A Momentous Milestone
Israel at 75 and the World Orthodox Israel Congress
As the Jewish people celebrate Israel’s 75th birthday, World Mizrachi is marking this momentous time in history in a remarkable way – with four packed days of commemoration, celebration, and a unique global congress of Religious Zionist leaders. This Yom HaAtzmaut, hundreds of participants from over 40 countries will gather in Yerushalayim for these remarkable events. “Israel’s 75th anniversary is a unique moment in history, and we are excited to both celebrate this historic milestone as well as collectively plan for the future together in Yerushalayim with our global Religious Zionist leadership,” said Rabbi Doron Perez, Executive Chairman of the World Mizrachi movement.
World Mizrachi has marked previous milestones, such as the 50th Yom Yerushalayim in 2017 and the 70th Yom HaAtzmaut in 2018, by bringing hundreds of Jews from around the world to Yerushalayim to experience these powerful moments firsthand in the Jewish state. For Israel’s 75th anniversary, World Mizrachi is going one step further, organizing events to mark both Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut, as well as a unique and unprecedented gathering, the World Orthodox Israel Congress. Delegates to this Congress will represent hundreds of Jewish organizations, from 250 cities in over 40 countries. The delegates will remember Israel’s past, celebrate Israel’s present, and then discuss and plan for Israel and the Jewish people’s future.
During Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut, participants will experience the full rollercoaster of emotions that these days evoke. Yom HaZikaron events will include hearing from the “Mothers of the Nation,” including Rabbanit Rachelle Fraenkel and Miriam Peretz. Together with tens of thousands of Israelis, they will visit Mount Herzl on Israel’s most solemn day. And as Israel moves from mourning to joy, participants will take part in a joyous tefillah chagigit, a celebratory concert with Ishay Ribo and the IDF Rabbinical Choir, and tiyulim in the Jerusalem area.
As the Yom HaAtzmaut celebrations come to a close, World Mizrachi will kick off the World Orthodox Israel Congress. The Congress will be a unique gathering of Jewish leaders from around the world, providing a springboard for future collaboration and leadership across the Jewish community. The range of delegates is unprecedented. From a headteacher in Belgium to a lay leader from Montreal, from shlichim in Australia to community heads from Buenos Aires, hundreds of Jewish organizations will be represented at the Congress.
The Congress will address a full gamut of modern issues, including women’s leadership, the future of Jewish education, the rise of global antisemitism, Jewish identity challenges on campus, and the shidduch crisis. Moderators and experts will also discuss the proposed judicial reforms, the nation-wide protests, and the implications of the current crisis for the future of Israel.
“Beyond the tremendous caliber of the delegates and the outstanding content of the sessions, what excites me most about the Congress is the way it is laying the groundwork for long-term, practical global partnerships. One example of this is the Shagririm BaLev shidduchim project,” said Rabbi Danny Mirvis, Deputy CEO of World Mizrachi. World Mizrachi are full partners of the Shagririm BaLev program, an innovative shidduchim platform that has already helped almost 150 couples find their soulmates in Israel. At the Congress, World Mizrachi will launch this program globally, helping Jews from all over the world connect with each other and meet their soulmate. “Shagririm BaLev, with constantly growing success in Israel, is well positioned to scale, and will be strengthened and powered by our global network. This is just one example of the immense potential for good that can come through coming together as a global Religious Zionist community.”
Two landmark books will also be launched at the Congress. Rabbi Doron Perez, Executive Chairman of the World Mizrachi movement, has published a timely work entitled “The Jewish State: From Opposition to Opportunity” (an excerpt from the book as well a book review are included in this edition of HaMizrachi). This work grapples with the contemporary issues facing Israel, providing a framework for understanding the rise of anti-Zionism and embracing Israel’s most salient opportunity – creating a unified Jewish society for the benefit of Jewish destiny and future of humanity more broadly.
Additionally, World Mizrachi has partnered with the OU Press in publishing previously unpublished and untranslated derashot of Rav Soloveitchik on the State of Israel and Zionism. Delivered at Mizrachi conferences from the late 1930s through the 1950s, these powerful derashot remain timely and relevant, and serve as fresh inspiration to Religious Zionists around the world.
The Congress will also bring community representatives together with young Religious Zionist educators preparing for shlichut overseas. “World Mizrachi runs five leadership programs with over 100 participants, training Religious Zionist leaders and teachers to go out into the world. The Congress will provide an opportunity for communities around the world to meet these developing leaders,” said Rabbi Hillel Van-Leeuwen, the head of Mizrachi’s Leadership Programs.
The Congress will also be a unique opportunity to create a global Jewish conversation between communities around the world, including lay leaders and rabbis, together with members of Israel’s Knesset and National Institutions. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Israel together in Yerushalayim, we will remember, celebrate and work together to build the next 75 years!