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Dear Partners,


The Center for Religious Affairs in the Diaspora is being renewed.


After many and significant years of service, we say farewell to Rabbi Yechiel Wasserman, who served as the Head of the Center for 18 years and contributed greatly with his extensive influence in the Jewish world.

I am privileged to be Rabbi Wasserman’s successor. After many years at World Bnei Akiva I look forward to embark on a new path towards a new and good year, B’ezrat Hashem.

Ilan Frydman, the outgoing, talented and active Director of the Center, will continue to act as a representative of the Education Department of the World Zionist Organization in North America. He will be replaced by Ariel Chesner, who has completed years of dedicated service at World Bnei Akiva and will serve as the Director of the Center.


Joining us is our diligent Office Manager, Michal Lesinger, and the Director of the French-speaking desk, Rabbi Avraham Deri.

The word “year” has a double meaning. On the one hand it means “repetition” and on the other hand, “change”.

This year, the Center for Religious Affairs in the Diaspora will adopt this dual meaning. On the one hand, we will continue to act in accordance with the principles of the Center to this day in establishing relationships with Jewish communities around the world in their connection to the special integration of Torat Yisrael and the State of Israel, but on the other hand we will also seek to renew and add new layers.

The Center has marked for itself four major activity routes in the coming year:

  • Continuation of the “Ben Ami – Yachdav” Shlichim project, which this year was deployed 31 emissaries who serve in communities in 15 countries.

  • We will hold joint activities with foreign students who study in Israel in yeshivot and midrashot, strengthening their connection to the State of Israel.

  • We will send delegations of talented lecturers and instructors to communities that will run programs in communities around the national holidays.

  • We will continue to be an address for community leaders and rabbis seeking to connect their community with the Torah of Israel and the State of Israel.


Finally, with the advent of the Shemitta year we ask ourselves how Shemitta affects our modern lives while most of us are not farmers.

We invite you to watch the attached video and ask yourself how the Shemitta year affects your life today.

With blessings of change and renewal,

"השיבנו אליך ה' ונשובה חדש ימינו כקדם"

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Roi Abecassis

Head, The Center for Religious Affairs in the Diaspora,

World Zionist Organization

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Roi Abecassis

Head of the Center

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Ariel Chesner

Director of the Center

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Rav Avraham Deri

Director, French Desk

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Michal Lessinger

Office Manager

Rosh Hashana

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