Philadelphia Advocacy and Information Organization Founded
-- Deborah Beck
The newest organization on the Philadelphia / South Jersey Jewish scene is also one of the oldest. Ameinu (which means "our people" in Hebrew) was established in 2004 as the successor organization to the Labor Zionist Alliance (itself the merger of two older organizations with deep roots in the city, the Farband and the Poale Zion). Ameinu envisions Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, at peace with its neighbors, committed to religious pluralism and social and economic justice for all its citizens. Ameinu's political agenda addresses a range of domestic and international issues, including protection of the environment, support for universal healthcare, preservation of civil liberties, and the ending of foreign and domestic sweatshops?. Ameinu supports efforts to end the Middle East conflict with a negotiated peace with the Palestinians and the Arab States.
Ameinu views itself as a liberal, progressive alternative to clearly right- or left-wing advocacy groups; it sees a liberal approach as the best way to promote peace, social justice, and a fair resolution to the crisis in the Middle East while standing strongly behind Israel. It works toward this goal both in Israel and the United States. In Israel, Ameinu has contact with key political leaders in the government and with various Israeli organizations including the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Economic Development (NISPED) and YEDID ("friend" in Hebrew) which was established in 1997 to promote social justice in Israel. More information about these groups can be found on Ameinu's
website. Through activities such as two-way missions, joint seminars, and advocacy, Ameinu will strengthen its current strong connections with members of Knesset, and with other Israelis who share its vision. In response to recent events in Israel, Ameinu established its Children's Emergency Fund. The Fund is designed to be used in Israel to purchase games and toys as well to help support summer camps being established for children currently living in areas under attack.
In the United States, Ameinu supports Habonim Dror,
its youth affiliate which includes Camp
Galil, located in Ottsville, Pennsylvania (Bucks County). Camp Galil is
celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Camp Galil has a rich history of
support for the State of Israel; counselors even packed weapons in support of
Israel during the 1948 War of Independence. Camp Galil supports the Philadelphia
Jewish Community through volunteering in mass at the Jewish Relief Agency. (See related
In addition, there is an emphasis on activity for liberal Jewish students on colleges and universities. Ameinu is a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and is involved in many other national and local activities. Ameinu publishes a rich mix of sources of information about Israel, including an on-line newsletter, up-to-date information available from its web site, and Jewish Frontier, since 1934 a key journal for those interested in the hard questions confronting Israel and the Jewish people.
Want to get involved? Want to learn more about the group or about their activities here in Philly? To receive the free Ameinu weekly e-newsletter, send your email address to
[email protected]. Their local
contact is [email protected]. The Emergency Children's Fund welcomes contributions.
Past Networking Central Groups of the Month
In this section, we highlight a new local group each month in order to encourage networking.