Via: The Jewish Advocate
Space to serve Greater Boston Israelis By Alexandra Lapkin, Advocate staff
The Israeli-American Council Boston Center opened its doors Tuesday, officially establishing the presence of the new Israeli organization in the Boston area. Located at 1320 Centre Street in Newton, the 5,000 square foot space features a community hall, a teen lounge, a library, and a conference center.
The IsraelAmerican Council (IAC), an organization that came to Boston a year ago, is headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices in New York, Las Vegas, Miami, and
New Jersey. The eightyearold group is one of the fastestgrowing Jewish organizations in America. Bostonborn billionaire Sheldon Adelson, whose wife Miriam is Israeli, is one of the group’s key backers. In addition to the new Boston center, a $10 million Israeli American community center is being built in Los Angeles, and a Washington branch is in the final stages of launching.
“The reason I initiated this center, when we launched IAC Boston a year ago, [is that] it was one of the main things people kept telling me that there is a need for,” said Na’ame Ore, the Boston regional director of IAC. “They wanted a place they feel is theirs, they wanted a place where they could host others, and that could be a kind of home.”
Ore, who moved to the United States from Israel about three years ago, has been working out of her home and coffee shops before the organization found a home in Newton. Despite a lack of office space, IAC has been very active, helping organize a massive rally in downtown Boston in support of Israel during the war in Gaza last summer, and sponsoring a range of cultural and social events for children and adults. IAC has also developed a variety of programs, including IACCare, which matches volunteers with organizations in need of support; and IAC BINA, a community of intellectual young Israelis and Jewish Americans connecting through ideas.
“The purpose of having this kind of center is to bring the IsraeliAmerican community together and also the Jewish American community,” said Ore. “This will be a hub for people to meet.” The center will be used primarily for IAC programming. Similar to other cultural centers in Boston, like the French Library and the Goethe House, the IAC Boston Center will hold open house hours for people to mingle and watch Israeli movies and television shows on their own. In addition, IAC plans to offer up its center for local nonprofits to hold events, Ore said, allowing them not only a place to meet but the opportunity to “feel Israel in this Newton space.”
￼She chose Newton for the location of the center because of the large Israeli and Jewish population there and in nearby Brookline. Newton Center is also easily accessible by highways for those living in other towns, and by T, for those using public transportation.
Consul General of Israel to New England Yehuda Yaakov, Newton Mayor Setti Warren, national CEO of IAC, Sagi Balasha, and Gil Preuss, Executive Vice President at Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), attended the center’s grand opening on March 31. Other attendees included leaders and activists in both the Israeli and Jewish communities.
The Israeli community in the Boston area is growing, but the exact numbers are still unclear. IAC is currently working on a survey together with Brandeis University to tally up the Israeli population, as part of a larger survey conducted by CJP on the entire Jewish community.
“As we know, the Israeli business community is growing because of the relationship between Israel and Massachusetts,” Ore said. “More and more Israeli companies are coming to Boston. Israelis are coming and they’re bringing their families. This is a growing community, and as such, we want to facilitate a place for them to meet and network; for everyone from young children to adults.”
Israel-American Community (IAC) Boston, Newton Mayor Warren open Merkaz IAC this week
posted on April 2, 2015 in Newton
The Boston office of the Israeli-American Council (IAC) opened the doors to the first-ever center for the area’s Israeli-American community on March 31. Called Merkaz IAC (The IAC Center), the 5,000-square-foot space in Newton Centre will serve some 20,000 Israeli-Americans across Greater Boston.
Joining the grand opening ceremony at 1320 Centre St., Suite 301, wereNewton Mayor Setti Warren; the Consul General of Israel to New England Yehuda Yaakov; President of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston Barry Shrage; IAC CEO Sagi Balasha; the Executive Vice President of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, Gil Preuss; and local IAC officials including IAC Boston Regional Director Na’ama Ore and Co-Chair Ilan Segev.
The new center marks one year since the launch of IAC Boston, one of seven chapters of the preeminent Israeli-American organization in the United States.
“Israeli-Americans in Boston have always represented a vibrant community, but this new center opens a dynamic new chapter in our history,” said Na’ama Ore, regional director of IAC Boston. “We envision Merkaz IAC as our home, a place for neighbors to meet, plan activities and gather for events. Such a space will help lift Boston’s Israeli-Americans to even new heights.”
The new IAC space, with a capacity for 100 people, features a community hall, a teen lounge and a large conference room. The center, which officially opened its doors today, is easily accessible by public transportation and car to Greater Boston.
“The Israeli-American community across Greater Boston is coming together like never before, and this wonderful new community center provides a beautiful and ideal space for us to continue to grow and flourish,” said IAC Boston Co-Chair Ilan Segev.