Joining over 2,000 Jewish leaders and young people from Israel and around the world, a delegation of some 20 B’nai B’rith leaders, headed by honorary president Charles Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin, participated in the Extraordinary Zionist Congress that convened April 19-21 at the Jerusalem International Convention Center.
Participants in the Congress—the highest legislative body of the World Zionist Organization, established by Theodor Herzl—discussed strengthening the relationship between the various segments of the Jewish people, the challenges of Zionism today and other pressing issues on the Jewish and Israeli agenda. Resolutions before the Congress included one submitted by B’nai B’rith saluting the State of Israel on its 75th anniversary and rededicating the WZO to its core principles as formulated in the Jerusalem Program. The opening plenary included in memorial segments on B’nai B’rith International President Moishe Smith and B’nai B’rith World Center Board member Baruch Levy, both of whom represented B’nai B’rith at the WZO and passed away this year.
This was the first Extraordinary Congress called in the Zionist Movement’s 125-year history—prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the last Congress to be held virtually. Members of the B’nai B’rith delegation included representatives from France, Belgium, Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Poland, Uruguay and Israel and included Haim V. Katz, chairman, B’nai B’rith World Center; Nachliel Dison, World Center Board member and chairman, WZO Oversight Committee; Sheila Mostyn, former chair of the board, B’nai B’rith Canada, B’nai B’rith International Board of Directors member, chair of the B’nai B’rith Committee on Jewish Identity and former B’nai B’rith International senior vice president; Daniel Gratz, president, B’nai B’rith Israel; Jorge Stainfeld, president, B’nai B’rith Latin America; Stephane Teicher, B’nai B’rith permanent representative to UNESCO; Professor Daniel Schydlowsky, World Center Board member, WZO Expanded Executive; Robert Book; Elana Heideman; Alina Bricman, director, B’nai B’rith Office of EU Affairs; Elham Yaghoubian; Millie Magid, chair, B’nai B’rith Office of U.N. Affairs; Michael Nathan, mentor, B’nai B’rith Israel; Ilan Selby; Sergiusz Kowalski, president, B’nai B’rith Warsaw lodge; Eduardo Kohn, director, B’nai B’rith Latin America; Hadas Malka Hacohen, advisor to the president of B’nai B’rith Israel and deputy mayor of Rishon Le’Zion; Ilan Schori, chairman, Committee for International Relations, History and Heritage, B’nai B’rith Israel. The program included a festive event at the National Institutions building with the participation of Israeli President Isaac Herzog.