ABOUT AMEINU CANADA
AMEINU, Hebrew for “Our People,” is a national, multi-generational community of progressive Jews in Canada, the United States, Australia and Brazil.
Recognizing the unbreakable bond between the Jewish people and Israel, as well as the commitment to make our own society better, we mobilize those Jews who seek opportunities to foster social and economic justice both in Israel, in Canada and in the United States.
As Zionists, we understand that a secure peace between Israel and its neighbours is essential to the survival of a democratic Jewish state. With this in mind, we build support within the Canadian Jewish community for a negotiated two-state solution.
AMEINU Canada is a progressive voice in the Canadian community.
AMEINU works for a more democratic and inclusive Jewish community. Since our very beginning as Poale Zion and then as the Labour Zionist Alliance, we have prepared future leaders for both the Israeli and the Canadian Jewish communities.
AMEINU guarantees that progressive values and a voice for peace have a seat at the table within the organized Jewish community.
AMEINU provides community
We have a national and online infrastructure to gather like-minded people together. We offer a place - in person and online - for our members to discuss issues, hear speakers, and actively engage in Canadian and Israeli causes that matter to us all.
AMEINU Canada sponsors The Third Narrative to promote peace and an end to the occupation,
while opposing Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions and delegitimization of Israel.
WHY JOIN AMEINU CANADA
Because as liberal Zionists – we are passionate about our (activist and engaged form of progressive) Zionism that advocates for open explorations and understanding of the issues that the State of Israel faces and creates space for open, honest and critical conversations about Israel, the occupation, settlements, human rights violations and political folly, finding ways to create a shared society with the Palestinians, our Zionist and Jewish institutions and more.
Because as members of Ameinu Canada we feel we have a responsibility to speak up, ask questions and strive for a more nuanced understanding of the social and political context of Canada and the State of Israel
Because we feel it is important to create safe spaces where people can voice their reservations, concerns and ask questions about complex issues connected to Israel and the Jewish community without being shamed or ostracized
Because we feel it is essential to support our younger generations (both inside Habonim Dror and outside of it, on campus and off and in the years following) as they wrestle with these issues and find their own ways of identifying with their Judaism in Canada and in Israel
Because we are not prepared to let go of a dream that holds so much potential and promise
Because we believe in self-realization/hagshama ishit in Israel – it just looks a little different in 2020 than it did in 1970
Because as a member of Ameinu Canada, you are helping to ensure that a progressive Zionist voice and perspective is heard in Canada on the CZF Board, amongst social democrats in Canada, and in Israel.
Because it is easy – click here and become a member - by doing so help us sustain our representation as voting members of the CZF and our delegate status to the October 2020 World Zionist Congress.
How Ameinu began in Canada
Inspired by the activities and activism of our colleagues in the United States to advocate for progressive Zionism, Ameinu Canada became a member of the Canadian Zionist Federation (CZF). More than 300 people declared their support for the creation of Ameinu Canada in August 2015 and we were granted delegate status at the 2015 World Zionist Congress by the CZF Board. With leadership and friends across Canada, Ameinu Canada has led its efforts out of Metro Vancouver and British Columbia.
Four and a half years after we launched, Ameinu Canada is holding a membership campaign in order to maintain our status as delegates to the World Zionist Congress and as executive members of the CZF. David Berson, Chair of Ameinu Canada, also serves as the VP for Western Canada on the CZF Board and is a member of the World Zionist Organization’s Zionist General Council - “Va’ad Hapoel Hatzioni”- which convenes annually between Zionist Congresses.
Ameinu activities in Canada
Ameinu Canada kicked off it’s organized activity in Canada by holding its first public meeting in February 2016 on the occasion of Ameinu President Kenneth Bob’s visit to Metro Vancouver. Since then, Ameinu Canada has hosted parlour meetings, sponsored educational events, cosponsored seminars with partners and publicized all of these activities accordingly. These activities have taken place in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Victoria with the goal of bringing people together to discuss the current state of affairs in Israel, the USA and Canada.
Ameinu Canada has cosponsored events with JSpaceCanada, ARZA, New Israel Fund of Canada, Or Shalom Synagogue, Temple Sholom, Canadian Friends of Peace Now, and other organizations keen on advancing a liberal Zionist agenda.
Ameinu Canada maintains a warm, supportive relationship with Habonim Dror in Canada, and specifically with their two summer camps, Camp Miriam in the Province of British Columbia and Camp Gesher in the Province of Ontario. As an example of our support, for three consecutive summers David Berson has led seminars at Camp Miriam for its leadership in training cadre on progressive Zionism exploring ways to understand and explain the nuances and complexities of the being a liberal Zionist.
Ameinu Canada also maintains a Facebook page and has translated The Third Narrative booklet into French (thanks to Bernard Bohbot)
Ameinu activities on campus
We have engaged in the education and training of campus activists primarily at UBC by providing resource materials to help students explain what progressive Zionist stands for. We have hosted training sessions with guests from JStreetU and Ameinu USA and appeared on panels to explain Ameinu’s view on the settlements, the occupation and shared society. We have also helped equip university students and faculty to deal with BDS campaigns using the Third Narrative and Ameinu’s Knowledge Centre as resources. We have invited special guests from Israel such as Dror Israel, Project Rozana and IsraAid to share different sides of humanitarian shared society work taking place in Israel and Palestine. Finally, we have served as a resource to Hillel BC in engaging with progressive Jews searching for answers around the future of Israel and Palestine. In October 2017, with the support of the Jewish Federation Greater Vancouver, Ameinu Canada invited 4 students from UBC’s Progressive Jewish Alliance to Toronto for JSpaceCanada’s conference where they could connect with other likeminded young people.
Ameinu Canada and Shared Society
We have helped advance Project Rozana, an Israeli-Palestinian cross border healthcare initiative by introducing BC NDP MPs and CIJA leadership to Project Rozana’s board member Former Canadian Ambassador to Israel, Jon Allen. We have convened and facilitated a parlour meeting for community members with Project Rozana World Chair Ron Finkel. As a representative of Ameinu Canada, David Berson participated in Project Rozana board reception in Jerusalem.
Ameinu Canada and the CZF
As a member of the CZF board, David Berson has promoted the activities of the CZF and the WZO by sharing the plethora of solid educational programs that they offer to Diaspora communities by facilitating meetings with leadership personalities visiting Western Canada. At his initiative David created the Metro Vancouver Zionist Roundtable, an informal gathering where all members of the World Zionist Congress – from the world organizations like Arza, Mizrachi, Mercaz, the national bodies like JNF and Keren Hayesod, and the women’s organizations like Na’amat Canada and Canadian Hadassah WIZO (CHW) are invited to sit around the same table and discuss issues of importance to Israel as members of the WZO.
Ameinu Canada’s organization
Ameinu Canada’s energies have been focused on outreach and organizing activities many of which have been driven and led by our core cadre. We are in the process of finalizing our constitution and formalizing our leadership and steering committee. We are open to our members’ ideas and input and thank you for your patience and understanding.
Ameinu Canada’s membership campaign cabinet:
Bernard Bohbot, Montreal
Sophie Hershfield, Winnipeg
Idan Sulimani, Vancouver
Ruthi Wicks, Victoria
In order to maintain our seat at the CZF table and to continue to be a member of the Zionist Working Council where our Chair, David Berson and others can speak up on behalf of Ameinu in Canada, the USA and in Israel we need to stand up and be counted.
Please take a moment to join Ameinu Canada. Help us continue to make our voices heard and to advocate for resources to keep our liberal Zionist youth movements in Canada like Habonim Dror alive and vital.
Membership in Ameinu Canada is a contribution and is not tax deductible.
Funds collected through this membership campaign will be directed to broadening our reach in Canada by supporting youth and young adult leadership development and other outreach educational activities in conjunction with Habonim Dror, Dror Israel and others in Canada.
David Berson, Chair, Ameinu Canada