Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Happy Passover from AFYBA. 75 Years Training Israel's Future

On behalf of our 24,000 students, we want to thank you for supporting the YBA Educational Network in Israel, and we wish you and your loved ones a joyous Passover holiday.

Our 82,000 graduates can be found in leadership positions in every facet of Israeli society, actively contributing to the security and development of Israel as the cherished homeland of the entire Jewish People.

Click here to learn more about YBA or to make a donation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

YBA student elected Youth Council Chairman in Haifa

Eitan Suissa
Last week Eitan Suissa, a 12th grade student at YBA Yavneh in Haifa, was elected by the representatives of 35 municipal high schools in Haifa, to chair the Municipal Youth Council. The snap election was called for when the previously elected chairman suddenly resigned his post. Eitan had been serving as the Youth Council's spokesperson until being drafted by his peers to the chairman position.

Eitan's election comes just weeks after another YBA student, Talia Matzri, was elected to the chairmanship of the Petach Tikvah Youth Council. (See related story.)

"Three years ago I came to the Haifa Youth Council as the representative of my school with a desire to serve and faith that we, the city's youth, can be a driving force for change in the city," Eitan said upon accepting the chairmanship. "We have been privileged to represent, advocate for and provide for the needs of our city's youth. I plan to lead a policy of strengthening the unity and affinity between the various interest groups in the city, out of a faith that the only way for the future is through cooperation."

YBA Yavneh, Haifa Campus
By virtue of his position, Eitan will sit on the Haifa City Council as representative of the Municipal Youth Council. "It is a challenge for any 12th grader to make time in his busy schedule for such a heavy responsibility, but I'm sure that Eitan is up to the task," said the Rosh Yeshiva of YBA Yavneh, Rabbi Yoram Shamir.

YBA Yavneh joined the Yeshivot Bnei Akiva educational network in 2008, at the request of the parent's committee after years of slipping enrollment and academic achievement. Approximately one third of the students require scholarship assistance due to financial need. Since joining the network the school has upgraded its secular and Judaic studies programs, and now serves over 300 students, with graduating classes achieving a matriculation rate of over 86%.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Yeshivat Hesder Hagolan launches Capital Campaign for campus expansion

Yeshivat Hagolan was founded in 1972 as the fourth Hesder yeshiva during the War of Attrition on the Golan Heights. The yeshiva was evacuated from its temporary quarters at Moshav Ramat Magshimim on the first day of the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Today the yeshiva’s library houses a memorial to the yeshiva’s 13 students who have fallen in the line of duty, including three of the original students who were murdered in a terror attack on the yeshiva in 1975.

Yeshivat Hagolan has played a vital part in increasing the population of the Golan Heights. Over 300 graduates have made their homes in the region upon completion of their studies. 70% of the rabbis and educators in the Golan Heights are Yeshivat Hagolan graduates and many others have assumed leading roles in the region as businessmen, directors, and farmers.

Golan Schwartz, Yeshivat Hagolan's new Director of Development was recently in New York, Columbus and Chicago to meet with YBA supporters. He explained the school's need for a capital campaign: "The yeshiva has outgrown its original Beit Midrash and student residence buildings built over 30 years ago. We plan to construct a new modern Beit Midrash building at the entrance of the campus, and to reallocate the present structure as a multipurpose facility use for our community outreach projects." 

Over 1,200 graduates of Yeshivat Hagolan serve in positions of leadership in every field of endeavor throughout the country. The yeshiva has produced many Torah scholars who have gone on to serve as rabbis and educators in communities in Israel and the entire world.

Planned new Beit Midrash building at Yeshivat Hesder Hagolan

Monday, March 23, 2015

YBA Orot Yehuda Campus Construction Progressing

Sandy Herskowitz withYBA Orot Yehuda  Rosh Yeshiva,
Rabbi Shlomo Kimche, at construction site in Efrat
Sandy Herskowitz from New York visited Efrat last week to see the progress in construction of the YBA Orot Yehuda campus there. The school's Department of Judaic Studies was dedicated at last years' dinner by Sandy & Boondi Herskowitz and Shari & Maurice Gluckstadt, in memory of their parents, AFYBA Founder Marvin and Renee Herskowitz z"l.

YBA Orot Yehuda, which joined the YBA network in 2012, serves over 150 students in its overcrowded temporary quarters today. When the new school building opens next September, there will be ample room for over twice as many students. The school has earned a reputation for excellence over the years, and draws students not only from Efrat and the surrounding Gush Etzion settlements, but even from Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and Kiryat Arba.

Exterior view of the construction site, March 2015

Interior view of the classroom building central atrium stairway, March 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Nine YBA Alumni Elected to the 20th Knesset

YBA schools have been training leaders for Israeli society for the past 75 years, including a long list of former Members of Knesset, Israel's parliament.

AFYBA proudly congratulates the nine YBA graduates who were recently elected to serve as Members of the 20th Israeli Knesset. They are:

 MK Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Yavne, Haifa
Maj. (Res.) Naftali Bennett (42) was elected to the 19th Knesset as the head of the Habayit Hayehudi party. A former successful high tech entrepreneur, he served as the Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister's office, and as CEO of the Yesha Council, where he led the struggle against the constructions freeze in Yesha settlements. He served as the Economic Minister in he 19th Knesset.

MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Netiv Meir, Jerusalem
Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (60) is a captain in the IDF reserves and holds a Masters degree from the Hebrew University’s School of Public Policy Managers Program. In 1989, he was appointed as director of the Rabbinical Courts, where he led a revolution in the administration and organization of the entire Rabbinical Court system; he fought on behalf of women's rights and to make the divorce process more efficient and championed the introduction of female advocates (To’enet Rabanit) into the Rabbinical Court System. He served as Deputy Minister for Religious Services in the 19th Knesset.

MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Nachlat Yitzchak, Nechalim
Nissan Slomiansky (68) previously served as an MK from the National Religious Party (NRP) from the 14th through the 17th Knesset, and in 2011 was appointed Vice President of the Lander Institute. He was the first secretary-general of the Gush Emunim settlement movement and founded the settlement Elkana, serving as its mayor for 21 years. He served as the Chairman of the Knesset Allocations Committee in the 19th Knesset.

MK Maj. Gen. (Res.) Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi), YBA Kfar Haroeh, Kfar Haroeh
Moti Yogev (59) served as the commander of the "Malgan" commando unit of the IDF Paratroopers Brigade and holds a Master's degree in political science from Haifa University. He formerly served as the Secretary General of the Bnei Akiva Youth Movement in Israel, CEO of the Old City Jewish Quarter Development Authority and most recently, Deputy Mayor of the Binyamin Regional Council.

MK Gilad Erdan (Likud), YBA Netiv Meir, Jerusalem
Gilad Erdan (45) attained the rank of Captain during his military service in the IDF and holds a degree in Law from Bar-Ilan University. Becoming involved in politics, Erdan worked as an advisor to Prime Ministers Binyamin Netanyahu, and Ariel Sharon. He was first elected to the Knesset in 2003 and served in the 19th Knesset  as Minister of Internal Affairs. He formerly held the posts of Minister of Environmental ProtectionMinister of Communications and Home Front Defense Minister.

MK Yisrael Katz, YBA Or Etzion, Merkaz Shapira
Yisrael Katz (59) earned a BA and MA at the Hebrew University. He first entered the Knesset in November 1998 as a replacement for Ehud Olmert. He was appointed Minister of Agriculture in 2003 and has served as Israel's Minister of Transportation since 2009, leading the vast infrastructure improvements in Israel's intercity highway and railroad systems.

MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), YBA Ulpanat Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv
Tzipi Hotovely (37) completed her Bachelor's and Master's degrees at Bar-Ilan University. In 2006, she joined the panel of the political discussion program Moetzet HaHahamim (Council of the Wise), where she represented the right-wing on the panel, and started writing opinion pieces for the Maariv newspaper. When first elected at the age of 30 in 2009, she was the Knesset's youngest member. She serves as the head of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and in the 19th Knesset served as Deputy MInister of Transportation.

MK Yaron Mazuz (Likud), YBA Pirchei Aharon, Kiryat Shmuel
Yaron Mazuz (53) has been active in the Likud party for 25 years and a social activist for underprivileged populations in the Haifa, Krayot, Acre and Nahariya area. Mazuz was elected to Kiryat Bialik City Council in 2008, and served as the city's Deputy Mayor.

MK Rabbi Shai Piron (Yesh Atid), YBA Aderet, Bat Yam
Raised in a non-observant family, Rabbi Shai Piron (56) chose to enroll in YBA Aderet for high school and has gone on to become a leading rabbi and educator. In 1995 he became the head of UBA Yeshurun in Petach Tikvah, and under his leadership the school won every educational award possible. He co-founded and serves as a Rosh Yeshiva at the Hesder yeshiva in Petach Tikvah, and helped to establish the "Tzohar" rabbinic society which runs numerous projects to foster harmony between the religious and secular. He served as the rabbi of Oranit and the CEO of "Hakol L'Chinuch," an organization that works to improve state education until entering the 19th Knesset, where he served as Minister of Education.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

HOT AND MODEST FASHION - Kosher or Oxymoron?

Sde Bar Fashion’s
Avitan, Cohen and Elbaz
(photo: Studio Nehora)
YBA Alumni Profiles: ‘Necessity is the Mother of Invention’ at the Mother of all Ulpanot, UBA Kfar Pines

There are those who will claim that designing fashionable frocks for religious women is somewhat akin to trying to prepare fine French cuisine while adhering to the laws of Kosher - it just can't be done. But there is a growing number of young religious designers who are making the restrictions of modesty increasingly irrelevant.

The Sde Bar Fashion brand has been popular among girls in the religious Zionist sector for almost five years now. The brand has its own retail store on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem and is available at a handful of fashion boutiques around the country. 

But its collection is mainly marketed through Tupperware-style fashion parties hosted by women in communities with large religious populations, or through direct orders from the brand’s Facebook page. Over 4,500 Friends on Facebook flood the company with requests to host sales parties all over the country, and with fashion questions on the latest styles and trends.

The brand was founded in 2010 by Ariella Avitan from Moshav Nir Galim near Ashdod, Adi Cohen from the settlement of Beit El and Shuli Elbaz, who lives in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City. The three 24 year-old entrepreneurs have been girlfriends since they met in high school at UBA Ramat Karniel at Moshav Kfar Pines.  The school was the first residential Bnei Akiva Ulpana high school for girls, founded in 1960, and is considered the prototype “Mother of all Ulpanot” in Israel. Today the school continues to maintain its reputation as one of the finest schools in the country, serving over 450 girls from all parts of Israel in grades 9-12.

(photo: Studio Nehora)
"Usually secular designers don’t think about modesty," says Avitan. "I remember once the three of us went shopping before one holiday to buy a nice new outfit - but the fashion stores had nothing that would meet our requirements for modesty: cover the knees, elbows, not too exposed, or too tight. So we started to make clothes for ourselves with the school’s sewing machine in our free time. Very quickly we started selling outfits to the other girls at the Ulpana as well."

The Sde Bar collection is a romantic-rustic style that hits the spot for a large part of the young religious population in Israel. The outfits have been seen on Yifat, the religious graphic designer character on the “Srugim" TV series and on Anhal Shmueli (Shoshi), from the “Race to the Million" reality show. Pastel romantic dresses with lace lines sprouting from the cleavage, and a layered appearance of a jumper over a three quarter length shirt sleeve.

"Fashion is part of our culture, but while a religious style has already been defined in Israeli music, culture and film – I feel that there is no defined religious style in fashion," says Avitan. "At Sde Bar we are trying to create fashion that is influenced by our way of life. We produce one collection per season, but I'm always surprised to find that women in each sub-segment acquire the things that fit their particular style. For example, girls from religious kibbutzim choose other colors than girls from Ra’anana. Even the way they layer their clothing differs; our line appears as if we sewed the garments especially for them. In Nir Galim the women buy a lot of Aladdin-style baggy pants, something the women in Jerusalem will not buy. "

(photo: Studio Nehora)
Adi Cohen adds: “Today religious girls have created a fashion which consists of mixing styles. In our mothers’ generation girls had to wear one layer on top of another to be modest. There just was no supply of fashionable clothes for religious women. Our generation has rebelled against that - we want to wear something designed especially for us."

Although the three owners/designers define Sde Bar as a brand dedicated to the religious niche, they are also targeting secular women. The collection includes several items that would not be considered within the accepted bounds of modesty required by religious women; for example, sleeveless dresses with cleavage, or wide necklines.  "It’s difficult to produce a modest garment without compromises in the necklines and sleeves and be beautiful at the same time," says Shuli Elbaz. "As a brand, we have to produce a variety of garments to appeal to a wide audience of women. We bring a special kind of look; romantic, softer, more feminine."

Sde Bar Fashion will participate in this month’s "Pomp and Circumstance Dressed" Fashion Fair aimed at women of the religious community (March 11-13 at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, March 20-23 at the Wohl Auditorium at Bar Ilan University, and March 23-24 at the Kastera Shopping Center in Haifa).

Portions of this article were originally published in Hebrew on xnet.ynet.co.il.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

YBA Alumna Profile: Neta Ariel, Woman of the Year

Neta Ariel (Kolnoa)
Neta Ariel,  Director of the Ma'aleh Film school and a graduate of Ulpanat Bnei Akiva (UBA) Segula in Kiryat Motzkin, was recently chosen as the 'Woman of the Year' by the Emunah Womens' Organization in Israel. Ma'aleh is the only film school in the world that trains filmmakers from the standpoint of Jewish tradition. The school's graduates have won numerous artistic and technical accolades, both in Israel and abroad.

After completing her IDF service in the framework of a "Garin Nachal" at Kibbutz Yavne, Neta went on to receive a BA in political science and theater studies at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. She also studied Communications at Hebrew University and Directing and Producing through the Open University.

Neta began her career as an investigative reporter for the Israel Broadcast Authority Channel 1 News. Later, she founded, edited and wrote for the "Gushpanka" regional journal of Gush Etzion, and wrote and published a children's book: The Gift Child (Yediot Ahronot).

At the award ceremony held on International Women's Day (March 1), Emunah's chairwoman, Leora Minka, said of Neta, "You are a ground breaker. For a long time religious Zionists were under-represented in the arts and culture in Israel. But thanks to your work at Ma'aleh, all that is changing. We are seeing the fruits of your labor in the television and film productions by Ma'aleh graduates. We now see that it is possible to take an active creative role in the cultural life of Israel and still remain true to our Torah values."

Neta Ariel started working at Ma'aleh in 1995 as assistant director and academic director, and has been serving as Ma'aleh's director since 2001. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Training Israel's Future: How to Save a Life

Purim is usually associated with levity, silly costumes and partying. But for the girls at UBA Chen Bamidbar in Beer Sheva, the holiday this year was an opportunity to demonstrate their LEADERSHIP and SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY, to raise over 40,000 shekels ($10,000) for 11-year old Ayala Shapira, a young victim of terror.

Terror Victim Ayala Shapira
Ayala was severely burned when a molotov cocktail (fire bomb) struck the car she was riding in with her father on December 25, 2014. Doctors succeeded in saving her life, but she is still facing many more months of rehabilitation and painful skin graft operations.

"About 3,000 people came out for the Purim carnival our students planned to benefit Ayala," said Rosh Ulpana, Rabbi Yoni Samuel. "It shows that people are thirsting for opportunities to do Chesed!" The ulpana campus was converted into a festive marketplace for the carnival, with local merchants and pizza parlors donating their wares, which added greatly to the event's profits. 

UBA Chen Bamidbar was founded in 1999 and serves about 550 girls in grades 7-12. While over half the school's students come from low income families and receive tuition reductions accordingly, over 80% complete full matriculation each year, paving the way to higher education and a better future.

Read more about Ayala Shapira
Top left: Netanya mayor, Miriam Fireberg with YBA Yad Avraham boys;
Bottom: Emily Schwartzman

In a similar story, the students of YBA Yad Avraham in Netanya last month succeeded in raising over 20,000 shekels ($5,000) in one night on behalf of Emily Schwartzman, a three and a half year old girl living in the city who is in need of a life-saving medical procedure in the US. 

In this instance, the students made an appeal for contributions over the PA system at the Netanya Stadium during a soccer match between Maccabi Netanya and Beitar Jerusalem, then spread out in the stands to “pass the hat” among the fans to donate their pocket change. Netanya Mayor Miriam Fireberg congratulated the boys for their initiative after the game.

YBA Yad Avraham was founded in 1960 and serves about 500 boys in grades 7-12. Over 88% complete full matriculation each year, and 100% serve in IDF combat units. Many of the school's alumni are leaders in their fields, including:
  • Prof. Yitzchak Kraus, President of Herzog College of Education
  • Rabbi Baruch Weider, Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshivat Hesder Hakotel
  • Rabbi Yossi Stern, Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshivat Hesder Akko
  • Elad Tshuva, Deputy Chairman of Delek Group
  • Yisrael Fried, CEO, Galei Zahal Radio
  • Yair Orbach, Stand-up Comedian
YBA Yad Avraham campus in Netanya
YBA: Training Israel's Future.

Monday, March 9, 2015

YBA student film 'Midnight' wins prestigious award

The 18th Annual Student Film Competition was held in February at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. High school students from all across the country majoring in communications
YBA Kiryat Herzog Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Moshe Zvi Wexler
with student film makers at awards ceremony
and film making are invited each year to submit their original works to the prestigious competition. 

This year, a group of students from YBA Kiryat Herzog in Bnei Brak won first prize in the fictional film category, for their comic short film, Midnight. In the film, a teenager and his friend "borrow" his mother's car and get stopped by the police just minutes before his driver's license is about to go into effect. Can they manage to delay the cop from giving him a ticket until after midnight?

View the 10-minute film (in Hebrew)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

YBA Hashomron ranked No. 1 in Land of Israel Studies

YBA Hashomron campus in Karnei Shomron
YBA Hashomron in Karnei Shomron was awarded the Ministry of Education's 2015 Zeevi Prize for Excellence in Land of Israel Studies. The award is named for Rehavam Zeevi, a former general in the IDF, MK and Minister, and an avid enthusiast of Land of Israel studies. Zeevi was assassinated in 2001 by terrorists in Jerusalem.

Prof. Simcha Goldin, whose son, Lt. Hadar Goldin, fell in battle during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge, delivered the keynote address at the ceremony that took placed at the Land of Israel Museum in Tel Aviv.

YBA Hashomron was founded over 30 years ago and now serves over 500 boys in grades 7 through 12 from Karnei Shomron and the other settlements in the area. The school has both residential and non-residential tracks, with the residential track utilizing the extra hours in the evening to put a greater emphasis on Talmud study. The school is very popular because of its warm and family-like atmosphere, and because of the many study options it offers its students. 84% of the graduates on average earn full matriculation certificates, and 90% enroll in Hesder Yeshivot or Mechina Programs before enlisting in the IDF.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Talia Matzri elected chair of Petach Tikvah Youth Council

Talia Matzri
Talia Matzri, a 12th grade student at UBA Yeshurun in Petach Tikvah, was elected by 30 of her peers, representatives of all the secular and religious high schools in the city, to chair the municipality’s Youth Council.

Talia's election to a leadership position doesn't come as a surprise to her Rosh Ulpana, Rabbi Yaniv Cohen. "We set for ourselves a goal to give our students all the tools they need to develop personal excellence and leadership in every field, academically, spiritually, ethically and socially."

Petach Tikvah Mayor Itzik Braverman congratulated Talia saying, “Your work with the Youth Council is important, not only for the sake of our city’s youth, but also to ensure that they continue to be involved in social projects that improve our community and Israeli society.”

Ulpanat Yeshurun is the largest high school in the YBA network, with over 1,400 students. "Our students come from every ethnic group and social strata in Israeli society," says Rabbi Cohen. "We stress the Jewish and human values of accepting the other, mutual respect and social strength through diversity. We educate our girls to give of themselves, and they derive power and self awareness through their giving to others."

Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Yeshurun campus, Petach Tikvah

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Rabbi Haim Drukman honored by Bar Ilan University

From left: Prof. Shmuel Vargon, Rabbi Haim Drukman
and Rabbi Noam Perl (photo: Yoni Hamenachem)
Rabbi Haim Drukman, Chairman of the YBA Educational Network in Israel and Rosh Yeshiva of the YBA Or Etzion Hesder Yeshiva was one of five distinguished Israelis to be awarded the Brookdale Prize for Exceptional Contribution to Israeli Society by Bar Ilan University. He was awarded the prize “for his many years of activity for the advancement of Torah education, and for his multi-faceted contributions to Israeli Society.” 

Rabbi Drukman is an Israel Prize Laureate (2012) for Lifetime Achievement. He is one of the most senior and well-respected leaders of the religious Zionist population in Israel. He founded and still heads a number of important institutions, including YBA Or Etzion yeshiva high school, Or Etzion IDF military cadet high school, Or Etzion Hesder Yeshiva, Mechinat Or MeOfir for Ethiopian Olim, AMI Conversion Institute, and Mechina of the Northern Negev. In addition, as the former head of the Prime Minister's Office Conversion Authority, he has personally signed off on over 50,000 conversions in Israel, and as chairman of the YBA Educational Network in Israel, he is the spiritual leader of our 24,000 students. 

The award was presented by Prof. Shmuel Vargon, of the Zalman Shamir Bible Dept. of BIU, and Rabbi Noam Perl, the Secretary General of the Bnei Akiva Worldwide Youth Movement, Rabbi Perl was Rabbi Drukman's student at YBA Or Etzion, and went on to found and head the YBA Sussya Yeshiva High School for Environmental Studies.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

ZOA and AFYBA Present Gloria Greenfield’s ‘Body and Soul’

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and AFYBA presented the new documentary film “Body and Soul” on February 24 at the Cedar Theatre in Teaneck, NJ to a packed house of 150 people.

From left: AFYBA Associate Director Natalie Sopinsky, a fan,
and "Body and Soul" Director Gloria Greenfield
The screening was preceded by a sushi dinner reception sponsored by select donors, where the crowd mingled with director Gloria Greenfield, NJ ZOA Executive Director, Laura Fein, and AFYBA Associate Director, Natalie Sopinsky.

Before the film, Ms. Fein gave a talk about the mission and work of ZOA in America, explaining the struggles on today’s college campuses in defending Israel. Natalie was welcomed onto the stage where she explained her aliyah story and the importance of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva educational network and how it has transformed the landscape in Israel, and continues to train Israel’s future leaders. Ms. Greenfield’s then took the stage to present the film and the worldwide tour for it.

The film is a studious documentary of the Jewish history in Israel. It features well-known Jewish scholars and defenders of Israel such as Ruth Weiss, Alan Dershowitz, and Rabbi Jonathan Sachs. The various scholars in the film detail the continuous Jewish presence in Israel, and follows the Jews throughout the exile, explaining that all other people are defeated, but only the Jews never used this term….only the Jews were “exiled” and maintained their peoplehood.

The movie is making a purposeful international circuit and is being translated into 9 foreign languages. It is set to be shown at universities, churches, community centers and governments throughout the world.

After the hour and a half film, an intense Q&A session took place in which the main focus was “how do we strengthen America’s Jews?” Afterwards, the crowd gathered in the lobby for conversation with the hosts, where t-shirts and DVDs of the movie were available for purchase.

AFYBA Hosts Book Launch for Tuvia Tenenbom' "Catch the Jew!"

Tuvia Tenenbom
The Book Launch Party on Feb. 23rd hosted by American Friends of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva (AFYBA) for Best-selling Israeli author Tuvia Tenenbom’s “Catch the Jew” brought out 60 people on a bitter cold night in NYC. 
Among the guests were Congressional candidate from the 12th district Nick Di’Iorio, Media Consultant Shira Dicker, Wall Street Journal reporter Gregory Zuckerman and The Times of Israel’s Simone Dinah Hartmann.

Alan Wildes
Alan Wildes, past President of AFYBA and YBA Hakotel Alumnus, took the floor with an introduction of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva and the accomplishments of the network, dropping big names of outstanding alumni while highlighting the strong presence of the YBA network in Israel. Ken Abramowitz, Advisory Committee member for AFYBA and President of American Friends of Likud, spoke about the threats against Europe today in his pitch to “save the west” which he writes about on his SavetheWest blog.

Before Tuvia took the floor, Allan Leicht, a playwright and AFYBA Board Member, did a beautiful job reading a chapter from Catch the Jew that described Itamar, Jewish tour guide that Tuvia met at Yad Vashem, who compared the IDF to the Nazi regime. Everyone in the room was speechless.

Tuvia then took the room by storm as he recounted his experiences in Israel, describing the “old” Israel with two peoples, Arabs and Jews and his surprise at discovering the “new” Israel, with Arabs, Jews and Europeans. “Catch the Jew is EXACTLY what these Europeans are trying to do," he said. "and they are succeeding. They try to Catch the Jew in a bad act against the Arabs." Tuvia broke it down for us – it’s all a set-up. “You didn’t see any action today? Let me call you….maybe tomorrow? I’ll bet there will be something to photograph and write about tomorrow….come by at around 3.” 

There were many questions from the audience and lively discussion as Tuvia expertly fielded comments. Security Assessment Chief of One Israel Fund, Marc Provisor from Shilo jumped in as well to explain the facts on the ground. "There is a serious game being played in Israel and American Jewry needs to wake up." 

AFYBA will be taking “Catch the Jew” on the road. Future events will be announced shortly. For bookings, contact: Natalie.afyba@gmail.com