Rami Kleinman: "The Art of Green Zionism"
by Gad Nahshon
Rami Kleinman is Israel's man in Winnipeg, Canada. He is a superb artist but his art is to promote among Jews and gentiles, the beauty of Green Zionism. Rami Kleinman, officially, is a shaliach (emissary) of the Jewish National Fund (Keren Kaimet Le Israel). This organization was established as early as 1901 by the Zionist Congress and its leader Herman Shapira, as an instrument for redeeming the lands of Eretz-Israel.
This history of the J.N.F. is the history of the Zionist idea in action. Today, it is also an instrument of environmental quality: nature, water ways, forests, and so on.
Rami Kleinman, first of all, is successful in his mission in Canada because he combines dedication with a human gentile touch. He radiates love for Israel. He promotes the J.N.F. goals and fundraising only as a national mission. Kleinman is promoting love to Israel using the J.N.F. as a tool. Kleinman is also an expert of outreach to any potential supporter, a Jew or a gentile. He even established a club of J.N.F. supporters, all of its members are gentiles! He believes that you do not have to be Jewish in order to support Israel.
Rami Kleinman was born in 1961 in Tiberius to a mother from Tangier and a father from Kishinev (that's the city in which the historical pogrom took place in Passover, 1903). Later, his parents moved to Binyamina, a village on the slopes of Mount Carmel. From an early age, Kleinman loved to travel abroad. But one day he decided to be active in Beitar and became a member of what he likes to refer to himself: The Israeli national camp. And he joined the Likud Party as well.
Only 24 years old, Kleinman was sent to South Africa as the Shaliach of Beitar. Later he went into private business. He was involved in tourism. The next challenge: He became active in the Likud representation in the U.S.A. Kleinman had a chance to learn about the issues of this country. He dedicated himself to promote links between the Likud and the American sub-national groups.
He understood that in order to promote the Israeli interest, in order to increase the scope and power of the pro-Israeli camp in the U.S.A., he must develop a relationship with the Republican party, its young generation.
In the same manner, he dedicated himself to develop links between Israel and the Christian churches and religious movements in this country. Today, it is widely known that the Evangelists, protestants, moral majority, fundamentalists, "Bible Bel" societies, love Israel and often express devotion to Israeli rights and integrity stronger than the devotion of the Israelis themselves.
But when Kleinman was active in this field, thinking about the future, as to Israeli's posture in America, this field was considered to be a marginal one. Kleinman experienced himself in American issues. His stress was in a mission to the gentiles more than to the American Jews. Of course, he wanted to change the picture: to influence Jews also to join the Republican Party - a challenge.
In 1994 he returned to Israel and was zigzagging between business, raising a family, and helping the J.N.F. in Israel as a consultant and as a lecturer. The next step was to choose an assignment as a shaliach to Berlin or Winnipeg. Naturally, Kleinman decided to go to Winnipeg, a great choice.
In a short time, Rami Kleinman was successful in his J.N.F. mission. He developed his own formula for success. He radiates love for Israel, love for the J.N.F., and many people were impressed by his unique style which originated from his international experience. He became Israel's man in Winnipeg and a model of an excellent shaliach: he has many impressive achievements as a fundraiser and more than that as a promoter of love for Israel especially among gentiles.
I presented the following questions to Rami Kleinman so we can learn about the world of a superb shaliach:
Why did you devote your public life to the Jewish People? In South Africa? The USA? Canada? The reason I have devoted my career to work for the Jewish Nation is 1 feel we are entering a chapter in our history where the second & third generation after the establishment of the State of Israel, to which I belong to must establish a connection with the second & third generation in the Diaspora.
This phenomenon is different than our parents & grandparents generation, where there was more common ground between people born in Europe, Israel or the US. Today there is a much wider gap between the people and one of the most important tasks for our generation is to narrow this gap and to ensure Jewish bonding & continuation.
What is the role of JNF in Canada? In your region? JNF is one of the leading Jewish organizations in Canada & in Central Canada (my region). JNF has served as a link between the Jewish community and the state of Israel as a nonpolitical organization for many, many years. The records of our achievements can be seen in the area of environment related projects such as forestry, rehabilitation of rivers, building of water reservoirs, research and development farms in the agriculture field, etc.
JNF is 102 years old as an organization, and therefore serves as a sentimental link to our past. For example the blue box, tree planting & land redemption was part of the life of our grandparents, parents, etc. and every person has memories. In addition, JNF has played a major role in the Jewish educational system here in Canada and all over the world. Today JNF is a modern and vibrant organization, which presents the positive side of Israel & highlights the achievements of the Jewish nation through the last hundred years.
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