If you're having trouble viewing this email, you may see it online

President's Message

Dear Chaverim  

It’s time to stand up and be counted for Reform Judaism in Israel. It’s time to make your voice heard.  ARZA Canada asked the leadership of all Canadian Reform congregations to take action now to help achieve a significant increase in membership numbers for ARZA Canada.

Why join ARZA Canada?

Liberal Judaism is critical to Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state.  You can help to promote liberal Jewish values in Israel through your membership in ARZA Canada.  Just being a member unlocks funding from the Jewish Agency for our Israeli Reform cousins.  The stronger our membership in Canada, the more the Israeli Reform movement can pursue its mission.

Israel needs Liberal Judaism

In recent years Israel, like many Western countries, has experienced a shift towards extreme right populism.  In Israel this has taken the form of: public displays of intolerance towards minorities; calls for nationalism to take precedence over democracy; indifference towards settlement expansion; and disparaging the mechanisms of law, such as the Supreme Court and Attorney General.

The balance of power that Ultra-Orthodox parties hold in the governing coalition adds to the problem, allowing them to promote their interests, such as avoiding military service, discrimination against women, and shutting down public transit on Shabbat.

Fortunately the solution already exists.  It just needs strengthening.

Israel's Reform movement is up to the challenge

Israel's Reform movement continues to grow, offering Israelis an opportunity to connect with Jewish heritage in a modern way. Israelis are learning there is more than the orthodox way to be Jewish.

Not only has the Reform movement grown to over 50 congregations across the country, it has a large influence through important Reform institutions, such as:

  • IRAC - Israel Religious Action Center:  IRAC has an excellent record fighting at the Supreme Court level for equality - for Reform Judaism, and for all types of minorities in Israel.
  • LACO - Legal Aid Center for Olim: LACO helps people who qualify for citizenship under the Law of Return, but face resistance from the government due to the influence of Ultra-Orthodox parties.

Empowering Liberal Judaism in Israel

The World Zionist Organization (WZO) allocates millions in funding for projects in Israel.  The allocation is proportional to the size of the parties in the WZO.

The Reform Zionist movements around the world (including ARZA Canada) form a combined party called ARZENU.  The larger our movement worldwide, the larger our representation in the WZO, and the more funding allocated to ARZENU and Reform projects in Israel.  It's that simple.

Measuring our weight - WZO elections

The size of parties in the WZO is determined by periodic Zionist Federation elections.  Elections are held by country.  The next election is planned for spring 2020.  To vote or to be counted, you have to be a member of a Zionist organization, such as ARZA Canada.  So the more ARZA Canada members there are, the larger the Reform bloc in the WZO.

The power of leverage

So, being a member in ARZA Canada strengthens Liberal Judaism in Israel, partly from your dues, but more importantly by increasing our size and presence in the WZO, which translates into funding.

Your membership makes a difference. You can make a difference. Be sure that you join ARZA CANADA through your 2019/2020 congregation invoice.  “For the sake of Zion, I will not be quiet”. (Isaiah 62:1)

Thank you and l’Shalom,

Miriam Pearlman

President, ARZA CANADA

In Other News:

Take 2: another Israeli national election

On September 17, Israel will hold its second national election in less than six months. Do not be fooled. This is not a rerun of the election on April 9. This Israeli election brings together several related issues that cut to the heart of Israel’s identity as a Jewish democracy - issues that have now exploded into public view. In particular the issue of religious freedom and pluralism has gained much traction in Israeli society and is having a significant impact on the upcoming Israeli election.

Rabbi Josh Weinberg, Executive Director of ARZA (US), tells us why we should be both concerned and optimistic about the second Israeli election.


Hiddush - For Freedom of Religion and Equality

Meet Reform Rabbi and lawyer Uri Regev, formerly Executive Director of IRAC and President of the World Union of Progressive Judaism, and currently serving as President and CEO of “Hiddush - For Freedom of Religion and Equality”, a trans-denominational organization aimed at promoting religious freedom and equality in Israel, a partnership between Israeli Jews and World Jewry. Uri Regev is working closely with like-minded groups in Canada to raise awareness and seek support for action.

Vision Statement:  Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State - Rabbis for Religious Freedom and Equality Israel

Read the Vision Statement here.  You can support the Vision Statement by signing your name. Complete the information below the statement.

Take Hiddush’s video quiz on Freedom of Marriage in Israel.

In a recent victory, Hiddush won a Supreme Court ruling to allow Reform Rabbis to officiate at military funerals.


To unsubscribe from future mailings please click here.