President's Message

Elizabeth Raider
President
NA’AMAT USA

 

 

Dear Haverot,

As we start the 2015 new year, I want to thank you for your support and patience during the last year as our national office was making the move from New York and adjusting to California.

Change always brings challenges. We certainly have worked hard and done our best to make the transition as smooth as possible. With new systems in place, we are working more efficiently on all organizational levels. Na’amat USA continues to increase its visibility through a strong public relations approach utilizing our website, Facebook and YouTube as well as the more traditional press releases and e-blasts. Our updated membership software program paves the way for a more sophisticated method of staying in touch with members and non-member online donors With the help of the area offices and coordinators, we have started new clubs in several parts of the country. These clubs embrace a full range of interests and ages — college students, young professionals and retirees — all responsive to the unique message of Na’amat. We will be doing outreach in more communities during the coming year.

A major 2015 event is the Na’amat International Conference in Israel. The 40-member United States delegation will participate in the intensive week-long conference with Na’amat leaders and activists from around the world. Events include meetings with Na’amat Israel department heads, tours of Na’amat facilities — including the groundbreaking ceremony of a new day care center in Beersheva — as well as meeting with Israel government officials. Watch for news on our website (www.naamat.org), Facebook and in the next issue of Na’amat Woman.

Na’amat Israel continues to make its mark on Israeli society as it stands up for women. On International Day for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, November 25, 2014, the organization held two important events.

With the support of the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball team, Na’amat Israel launched a campaign against domestic violence with the slogan “A real man does not raise his hand.” At the Euroleague game with Alba Berlin in Tel Aviv, team members donned uniforms displaying the Na’amat logo and the campaign slogan. (Maccabi won.) The thrust of the campaign is to encourage abusive Israeli men to seek professional help early on. “Most of the men come to Na’amat only after a complaint is made against them to the police or after a legal sanction is imposed on them,” said Na’amat Israel president Galia Wolloch. Na’amat has also made a brief film about domestic violence, which was televised and can be viewed on YouTube.

Another significant event was a special screening of “Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem,” the Israeli feature film documenting the painful five-year process of a woman struggling against her husband and the rabbinical courts to obtain a divorce (“gett” in Hebrew). More than 500 women attended the Jerusalem event, which was co-sponsored by the Israel Bar Association.

After the award-winning film was shown, Wolloch commented: “I often wonder how much gender equality is really worth in the working world or in the public sphere if, at the same time, in issues related to marriage and divorce it is still possible to take away a woman’s independence and turn her into a captive of another person — her own husband…. Judaism is a way of life, and, consequently, the practice of halacha (Jewish law) cannot remain fossilized. With a little more courage and willingness, it will be possible to find solutions that correspond to the spirit of life today and are still within the framework of halacha. Many couples are already voting with their feet and staying away from the religious courts.”

We are all aware that Israel continues to face difficult times, with threats from extremists in a volatile world. The situation makes our support all the more crucial in 2015. Our ongoing financial commitment provides assurance that Na’amat Israel will manage to meet the needs of Israeli citizens at every level of Israeli society.

A major milestone at home during 2015 is the celebration of Na’amat USA’s 90th anniversary, starting in the fall. In honor of this exciting event, Na’amat USA has initiated a Research Fellowship Program, which will showcase our strong connection and history in helping to create, build and sustain the State of Israel.

As we welcome a new decade devoted to supporting our sister organization, Na’amat Israel, the national board is planning special events in cities across the country throughout the year.

My very best wishes to you and your families for a happy, healthy and more peaceful new year.

Elizabeth Raider






Copyright 2014 NA'AMAT USA.