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.
Irgun Lamadrichim Veyotzrim