Our Connection to Israel

I am and have always been a proud supporter of Israel. It’s how I was raised and is an essential part of my self-identity. When we were in college, Elise and I spent a year together studying in Israel. Our daughter Joelle also attended Hebrew U and our son Josh is a current student there. Josh was also a tank gunner in the IDF and has worked for three different Cabinet Ministers. One of the many reasons I love working for the Jewish Federation
is because Israel is such a big part of what we do.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how to react to the most recent Israeli election, the subsequent government that has formed, and the policies it is advancing. Like many others, I have found myself struggling between deep sentiments of Israel as our Jewish homeland, worthy of unconditional support, and the pragmatic acknowledgement
that we can’t ignore the politics of the moment. There are people that I love and respect who see no such dichotomy. Personally, I am striving to find a balance between these positions much in the same way that I find balance between my pride in being an American with my feelings towards our own government policies from time to time.

Wanting to express our opinions on current Israeli government policies is natural and comes from a place of caring and fundamental support. We all yearn for Israel to be its best self, whatever we think that might be.

As your Indianapolis Jewish Federation, it is our responsibility to help Israel achieve that goal. To that end, we direct our local dollars to those programs and organizations abroad that reflect our commitment and deepen our partnership. Year after year, our Jewish Federation allocates a significant percentage of its campaign dollars to Israel & Overseas organizations that are working to sustain communities, promote coexistence, and assist new immigrants and other vulnerable people.

The Indianapolis Jewish community is stronger because of our bond with Jews in Israel and around the world. JFGI brings Indy to Israel by visiting our partner cities and providing opportunities for Indianapolis community
members to experience travel firsthand. JFGI promotes this connection year-round and in creative ways highlighted by our work in Israel’s Western Galilee and Budapest through our Partnership2Gether programming.

Through this partnership, the largest of its kind, representatives from each city interact with the other communities both virtually through programs like the popular book club, and face to face when JFGI has hosted delegations
from Hungary and Israel or when we travel abroad. Together, we have participated in activities and discussions that have formed deep and lasting friendships and are ongoing opportunities for international collaboration and connection. If you have not yet experienced this for yourself and wish to do so, please reach out and we will help you find your place.

In that spirit, we are excited to announce that the Federation is partnering with our Jewish agencies, synagogues and organizations to host a big celebration for Israel’s 75th birthday right here on our Max & Mae Simon
Jewish Community Campus on Sunday, April 23. There will be daytime activities in collaboration with Earth Day, surprise visitors from Israel & Overseas, as well as a celebratory reception to honor the Indianapolis
Jewish community’s support for Israel. Find out more on page 7.

There are so many amazing ways to get involved with our Jewish community. Many of them are highlighted in this magazine. Let’s come together and connect because you are what makes our Jewish community thrive.


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