Israeli Folk Dance Leaders "Chutz La'aretz"

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A message from Gadi Bitton,
Yoshev Rosh,
Irgun Lamadrichim Veyotzrim
Organisation for Leaders and Choreographers

September 2005

Hello to the Israeli Folk Dance Markidim / Dancers Around The World,
I am writing to you as the newly-elected chairman of the Irgun Lamadrichim Veyotzrim, the Israeli folk dance Organization for Leaders and Choreographers (The Irgun).

First I wish to thank my predecessors for all their hard work and next I wish to thank those who have placed their confidence in me in this important role.

It is my intent to help rebuild and revitalize the Irgun. I want it to be a strong and vibrant force as a leadership organization within the Israeli folk dance community. I want this organization to be a top-level professional association for Israeli Folk Dance professionals. I want this organization to take the promotion of Israeli Folk Dancing to a new level.

Toward that end, I have established a number of committees to focus on various important topics and activities within the Irgun.

Examples include committees for: goal setting/strategic direction, membership/member relations, choreographers, to name a few.

And of particular interest to many of you, I have, for the first time, established a committee for Israeli Folk Dance Leaders "Chutz La'aretz" ("Chul" or outside Israel).

My goal here is to at last create a focus and a formal mechanism for qualified Israeli dance leaders who live and work outside Israel to be full and active members of our professional association.

I want this committee to be responsible for:

a.. helping the Irgun to act with an Israel-centered, yet global agenda and with global awareness
b.. approving the admission of qualified members from Chul
c.. raising issues and recommendations from Chul for action by the executive committee
d.. disseminating information from the executive committee as appropriate to the members in Chul
e.. providing a forum for members in Chul to dialog about their topics and issues of concern

As you can see, I have high aspirations and expectations for this committee. I know it is not going to be easy to make it work, but I think that in this day and age, with communication facilitated through the internet, we have the potential to accomplish things that we couldn't do before.

To help me and the Irgun with this important committee and its work, I have asked Phil Moss from Chicago to be chairman of the Irgun Committee for Chul.

He will report to the executive committee via a liaison in Israel, Oren Ashkenazi, who I have named specifically for that role.

I think most of you either know or know of Phil. He has been a markid in Chicago for more than 31 years, has participated in and lead numerous workshops and camps, and is Co-Director of the world-renowned Israeli Dance Camp, Chagigah.

But beyond all that, he has strong reputation for devotion and commitment to the development of Israeli dancing, communication, organization and fairness. These attributes were all critical to me in making my selection. Please join me in congratulating Phil and doing all you can to help the Irgun succeed in taking Israeli dancing to the next level.

I want to come back now to the topic of membership in the Irgun.

It is open ONLY to qualified leaders in Israeli Folk dance.

Similar to other associations for professionals. we require that our members be properly accredited.

One way to become accredited is to receive certification as an IFD instructor through successful completion of the ulpan in Israel.

Another way is to demonstrate your commitment and success as a leader through continuous work as a markid/markida.

In Israel, for those who do not have the ulpan certificate, membership will be available to those who have been running at least two weekly chugim continuously for two years.

In Chul, for those without the certificate, membership will be available for those who have been running at least one weekly chug for 3 years.

In addition, we will "grandfather" some long-time choreographers who are not necessarily markidim. We will also grandfather some leaders who previously were markidim, but who may not be active at the moment. And we will also entertain requests for membership from leaders who may find themselves in special situations.

Membership will cost $US 45 dollars a year and will be payable via credit card through the Irgun web-site. (We are working on that site now and will let you know when it is available.) Applicants from Chul will be reviewed by the Chul committee for final approval.

Membership benefits will include:

a.. ability to vote in all Irgun elections
b.. admission discounts for attending local sessions in Israel
c.. access to the members-only portion of the Irgun web-site
d.. participation in the Irgun on-line discussion forum
e.. access to Irgun-published communications
f.. ability to reserve music either on your own or someone else's behalf for purposes of choreographing a dance. (this is a complex topic of its own that will be the subject of a future communication)
g.. others, to be determined

In conclusion, I hope you are excited about these developments as I am.

Together, I truly believe we can make substantial progress. Thank you in advance for your feedback and support.

Gadi Bitton,
Yoshev Rosh,
Irgun Lamadrichim Veyotzrim

Message from Phil Moss
Yoshev Rosh,
Chul Committee of the Irgun Lamadrichim Veyotzrim
Chicago, Illinois, USA

First off, congratulations to Gadi on his new role in the IFD community. This is a huge job (a volunteer one at that) and I know we are all grateful to Gadi for taking it on. Wishing you much success Gadi.

Next, I would like to thank Gadi and the Irgun for this honor and vote of confidence. I am very pleased to have been selected and will do all that I can to make the Chul Committee a successful part of the Irgun as well as an important tool in furthering the IFD movement through its leaders in Chul.

At a later time, I will write in more depth about both the vision for the committee as well as its operational details. But let me give you a few initial thoughts.

While I know that the IFD issues we face in our various countries and localities in Chul vary greatly, I do believe that we share many things in common outside Israel.

I hope that we can build on that commonality to articulate concerns, concepts, solutions etc. that we can put them forth to the Irgun executive committee as a way to try to successfully address some of those items. Some potential examples I suggested to Gadi include:

a.. definition of membership
b.. benefits of membership
c.. the music/dance registration system
d.. use of video on the internet
e.. introduction of new dances in Chul, and their subsequent change when presented in Israel
f.. etc.
Of course there are many more, and it will be the job of the committee to surface such items and help address them.

It is my understanding that the Chul Committee will be responsible for collecting and approving membership applications from those in Chul and forwarding that information on to Israel. The operational details are now in the process of being finalized so I will communicate more about that when I have the information.

My initial thought here is to establish a committee comprised of Irgun members who can represent their countries or regions.

In large countries like the US, Canada, and Australia to name a few, perhaps we will have multiple members. I expect the committee members in turn to seek input from their local markidim/markidot to represent them appropriately. I will soon be in touch with various individuals to ask them to serve on the committee.

In the mean time, if you have suggestions regarding structure and/or names, please contact me privately at

In the mean time, I would be very grateful for input from anyone regarding concerns, issues, etc. that you would like to see addressed by the Chul Committee.

If you know of markidim/markidot who might not see this notice, please feel free to send this link to them.

Also, even if you are not a member of the Irgun or will not become one, feel free to offer your help and ideas, and to let me know what you might be able to offer.

As examples, I have already received several offers of translation assistance between Hebrew and English. (In that regard, my thanks go out to Vered Klinghofer and Avi Zechori for their help with translating this initial document into Hebrew). Perhaps there are other items that you would like to offer up.

To reach me, you can use my email address above or call me on my mobile at 1 847 274 1809.

Phil Moss
Yoshev Rosh,
Chul Committee of the Irgun Lamadrichim Veyotzrim