The AIPAC Fellows Program

American Israel Public Affairs Committee pic

American Israel Public Affairs Committee

The owner and CEO of MZ Berger & Co., Bernie Mermelstein has grown the company’s accessory manufacturing business beyond timepieces to include consumer electronics, jewelry, personal care, stationery, home décor, and more. Also a supporter of US-Israel ties, Bernie Mermelstein is a member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

The AIPAC Fellows Program is an initiative that selects highly motivated college graduates to strengthen the organization’s pro-Israel advocacy support base. Fellows admitted to the program play a key role in identifying and meeting potential AIPAC members and investors and explaining to them the importance of the organization and why it is imperative that US-Israel ties be kept strong.

The fellows are tasked with attending networking events to recognize potential donors, achieving fundraising targets, keeping abreast of professional developments in Israel and the Middle East, meeting AIPAC staff to ascertain whether key metrics are being met, and to take part in training sessions to grow their fundraising and networking skills.

A two-year program, the Fellows Program allows recent graduates an in-depth look at the policies shaping America’s future while growing their careers. Fellows enjoy a full year’s salary package with benefits and work from the organization’s offices in either New York City, New York; Los Angeles, California; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; or Baltimore, Maryland.

To be eligible for consideration, applicants are required to have a bachelor’s degree, a commitment to enhancing US-Israel ties, leadership skills, good communication skills, high energy, and a goal-oriented mindset.


The Truth Behind Fiddler on the Roof’s “Bottle Dance” Scene


Bernie Mermelstein is the owner and chief executive officer of MZ Berger & Co., a leading accessory company based in Long Island, New York. An avid singer in his free time, Bernie Mermelstein particularly enjoys Jewish music and cites Fiddler in the Roof as his favorite Broadway show.

Fiddler in the Roof is a musical based on a series of Yiddish short stories, and it has become one of the most popular musicals of all time. Songs such as “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Sunrise, Sunset” have become a staple in Broadway collections, and some of its numbers have even become iconic, such as the famous “Bottle Dance” scene.

However, this bottle dance scene, inasmuch as it sounds and looks Jewish, is not a traditional Jewish folk dance. Rather, it is an original creation of the director-choreographer Jerome Robbins. Robbins, who had previously worked in other musicals such as West Side Story and Gypsy, drew choreography inspiration from a man he saw in an Orthodox Jewish wedding celebration. The man was pretending to be inebriated and was tottering a bottle on his head, to everyone’s entertainment. Robbins turned this inspiration into an elaborate number featuring four dancers performing precise movements.