Standing Up for Freedom of Religion in Israel
“Freedom of Religion in Israel” was the message on the signs. They were held today by Reform, Conservative, and secular Jews in front of the office of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem.
At the same time, inside the building, Rav Amar, the Sephardic Chief Rabbi, was holding a meeting in order to attempt to derail the decision of the Israeli Government to begin providing salaries for 15 non-Orthodox community rabbis. The Chief Rabbinate does not want to admit that there are many paths to the holy, and multiple ways of being Jewish in Israel. We knew better as we stood together in support of that very same decision.
Gathered together were the leadership of the Israel Masorti Movement and the Israeli and world-wide Reform Movement, many of whom are participating in the meetings of the Jewish Agency for Israel. As proud representatives of the Reform Movement; we represented ARZA, URJ, WUPJ and IMPJ/IRAC, which organized the gathering. Rabbi Stephen Fuchs, President of the World Union of Progressive Judaism, addressing the crowd said, “Standing here today, in Jerusalem are represented all the members of our worldwide Reform family.”
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism; Rabbi Robert Orkand Chairman of ARZA: The Reform Israel Fund; Rabbi Daniel Allen, President of ARZA joined together with Joan Garson, Chair of ARZENU; Dalya Levy, Executive Director of ARZENU, Yaron Shavit, Chairman of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, CEO of the Israel Reform Movement, and Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center.
It is our belief that the positive ruling in the Miri Gold case will in time be noted as a tipping point in the growth of our movement. More importantly, funding of our rabbis is a giant step forward by Israel to attain the highest goals set forth in the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel.
The sun was strong today, the voices stronger, and our resolve to help Israel be a Jewish democratic pluralistic society was demonstrated with great strength. Hazak Hazak.
Stephen Sacks, URJ Chairman of the URJ Board
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, URJ President
Rabbi Robert Orkand, Chairman ARZA Mike Grabiner, Chairman WUPJ
Rabbi Daniel Allen, President ARZA Rabbi Stephen Fuchs, President WUPJ
Yaron Shavit, Chairman IMPJ Joan Garson, Chair ARZENU
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, CEO IMPJ Dalya Levy, Director ARZENU