This November, ARZA CANADA week turned out to be ARZA CANADA month. Our Israel engagement work was enriched by leaders from the Israel Reform Movement who came to Canada to visit our congregations and communities, and to strengthen our deepening partnerships. These Israelis are the Reform rabbis, professionals and lay leaders who are bringing a liberal Jewish renaissance to secular Israeli Jews. These are the Israelis who are helping to bring our values of Reform Judaism to the State of Israel to be a Jewish democracy ensuring religious pluralism, equality and justice for all citizens. They are our friends. They value our partnerships. They need and want our support to help them grow. They need our donations. Please consider a year-end donation to the Israel Reform Movement (IMPJ).
If you believe as I do that there is more than one way to be Jewish and that all Jews should be welcome in Israel, then please add your voice. Zionism today has gone from state-building to society-building. After attending meetings in Israel, I can tell you that Israeli politics is even more complicated than any of us really understand. In addition to the government of Israel, the well-entrenched so-called National Institutions and the World Zionist Organization (all founded prior to the State) continue to operate as public sectors parallel to the government, often overlapping. That is where we step in.
As liberal progressive Jews, we have direct influence by our participation in the World Zionist Organization through ARZA CANADA. As we look ahead to 2020 to the next World Zionist Congress, the parliament of the Jewish people, our work is intensifying. Our representation in the World Zionist Congress is based on the size of our membership. You can help strengthen our position by being informed and ensuring your ARZA CANADA membership is renewed annually.
My very best wishes for a happy holiday season. May 2019 be a year of good health, happiness and shalom for all.
President, ARZA CANADA
Photos from ARZA CANADA Week, Nov. 2018
Israeli Reform Rabbi Myra Hovav of Ramot Shalom Kehillot in Beer Sheva (centre) visiting sister congregation Temple Sinai of Toronto
Israeli Reform Rabbi Yael Karrie (second from left) with Rabbi Audrey Pollack at Solel Congregation in Mississauga, along with Rabbi Larry and Cheryl Englander
Israeli Reform Rabbis Myra Hovav (front right) and Yael Karrie (back right) with Rabbi Debra Landsberg of Temple Emanu-El in Toronto, plus ARZA CANADA members
Havdalah led by Rabbi Lea Meulstein, Chair of ARZENU, with IMPJ Rabbi Myra Hovav and IMPJ Educator Reut Noyman
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, President and CEO of IMPJ, visited Temple Sinai, Holy Blossom, City Shul, and Temple Emanu-El
ARZA CANADA Board meeting, Nov. 2018
Events were hosted by ARZA CANADA and ARZENU thanks to the generous sponsorship of KKL-JNF and the World Zionist Organization.
URJ to double down on Israel
URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs says the Reform movement is increasing its commitment to Israel, even as liberal Jews struggle with a difficult relationship with the current government in Israel.
Israelis are discovering liberal Judaism
Israelis increasingly identify with liberal Judaism, even if they don't belong - an opportunity for Reform in Israel - says the Times of Israel.
Rising Streams: A new book on Reform and Conservative Judaism is available for free download from the website of Israel's Reform movement (the IMPJ).
The politics of fear
"When we see non-existent dangers within Israeli society, we turn on our brothers and sisters." Rabbi Donniel Hartman criticizes the divisiveness of Israeli politicians in the governing coalition.
Volunteers who save lives - Jews, Muslims and Christians
The United Hatzalah emergency service in Israel is staffed entirely by volunteers - Jews, Muslims and Christians - who have saved 3.5 million lives by getting to the scene quickly. See their story.
Most reporting on the relationship between Jews and Arabs in Israel are about division and despair. It's not commonly known that many groups create connections between communities. Here are 2 examples:
Sports - Hatikvah played in Abu Dhabi when Israelis win gold in judo competition
Threatened with loss of the event, Abu Dhabi had to guarantee equal treatment for Israeli competitors in a judo tournament, for the first time ever. Their worst fears were realized when Israelis won gold twice, and they had to play Hatikvah both times.
Photos from World Zionist Organization meetings, Israel, Oct. 2018
The Reform ARZENU delegation is one of the largest in the World Zionist Organization
ARZENU delegates voting in favour of a resolution at the WZO Va'ad Ha'Poel (General Council Session)
Leaders from ARZA CANADA and Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism
Miriam Pearlman with Danny Atar, World Chair of KKL-JNF, and Rabbi Danny Freelander, President of WUPJ
Rabbi Lea Meulstein, chair of ARZENU (centre) and Yaron Shavit, head of the ARZENU faction of WZO (right). ARZENU represents the international Reform Zionist organizations.
Visiting and supporting Reform congregations in Israel - ARZA CANADA reps with Rabbi Dr. Eli Levin (second from right), Kehilat Darchei Noam in Ramat HaSharon