April 12, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

In an effort to counteract the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, ACHI is introducing their own BDS campaign: Buy, Display and Support Israel. ACHI, along with Jewish Journeys, hosted an informational event this past Sunday, May 15, in Teaneck. The objective of the event was to enlighten guests about the multitude of Israeli products available for purchase in the United States benefiting Israel’s economy.

ACHI, American Communities Helping Israel, is a not-for-profit organization encouraging people nationwide to use Israeli products as part of a campaign known as Think Israel, Buy Israeli. Since its inception in 2004 during the second intifada, ACHI’s mission is to help the Israeli economy and keep Israel in the hearts and minds of Jews in the Diaspora.

The event was held at the home of Jewish Journeys’ leader Andrea Portal. JWRP takes Jewish mothers on a trip to Israel connecting participants to the land, Jewish values and one another. “Upon returning from the trip, women develop a love for Israel and are inspired to learn more about their Jewish identity. Many of the participants continue to be active in Jewish Journeys, attending events that include challah baking, Torah classes and Shabbat dinners. Their commitment to Israel and supporting its economy is paramount,” Portal told the Jewish Link. A love for Israel is central to both ACHI and Jewish Journeys. Both organizations are committed to the success of our Jewish homeland.

ACHI is comprised of volunteers of all ages. Their goal is to share the critical concept of supporting Israel and implementing easy, palpable ways to do so. “I am passionate about volunteering for ACHI and keeping Israel in the hearts and minds of our next generation,” said Rochelle Zupnik, ACHI coordinator. The event was not intended to raise funds but rather awareness. Israel needs our constant support, especially during troublesome times. Think Israel, Buy Israeli is an ideal way to keep the connection with Israel on a daily basis. ACHI founder Suzanne Weilgus introduced the concept of the Klee. The Klee is in essence a porcelain dish and is used to display Israeli products in one’s home. “The goal is to empower everyone who cares about Israel to make a difference,” Weilgus explained. She urges every household across the Diaspora to designate a dish and keep it filled with Israeli products, sharing the concept with everyone who enters your home. “It is our silent weapon to fight the BDS.”

Often Jewish people living in America feel helpless in the effort to advance the Israeli economy and overall situation. Through the concept of Think Israel, Buy Israeli, we can engage in supporting Israel on a very regular basis with what seems to be a fairly simple undertaking. The idea is to encourage Americans to support Israel through product purchases, thus helping themselves and Israel simultaneously. Through initiatives such as the Klee, people are able to make a difference in their lives, the lives of those around them and ultimately the lives of those living in Israel.

These two organizations are so in sync with one another in that they empower people who care about Israel to make a difference. “Each can gain something from the other,” remarked Tova Taragin, ACHI coordinator for the Baltimore/Washington area who was selling a variety of cookbooks featuring Israeli recipes with proceeds directly benefiting Israel.

Guests indulged in delicious snacks all made from Israeli products that are available for purchase in most of the local kosher markets. From humus to borekas, the food was plentiful and delicious. Product lists along with recipes were distributed for participants to take home. ACHI volunteer Lynda Zentman presented a cooking demo that included Israeli salad, chickpeas salad and dates with goat cheese filling. With some help from refreshing mimosas, everyone was in a jovial mood.

The message guests were encouraged to leave with was that supporting Israel could be as easy as choosing different brands of food already on your shopping list. Always keep Israel close to your heart and at the forefront of your mind, thereby making Buy, Display and Support Israel the new BDS!

For more information about these organizations, please visit www.achi613.org and www.jwrp.org.

By Andrea Nissel

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