Contributor Archives: Judith Gelman, Vice President and Chair of the Executive Committee

About Judith Gelman, Vice President and Chair of the Executive Committee

Judith Gelman is the Chair of Ameinu’s Executive Committee and serves as the Chair of the Fundraising and Membership Committee. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Habonim Dror Foundation and on the Camp Committee for Habonim Dror Camp Moshava, where her three children represent the fourth generation of her family associated with the camp. Prior to attending Oberlin College and MIT, Judith participated in the Habonim’s 23rd Workshop at Maayan Baruch. In addition to her work with Ameinu and Habonim Dror, Judith sits on the International Council of the New Israel Fund and on the NIF DC Local Council. Judy also serves on the Montgomery County, MD Steering Committee for J Street and on the board of a local private high school. She is a former President of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Bethesda, MD. She has previously worked for the Council of Economic Advisers and the Federal Trade Commission, and is currently employed at Salop Economics in Washington, DC.

“Follow the money. Always follow the money” (From All the President’s Men)

Judy Gelman

  Of course, you can’t follow the money when it is purposefully hidden.  That is how the Israeli government hides its support of the settlement enterprise.  The government doesn’t spend the money directly.  Rather, it transfers the money from numerous government departmental coffers to the World Zionist Organization (WZO)’s Settlement Department.  Then, because the money is received with designations attached, the Settlement Department does not report it to its governing body …

Posted in Letters from the Leadership | 10 Comments

If You Miss me at the Back of the Bus…..

freedom riders

While in Israel with Ameinu (Ameinu Journey January 1-6, 2013), some of the other participants and I took part in a “freedom ride” on one of Jerusalem’s de facto gender-segregated bus lines. As you may know, there has been a growing tendency in recent years for bus routes that predominantly serve the Haredi (Ultra-orthodox) community to have gender separated seating, with women and girls in the back and men and boys in the front.  When individuals complained to the public bus company, …

Posted in Israel | Tagged , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Stone Soup: The Israeli Social Protest Movement 18 Months Later


Every child hears the Stone Soup story:  There was no food to share in a war torn, poor town. None at all.  Then a hungry and clever soldier filled a kettle with water and a few large stones and offered to make “stone soup”. He did not ask for much, just a little flavoring for his soup. Remarkably, as villagers found an onion here and a clove of garlic there and a wilted carrot forgotten in a root cellar, a nutritious meal miraculously appeared.  Even a kindergartener cannot miss the …

Posted in Israel | Tagged , , , | 369 Comments

Paying Living Wage – One Synagogue’s Experience

The Conservative movement is roiled in another controversy.  This time it isn’t whether women count in a minyan or whether gays can be rabbis but whether halachically observant Jews are required to pay their employees a “living wage”. A “living wage” is defined as a wage sufficient for a full time worker to live above the poverty level in a particular location.   The “living wage” is typically higher than the “minimum wage”, which is the legally mandated lowest hourly …

Posted in Letters From Leadership | 10 Comments

Cuts in Israel’s Child Allowances, Fertility Rates and Poverty

By Judith Gelman In 2003, an Israeli family with 10 children received NIS 6,500 (about $1,450) a month in child allowances. Three years later, in 2006, an Israeli family with 10 children received NIS 2,850 (about $640) a month in child allowances. These cuts came about as part of the larger budget cuts Likud Finance Minister Bibi Netanayhu instituted when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon came to power. The cuts in child allowances struck many people as particularly cruel. Social workers and those who …

Posted in Israel | 7 Comments

A Walk on the Wild Side: Visiting Israel’s West Bank Settlements Eli and Shilo

 By Judith Gelman Eli and Shilo, settlements deep in the West Bank, aren’t places progressive Zionists often visit. However, last June, a dozen Ameinu, Habonim Dror, and Hashomer Hatzair delegates toured these communities as guests of the World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division, which filled two armored buses with 100 World Zionist Congress delegates from across the political spectrum. Shilo, a 200-household settlement, sits adjacent to biblical Shilo. Eli, the neighboring …

Posted in Israel | 11 Comments

Personal Confession: I Love Lobbying With J Street

I grew up in a political family—my mother was an elected official for 12 years and she ran for the US Congress in 1986. My father was a political analyst and active in the Maryland Democratic Party. He is currently the politically appointed chair of a state commission. One summer in college I had an internship for the Senate Banking Committee (back when interns got paid). Later, I worked on political campaigns and in the White House. I grew up knowing a lot of politicians and political …

Posted in Letters From Leadership | 17 Comments

Educating AIPAC

By Judith Gelman Representing Ameinu, the largest progressive Zionist membership organization in the United States on AIPAC’s National Leadership Council is not easy.  At this Sunday’s National Council meeting I introduced the following amendment to AIPAC’s Action Principles: AIPAC supports Israel’s commitment to democratic values and the rule of law, including the protection of minorities and the dismantling of illegal settlement outposts. The amendment was defeated, but it was an …

Posted in Letters From Leadership | 11 Comments

Cottage Cheese Spring in the Start-Up Nation

By now, anyone who follows events in Israel closely knows two seemingly unrelated facts. First: More than 200 Israeli companies are listed on NASDAQ, the largest electronic-screen based stock exchange.  This is more than any country outside of North America, earning Israel the title “Start-Up Nation.” Second: The massive social justice protests in Israel this summer began with a boycott of cottage cheese after the price rose to 8 shekels for 250 g.  This is equivalent to $4.55 for the …

Posted in Letters From Leadership | 15 Comments

Food Banking and Hunger in Israel

By Judith Gelman Recently, I received my local food bank’s periodic newsletter with a photo of several Knesset members and other Israeli dignitaries shaking hands with the food banks own machers. The Israelis came to study state-of-the-art centralized food banking with the goal of adding this to their own arsenal in the fight against hunger. Here were two causes dear to my own heart joining hands. My husband Steve Salop and I are long time donors to the Capital Area Food Bank, which is …

Posted in Israel | 13 Comments