With Passover in April celebrating our people’s birth as a nation, and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) in May, it’s a perfect time to re-focus on Israel. The URJ has done just that by recently re-structuring to strengthen our connections to, and support of, the Reform Movement in Israel. Our Movement’s Zionist arm, ARZA (the Association of Reform Zionists of America—and the Hebrew word for “to the Land”), is now an integral part of the senior URJ leadership team, spearheading and coordinating our Movement’s goals to make liberal Zionism and Israel a core part of Reform Jewish identity, and to increase financial support to grow Reform in Israel. The Reform Movement in Israel, and its Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), are in the forefront of promoting and protecting religious pluralism, democracy, inclusive shared society, and civil rights in Israel through advocacy, community action, and legal actions. And it is increasingly meeting the spiritual needs of so-called secular society in Israel. When we support the growth of our Reform Movement in Israel, we enable the grassroots growth of these shared values, and the increased recognition and acceptance of non-Orthodox Judaism.
ARZA and the URJ have embarked on the “Campaign for #Religious Equality in Israel,” enlisting Reform congregations in North America to commit to financial support for our Reform Movement in Israel. TBE has taken an early, leading role in the campaign as a congregation. And as individuals, we each can do so as well. If you want to see a changed Israeli society more imbued with these liberal Jewish, democratic values, you should join ARZA.