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Thoughts on the Kotel, the day after…



Shalom Haverim, Yesterday we all learned of the historic vote that took place in Israel recognizing an interdenominational consensus on Judaism’s holiest site.  The Government of Israel officially approved the expansion of the egalitarian section of the Western Wall known as the “Ezrat Yisrael”.   Why is this so dramatic and important? As our partners in […]

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Killing a King: The Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by Dan Ephron



Twenty years after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, a horrible question arises: Was the murder a complete and unmitigated success? I remember exactly where I was on November 4, 1995:  dozing with family on a lazy Shabbat afternoon. The TV was on, and it grabbed our attention when the program cut to breaking news. Rabin […]

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Im Tirtzu: Just Lashon Hara or Worse?



By now, many of us have seen the video. It opens with a horror-film score and a scene of everyday Israeli life. A dark, bearded, sinister man approaches the camera and raises a knife. You, the viewer, are the victim of a terrorist attack. The narration then begins, in the tone of a spy thriller. […]

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Celebrating American Thanksgiving in Israel during the past 40 years



Reminiscing about Thanksgivings past and our first celebration as a young couple living in Kiryat Nordau, Netanya found us hosting Israeli cousins who had been exceedingly kind in welcoming us as new olim.  They joked for many years after about ‘Tanksgiving’. Working with NFTY and with Indiana University students at Hebrew University, I came to […]

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The Odd Couple: Reform Judaism and Zionism



by Rabbi Daniel M. Bronstein, Ph.D. Making sweeping historical generalizations is easy. Lots of people make them, even the best of historians. Broad statements can be a “necessary evil” when one is faced with limited time or space to make an historical point. But generalities can easily mutate into over-simplifications that ultimately obscure – if […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

How to Ensure Reform Voices and Values are Heard Throughout the World



Shalom from Jerusalem! I arrived on Sunday – together with many other Diaspora Jewish leaders – for the 37th Zionist Congress – often referred to as “The Parliament of the Jewish People.” Especially as our hearts break as our people are viciously attacked throughout this beloved land, taking us further and further from the peace […]

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URJ Calls for an Immediate End to Violent Attacks in Israel



In a press release issued today, URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs issued the following statement: The growing number of violent attacks on Jews and Jewish sites in Israel must end. Continuing on this course puts Palestinians and Israelis on the precipice of a conflagration that will end only with greater bloodshed. Today’s arson desecrating Joseph’s […]

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When It Comes to the Middle East, It Can’t Be All Black and White



by Kendra Gerstein As a community, we feel deeply the recent acts of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank. It is painful to see these senseless attacks being repeated day after day. Many of us feel both angry and sad as these events continue to unfold. As fears and tensions rise, the outcry is […]

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The World Zionist Congress Begins This Week – and the Reform Movement is There!



I am sure that over the past couple of weeks you have watched the news coming out of Israel with grave concern. These new terror attacks are both difficult to deter and impossible to predict: One Israeli friend of mine commented, “It feels like 2002 all over again, except all the lessons we learned about […]

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Israel’s Latest Terror Wave: The Global Reform Movement Responds



A rash of stabbings and other terror attacks on Israeli citizens have increased alarmingly over the past few days. The World Union for Progressive Judaism, proudly headquartered in Jerusalem, condemns these acts. The cruelty of those who attack innocent civilians and children on their way home from school seems to know no limit. The WUPJ mourns […]

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URJ President Responds to Announcement By Palestinian Authority President



President Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the URJ, released the following response to Wednesday’s announcement by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas: We are deeply disappointed by yesterday’s announcement from Palestinian Authority President Abbas that the PA will no longer abide by the terms of the Oslo Accord. For more than two decades, the Accords have […]

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Reform Jewish Movement Response to Iran Deal: Address Important Concerns, Focus on the Day After



Following extensive consultations with experts from across the political spectrum in both the United States and Israel, and thoughtful conversation with North American Reform Jewish leaders, the Reform Jewish Movement today issued a leadership statement on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The statement – released today by the leaders of the Union for […]

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How We’re Creating Vibrant Jewish Life in Israel and Around the World



by Rabbi Nir Barkin The Book of Deuteronomy, my favorite, begins with this passage as the Israelites prepare to enter the Promised Land: These are the words that Moses addressed to all Israel on the other side of the Jordan. – Through the wilderness, in the Arabah (desert)…in accordance with the instructions that God had […]

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Coming Full Circle: The NFTY in Israel Tikkun Olam Experience



by Sharon Mann The phrase “what goes around, comes around” came to mind recently as I remembered back five years to the time I saw my daughter, Ayelet, off on a flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto, Canada. She was headed to URJ Camp George, a Reform Jewish summer camp where she would spend the […]

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