Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Money Talks 2

In my last post I quoted the jwire.com.au website to the effect that Richard Pratt had "donated upwards of A$30 million to more than 350 Israeli causes in the last 10 years."

The more informative of the two Pratt Foundation websites, prattfoundation-israel.co.il, states that "the Pratt Foundation supports established organisations that have sustainable projects serving the poorest and most disadvantaged Israelis" (About Us). A click on the site's Projects tag takes us to a page headed Education & Culture and a list of 21 "recipients."

One recipient that caught my attention was Beit Morasha. Beit Morasha's mission statement on its website, bmj.org.il, reads as follows: "Beit Morasha of Jerusalem is a center for Jewish studies and leadership development dedicated to meeting the modern world with Jewish values... Beit Morasha is impacting Jewish and Zionist identity by cultivating a generation of leaders who can convey the relevance of Jewish tradition and values to contemporary society. Through innovative and beit midrash programs, values and training initiatives, research institutes, and cultural activities, Beit Morasha is advancing a vibrant and inclusive vision of Judaism; infusing Israel's army, schools, communities and public square with Jewish values and culture, and binding the Jewish people together with a sense of common identity, purpose and destiny."

Army? Tell me more! Scroll down the list of programs until you reach:

"3. THE CENTER FOR JEWISH IDENTITY & CULTURE is at the heart of Beit Morash's informal education activities. Established in 2006 by Beit Morasha President Prof. Benjamin Ish-Shalom and Lieut. Gen. (Ret.) Moshe (Bogie) Yaalon, now Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Strategic Affairs, the Center for Jewish Identity & Culture fosters leadership and enhances Jewish and Zionist identity through large-scale values-training projects... Identity & Purpose: Jewish & Zionist Identity & Values Training for the IDF - The Center's flagship program, Identity & Purpose empowers IDF commanders and officers to serve as 'commander educators' who can infuse the soldiers under their charge with Jewish identity and values. A strategic collaboration between Beit Morasha and the IDF Education Corps, this program uses a variety of informal educational tools to equip IDF commanders to connect their soldiers with the heritage, land, values, and people of Israel. Since its founding, this pluralistic program has become a mandatory component in IDF officer-training, and has trained over 200,000 members of Israel's security forces in Israeli-Jewish identity and values." The website further informs us that the same kind of program is being developed for national service volunteers, the Israel police and Israeli Border Police.

The Israel Defense Forces, eh? Poor and disadvantaged? Who would have thought? Still, you who care can do something for the poverty-stricken IDF. You can dig deep and send every (tax-deductible?) dollar you can manage to the Pratt Foundation for this most worthy Australian, sorry - Israeli - cause.

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