International Federation of Reform and Progressive Religious Zionists

July 15, 2016                                                             י׳ בְּתַמּוּז תשע״ו קיץ בארצה Summer News from ARZA Letter from the President  Shalom to all…

July 15, 2016                                                             י׳ בְּתַמּוּז תשע״ו
קיץ בארצה 
Summer News from ARZA

Letter from the President 

Shalom to all ARZA members,

As we watch the tragic events unfold from Nice, France, we mourn the loss of the over 84 victims of terror and senseless violence.  May their memories be for a blessing.

This week we are watching very closely a number of troubling bills coming out of the Knesset that are a threat to Israeli democracy. Today's Zionism is about the fight for Israel's soul and to ensure her sustainability as a Jewish and democratic state. Please read further and make sure you are fully aware of all that is happening.

Shabbat shalom,

Rabbi Josh Weinberg 

President, ARZA

 ARZA is committed to keeping you informed on the latest news coming out of Israel. 

The Kotel
ARZA is spearheading a campaign to help persuade Israeli government officials to uphold the Western Wall Agreement.

We are doing this in two ways:

We are encouraging delegations to go to their local Israel Consul Generals to have face-to-face meetings on the importance of a strong egalitarian section at the Kotel. So far, five meetings have taken place, including one in Los Angeles with our own Chair Rabbi John Rosove and another in Philadelphia with ARZA board member Marc Rothstein pictured below with Rabbi Larry Sernovitz of Temple Emanuel in Cherry Hill, NJ, CG Yaron Sideman and Conservative Rabbi Andy Green of Congregation Beth El in Voorhees, NJ. 

We have, with the help of the URJ and the Conservative Movement, put together aPrayer Service that can be used in egalitarian worship at the Western Wall Plaza. Included in this Tefilah is a PR statement template and a social media kit – if you any questions about this, please email Hannah Kestenbaum, our Digital Communications Manager.

The Mikvah Law
We have been following with great interest the laws regarding use of the state-run ritual baths for Reform and Conservative conversions. While progress was made in February, with a law allowing the Mikvahs to be used for  conversions, a new law, essentially undermining the progress, is being debated n the Knesset. No  decision has been finalized, and we will continue to monitor the developments. Click here for some background information

 The NGO Law
 In an undemocratic turn of events, the Knesset has passed a law that would require NGOs working in  the West Bank to release the source of their funding in all official publications. This law will greatly  affect human rights groups identified with the political left. Read more here

 Chief Rabbi of the IDF
 Concerning news coming from the IDF’s newly appointed Chief Rabbi, it appears that among other  controversial statements, Rabbi Eyal Karim has used Torah to promote problematic ideas. To read  ARZA’s statement and analysis of this controversy, click here.

 Conversion Reform and the future of the Rabbinate
 There has been outrage surrounding the Rabbinate's recent decision to not recognize a  woman's  conversion performed by a prominent American Orthodox Rabbi. While we in the Reform Movement  are painfully aware of the Rabbinate’s exclusionary practices, this demonstrates, yet again, the  overwhelming power the Rabbinate exercises and their ability to determine who is Jewish based on  their narrow beliefs. Furthermore, it appears that the six vacant positions in the Rabbinate’s high court (Beit Din) will be filled by all ultra-Orthodox rabbis. These appointments are the result of a  Knesset committee, one that we had hoped would use its non-Orthodox majority for progress.

 a program of
 Kehilot Yisrael 

 Bringing it Home:
 How We Bring Israel into our Congregations

 A one day workshop in NYC for
 representatives of Israel Committees from different  Synagogues 
 on September 11, 2016  ח אלול תשו"ע 

 please download the save the date card! 
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