening regional offices in cities throughout the United States to provide community and national-level structure for Israeli-Americans, working together with other organizations, and through its IAC Community Grant program, providing support to Israeli-American initiatives throughout the U.S. The IAC New York Metro Regional Office will be located at 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St. on the 46th floor.

Yehudit Feinstein-Mentesh, the incoming IAC New York Metro Regional Director, brings extensive experience from the non-profit Israeli-American world, most recently working as the founder and director of Israelis in Brooklyn at Congregation Beth Elohim (CBE) in Brooklyn and as Chair of the UJA Roundtable Forum of Jewish Leaders in Brooklyn. Members of the IAC New York Metro Regional Council, serving as the local board, include Co-Chairs Gil Galanos, and Rachel Davidson, and Ran Fuchs, Ronen Schwartzman, Gaby Gonen, Shimon Shkury, Eytan Behiri, Ron Deutsch, Ariel Tirosh, Meirav Azoulay, Joe Berko, Jacky Teplitzky, Tamir Oren, Oded Har-Even.

The establishment of the IAC New York Metro Regional office comes at the heels of the IAC’s adoption of IAC Dor Chadash (previously Dor Chadash) earlier this year, which will be headed by incoming IAC Dor Chadash Director Neve Rabino. Neve previously served as the Manager of the East Coast Branch of the Friends of the Israeli Scouts. His vast leadership experience includes serving in the Israel Defense Forces as a First Sergeant, where he was a combat soldier in the counter terror team, part of the elite paratrooper’s reconnaissance unit, and received a recognition medal for his role during the Second Lebanon War.

“Our entire IAC Regional Council is thrilled to be bringing the IAC to the New York area and is confident that we will be playing a leading role in the national Israeli-American network,” said Davidson. “We have a great council and are looking forward to doing wonderful things for the broader Israeli-American community in this area. We have heard from our community that it cares deeply about our children maintaining their identity and relationship with Israel, and under the leadership of our new regional director, Yehudit Feinstein-Mentesh, we are prepared to roll out programs for them immediately. My co-chair, Gil Galanos, and our entire council is ready to make this organization a game-changer for all Israeli-Americans in our area.”

A special committee leading the IAC’s growth efforts is chaired by Israeli-American philanthropist Adam Milstein and is comprised of IAC National Chairman, Shawn Evenhaim; IAC Co-founding Chairman, Danny Alpert; IAC CEO, Sagi Balasha; and IAC COO, Miri Belsky.

The IAC currently helps support close to 40 organizations related to the Israeli-American community in the United States. It also runs a variety of community programming. Among its projects are Celebrate Israel, the largest Jewish festival in North America; Sifriyat Pijama B’America (SP-BA) the largest Hebrew outreach program in North America, reaching 10,000 families every month in partnership with The Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) and Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation; IAC BINA and IAC Dor Chadash, programs for young professional Israeli-Americans and other young Jews, which work to strengthen connections within the community and to Israel; IAC Care, a volunteer community for Israeli and Jewish Americans of all ages in Los Angeles; MISHELANU, a young leadership group on American college campuses where Israeli-Americans come together to strengthen their Jewish and Israeli identities and their ties to Israel; and TZAV 8, which organizes community activists to participate in demonstrations and pro-Israeli activities, and others.

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Israeli-American Council (IAC) announces opening of its newest Regional Office, in Boston, MA

Los Angeles, CA The Los Angeles-based Israeli-American Council (IAC), the largest Israeli-American organization in the Unites States, announced the opening of its newest Regional Office in Boston this week to serve the Boston-area Israeli-American community. Some 15,000 Israelis are estimated to live in Massachusetts, mostly in or around Greater Boston.

The IAC Boston Regional Office will immediately begin to launch community initiatives in keeping with IAC’s mission of building up the Israeli-American community which, in turn can help broaden support for Israel, bolster the Jewish and Israeli identity of the next generation, and engage in outreach to the Jewish-American community at large. The new Regional Office is part of IAC’s national growth, which includes opening local offices in communities throughout the United States to provide community and national-level structure for Israeli-Americans, working together with other organizations to offer support, and through its grant program, providing funding to Israeli-American initiatives throughout the U.S.

Na’ama Ore, the newly appointed IAC Boston Regional Director, brings extensive experience from the non-profit world, most recently working for Clalit, Israel’s largest public health service provider. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Members of the IAC Boston Regional Council, serving as the local board, include Co-Chairs Ilan Segev and Rachel Chafetz, and Phyllis Gottleib, Dr. Avi Almozlino, Sara Aronson, Gil Breiman, Yiftach Wiesel, David Fine, Robert Mayer and Gideon Argov.

“We are thrilled to bring the Israeli-American Council to Boston,” said Rachel Chafetz, IAC Boston Co-Chair. “Our vibrant and dynamic community has long awaited substantial and relevant programming on this scale, and we are excited to connect to the national Israeli-American network.”

A special committee leading the IAC’s growth efforts is chaired by Israeli-American philanthropist Adam Milstein and is comprised of IAC National Chairman, Shawn Evenhaim; IAC Co-founding Chairman, Danny Alpert; IAC CEO, Sagi Balasha; and IAC COO, Miri Belsky.

The IAC currently helps support 30 organizations related to the Israeli-American community in the United States. It also runs a variety of community programming. Among its projects are Celebrate Israel, the largest Jewish festival in North America; Sifriyat Pijama B’America (SP-BA) the largest Hebrew outreach program in North America, reaching 10,000 families every month in partnership with The Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF); IAC BINA, a program for young professional Israeli-Americans and other young Jews, which works to strengthen connections within the community and to Israel; IAC Care, a volunteer community for Israeli and Jewish Americans of all ages in Los Angeles; MISHELANU, a young leadership group on American college campuses where Israeli-Americans come together to strengthen their Jewish and Israeli identities and their ties to Israel; and TZAV 8, which organizes community activists to participate in demonstrations and pro-Israeli activities.

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5,000 spots open for Sifriyat Pijama B’America, the IAC free Hebrew-language children's book program

The popular program will grow to 15,000 for 2014-2015
Los Angeles, CA, The Israel-American Council (IAC) has opened Sifriyat Pijama B’America’s (SP-BA) registration for the 2014-2015 school year. There are now 5,000 spots available for families to join the highly popular free Hebrew-language children’s book program on a first-come, first-served basis.
Due to popular demand, IAC has made a total of 15,000 registrants possible this year with additional funding. SP-BA, a partnership of the IAC, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation, is the Hebrew version of PJ Library and provides free monthly Hebrew children’s books to thousands of Israeli-American families throughout the United States. SP-BA offers Jewish children, ages 2-8, and their families an opportunity to create a tradition of reading stories in Hebrew together and enjoying meaningful conversations on Jewish topics and themes at home. The goal is to foster affinity for and knowledge of Jewish values from a young age while connecting to Israel.
Each year the program grows and increases the number of new families nationwide. Last year 10,000 families benefited from the program. Because of growing demand, IAC has made additional funding possible to support 15,000 families with the program for the coming year. Spots in the popular program fill quickly, so families that register after the 2014-2015 school year capacity fills will be added to a 2015-2016 waitlist.
SP-BA has recently partnered with Storyly, the first online library of children’s Hebrew stories, to offer Israeli parents across the United States a new, fun way to improve their children’s Hebrew language skills while nurturing a love of Israeli culture. As part of the new partnership, IAC offers free Storyly subscriptions to SP-BA members. With Storyly’s pioneering service, children can have dozens of Hebrew books read to them by their parents on the storyly.com or on the iPad; they can also listen to stories as audio e-books, or have the stories read to them by friends or relatives via a VIDEO-CHAT experience, based on Google Hangouts technology. For more information regarding Storyly, please visit: http://www.sp-ba.org/free-storyly-subscription.
More information on registering for free SP-BA books and becoming eligible for a free Storyly subscription can be found at: http://www.sp-ba.org.

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Israeli-American Council (IAC) announces opening of Regional Office in Miami, the first outside of California

Los Angeles, CA, The Los Angeles-based Israeli-American Council (IAC), the largest Israeli-American organization in the Unites States, announced the opening of its first Regional Office in Miami this week to serve the Florida-based Israeli-American community. Some 30,000 Israelis are estimated to live in Florida, mostly in or around Miami.

The IAC Florida Regional Office will immediately begin to launch community building initiatives in keeping with IAC’s mission of building up Israeli-American community which, in turn can help broaden support for Israel, bolster the Jewish and Israeli identity of the next generation, and engage in outreach to the Jewish-American community at large. The new Regional Office is part of IAC’s national growth plan, which includes opening local offices in communities throughout the United States to provide community and national level structure for Israeli-Americans, work together with other organizations to offer support, and through its grant program, provide funding to Israeli-American initiatives throughout the U.S.

Yossi Lahmany, the newly appointed IAC Florida Regional Director brings extensive experience from the non-profit world, most recently as executive director of the Yitzhak Rabin Center. Members of the IAC Florida Regional Council, serving as the local board, include Rani Ben David, chairman and representative to the IAC National Board and community activists Dalia Kalai, Amir Hayun, Ran Regev, and Dr. Neta Peleg Oren.

“The Israeli-American community has been waiting for years for the opportunity to create a network and bring top-tiered programming from coast to coast,” said Mr. Ben David. “We are proud to be the first regional office of the national IAC outside of Los Angeles.”

“The IAC was approached by community leaders, activists and volunteers in Miami, who were willing to donate their time and make financial contributions to form a local IAC Regional Council, in order to build an Israeli-American Community in Miami, bring IAC programs, and support existing activities and programs in their community,” said Shawn Evenhaim, the IAC National Chairman.

A special committee leading the IAC’s growth efforts is chaired by Israeli-American philanthropist Adam Milstein and is comprised of IAC National Chairman, Mr. Evenhaim; IAC Co-founding Chairman, Danny Alpert; IAC CEO, Sagi Balasha; and IAC COO, Miri Belsky.

The IAC currently helps support 30 organizations related to the Israeli-American community in the United States. It also runs a variety of community programming. Among its projects are Celebrate Israel, the largest Jewish festival in North America; Sifriyat Pijama B’America (SP-BA) the largest Hebrew outreach program in North America, reaching 10,000 families every month in partnership with The Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF); IAC BINA, a program for young professional Israeli-Americans and other young Jews, which works to strengthen connections within the community and to Israel; IAC Care, a volunteer community for Israeli and Jewish Americans of all ages in Los Angeles; MISHELANU, a young leadership group on American college campuses where Israeli-Americans come together to strengthen their Jewish and Israeli identities and their ties to Israel; and TZAV 8, which organizes community activists to participate in demonstrations and pro-Israeli activities.


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