At the opening of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism's congress at Kibbutz Shfayim on Friday 28 May, Joan Garson, chairman of Arzenu, brought a message of friendship from the Zionist organization to the IMPJ congress delegates.
Shfayim's auditorium was filled to capacity at the opening of the congress on Friday afternoon. In between speeches that captivated the audience, musicians entertained the delegates and video clips were shown (including the excerpt of Rabbi Richard Hirsch lighting the torch on Israel's 62nd Independence Day - see videos on this website or click here).
Joan Garson was one of many representatives bringing messages from their organizations. Coincidentally, she happened to be in Israel at the same time as the conference, as her daughter, Rebecca, was graduating from a commander's course in the air force. Not only was she extremely excited about, and proud of, her daughter’s achievements, but she was also very happy to be able to attend the IMPJ conference opening.
After stating that the Arzenu coalition is the single largest group in the World Zionist Organization, she continued: "That means that, together with Labour and Meretz, our voice has credibility and weight in the national institutions. This, in turn, means that we can use these to express our concerns and work to implement our values as Reform Jews.
“Our alliances within the national institutions, both formally with Labour and Meretz, and informally, provide key relationships within the political sphere and enable our voice and values to be heard within the Knesset," she said.
Garson commented on the "new relationship between the Israel movement and the rest of the Reform world" and the obvious outcomes that would result from working closely together.
"As the IMPJ becomes stronger and its vision becomes clearer," she said, "it is providing not only access to Israel for Reform Jews round the world, but changing the nature of the relationship. The IMPJ is now not only a recipient of philanthropy, but a key player in the Reform world.
"Just as IRAC provides the tools to fight for pluralism in the courts of Israel, the IMPJ provides the tools to identify our values and see them played out in the Jewish state."
Click on the attachment below for the full speech.
More to come soon about the IMPJ congress!