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Statement on the Knesset BDS Supporter Ban

ARZA supports a vision of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. In keeping with this vision, ARZA believes that the State of Israel must abide by the basic tenets of democracy, including the freedom of expression and freedom of speech. We maintain that the strength of our Jewish community comes from a diversity of ideologies held together by our common love for the Jewish people, Torah, and traditions.

When Adar Arrives, We Increase our Joy!

Our joy stems from recalling the story of Queen Esther’s triumph over Haman. This has become a symbol for the struggles of the Jewish People against all forms of anti-Semitism, and in recent generations has been energized by the rise of feminism: Esther and Vashti are embraced as representations of the resilience of women in the face of adversity.

Reflections On Israel

I often wonder how is it possible to have such a deep loyalty toward a place where photographs, stories and an image of culture of the Jewish people are imagined in my mind.  How can you connect and love something you have never seen or touched. Afterall, we are sensory beings.  Israel, my Jewish State is real to me, but I had never had the chance to visit and gain perspective through my own eyes. 

ARZA, CCAR Strongly Condemn Israeli Regularization Bill

The Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) strongly condemn the Knesset’s passage yesterday of the so-called “Regularization Bill” as undemocratic and shortsighted.

Solidarity Letter

For many years, you have stood by our side. In the struggle to have the State of Israel recognize our Reform rabbis, in the struggle over equal recognition of non-Orthodox conversation, in the struggle to establish an egalitarian platform at the Kotel, in the struggle for freedom of religion and conscience, in the struggle for the basic idea that there is more than one way to be Jewish. In recent years, you have been standing by our side also in the effort to ensure Israel’s democratic character and the values inscribed in Israel's Declaration of Independence.

The Z: Progressive Zionism Reimagined

There is power in names. As United States Supreme Court Justice Reinhart says in overturning Proposition 8: “A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name if ‘registered domestic partnership’ does not.” There are many ways to describe American Jewish relationships to Israel, but none are quite so potent as naming and claiming that connection across nations and cultures as “Zionism.” In short, I am a Zionist because I believe that there is immense power in the “Z word.” 

Relationship Status: Complicated

The year living in Jerusalem as an HUC-JIR student, showed me yet another side of Israel. Regularly interacting with Israelis at the grocery store, post office, in the shuk, in the Settlements, at the Kotel, both with Women of the Wall and without, helped me realize that Israel is a country like any other. The day-to-day lives of Israelis echo our day-to-day lives, their serious and not-so-serious problems resemble ours, their happiness fluctuates just as ours does, and just like my fellow American citizens, the people of Israel are not all the same

Israel: A Relationship in the Making

Growing up, Israel was always projected upon me (a certain vision of Israel was always presented to me). It was a magical place with great food, sacred sites, and a thriving Jewish culture. But I never truly understood why I should build a personal relationship with a country halfway around the world. As I reflect upon my three unique experiences in Israel, I appreciate how each one gave me a special connection to the Jewish state. It includes a deep connection and commitment to building Jewish community, appreciating differences in understandings of Judaism, utilizing leadership to serve people, expanding my Jewish education, and pursuing social justice for all people.

I'm A Zionist Because....

When asked why I am a Zionist, my standard response is generally about Jewish public culture in the State of Israel or providing liberal religious alternatives and promoting pluralism, acceptance, and democracy.
 

Parashat Vayeshev: Unsettling

...The moral lesson is that just as strangers must not take for granted their right to live in their host country, so Jews must not take for granted their entitlement to the Holy Land not even after they have settled there...

Israel on Fire

What you need to know about the Fires ravaging Israel

ARZA Condemns Vandalism and Incitement against Kehilat Ra'anan and Reform Jewish Leaders

The Association of Reform Zionists of America condemns the shocking act of hate and violence against Kehilat Ra’anan in Ra’anana on Thursday. We send our loving support to all our friends in the Reform community there, and we call upon the police to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice. We demand that all of Israel’s leaders condemn the climate of incitement that makes an act like this possible.

 

 

A Moment of Kavanah: November 2, 2016 at the Western Wall

...Working with the Women of the Wall, bringing in the Torah scrolls, demanding equality, justice, and that the Government of Israel fulfill its negotiated promises, at that spot and at that time, we took a stand against the forces of oppression, against those trying to refuse us our prayer space

Difficult Conversations

Balancing Beautiful and Ugly.

The World is changing and so are we. Today we are confronted with difficult questions and we must have difficult conversations. But we don't have to do them alone.

Don't Give Darkness the Final Word: Parashat Noah

It all seems so delightfully innocent when our youngsters sing of Noah and the Flood: “And Noah, he built him, he built him an arky, arky…,” together with that wondrously optimistic conclusion: “Everything is hunky dory, dory, children of the Lord!”

But there is a darkness throughout the Flood account...

Israel Tried to Ban Porn? ARZA Opposes Another Knesset Limitation on Liberty

Why the Knesset’s first draft of the Anti-Porn bill is an affront to Democracy and Freedom in Israel…and why ARZA is Speaking Out Against It

Finally at Home: Cincinnati Jews at the Kotel, Summer 2016

Rabbi Lewis and Renee Kamrass share their experience praying at the Western Wall Plaza with an egalitarian minyan. This is their account of that Shabbat afternoon and the profound impact it has had on their lives. 

Yom Kippur in Jerusalem

It is a powerful feeling to observe the holiest days of the year in the Holy Land. A few years later, here's a reflection on the experience.

The King is in the Field: Lessons of Elul

For one month of the year, the month of Elul, we are responsible for deep introspection, with the goal of arriving at Rosh Hashanah, fully aware of ourselves, what we have done, what we want to do, and where we are going. Elul is our time to connect to Israel---ourselves, our people, and our land.

Even More Stories From ARZA

Reflections On Israel

February 27, 2017

I often wonder how is it possible to have such a deep loyalty toward a place where photographs, stories and an image of culture of the Jewish people are imagined in my mind.  How can you connect and love something you have never seen or touched. Afterall, we are sensory beings.  Israel, my Jewish State is real to me, but I had never had the chance to visit and gain perspective through my own eyes. 

When Adar Arrives, We Increase our Joy!

February 27, 2017

Our joy stems from recalling the story of Queen Esther’s triumph over Haman. This has become a symbol for the struggles of the Jewish People against all forms of anti-Semitism, and in recent generations has been energized by the rise of feminism: Esther and Vashti are embraced as representations of the resilience of women in the face of adversity.

Solidarity Letter

February 2, 2017

For many years, you have stood by our side. In the struggle to have the State of Israel recognize our Reform rabbis, in the struggle over equal recognition of non-Orthodox conversation, in the struggle to establish an egalitarian platform at the Kotel, in the struggle for freedom of religion and conscience, in the struggle for the basic idea that there is more than one way to be Jewish. In recent years, you have been standing by our side also in the effort to ensure Israel’s democratic character and the values inscribed in Israel's Declaration of Independence.

ARZA Supports the State of Israel’s Dismantling of the Illegal West Bank Outpost Amona

February 1, 2017

ARZA strongly supports the Israeli government’s dismantling of the illegal outpost of Amona and the evacuation of its 40 families, a difficult endeavor that ultimately will strengthen democratic institutions and the rule of law in Israel.

Parashat Va’era: Israel, Redemption, and That Fifth Cup of Wine

January 23, 2017

Was redemption complete when the sea closed over the pursuing Egyptians and we were finally on our own in the desert? Or was it still a work in progress, awaiting the final stage, national sovereignty in our own land? The question of four cups or five can be seen as not just hairsplitting, but as a deep question about freedom, responsibility, and the meaning of Israel.

Vayigash: Reconciliation of a Family - and a Nation

January 4, 2017

As we see from the Haftarah, which fortifies the messages of the Torah portion, one must work to create the proper conditions to bring people closer through נגישות. The messages are timely, for today alienation, despair and hopelessness reign strong. 

The Z: Progressive Zionism Reimagined

December 27, 2016

There is power in names. As United States Supreme Court Justice Reinhart says in overturning Proposition 8: “A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but to the couple desiring to enter into a committed lifelong relationship, a marriage by the name if ‘registered domestic partnership’ does not.” There are many ways to describe American Jewish relationships to Israel, but none are quite so potent as naming and claiming that connection across nations and cultures as “Zionism.” In short, I am a Zionist because I believe that there is immense power in the “Z word.” 

Israel: A Relationship in the Making

December 27, 2016

Growing up, Israel was always projected upon me (a certain vision of Israel was always presented to me). It was a magical place with great food, sacred sites, and a thriving Jewish culture. But I never truly understood why I should build a personal relationship with a country halfway around the world. As I reflect upon my three unique experiences in Israel, I appreciate how each one gave me a special connection to the Jewish state. It includes a deep connection and commitment to building Jewish community, appreciating differences in understandings of Judaism, utilizing leadership to serve people, expanding my Jewish education, and pursuing social justice for all people.

Relationship Status: Complicated

December 27, 2016

The year living in Jerusalem as an HUC-JIR student, showed me yet another side of Israel. Regularly interacting with Israelis at the grocery store, post office, in the shuk, in the Settlements, at the Kotel, both with Women of the Wall and without, helped me realize that Israel is a country like any other. The day-to-day lives of Israelis echo our day-to-day lives, their serious and not-so-serious problems resemble ours, their happiness fluctuates just as ours does, and just like my fellow American citizens, the people of Israel are not all the same

ARZA’s Response to UN Security Council Resolution 2334

December 25, 2016

I'm A Zionist Because....

December 22, 2016

When asked why I am a Zionist, my standard response is generally about Jewish public culture in the State of Israel or providing liberal religious alternatives and promoting pluralism, acceptance, and democracy.
 

The Other Kotel Bill

December 21, 2016

ARZA vigorously opposes the “other Kotel” bill, which would ban Jewish expression as embraced by the majority of North America’s Jews at Judaism’s holiest site.

On Sunday, December 18, Knesset lawmakers endorsed legislation that would outlaw practices deemed “offensive” throughout the entire area around the Western Wall.  Under the proposed bill, violators would be punished by six months in jail or a 10,000 shekel ($2,600) fine.

Parashat Vayeshev: Unsettling

December 21, 2016

...The moral lesson is that just as strangers must not take for granted their right to live in their host country, so Jews must not take for granted their entitlement to the Holy Land not even after they have settled there...

Israel on Fire

November 28, 2016

What you need to know about the Fires ravaging Israel

ARZA Condemns Vandalism and Incitement against Kehilat Ra'anan and Reform Jewish Leaders

November 24, 2016

The Association of Reform Zionists of America condemns the shocking act of hate and violence against Kehilat Ra’anan in Ra’anana on Thursday. We send our loving support to all our friends in the Reform community there, and we call upon the police to swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice. We demand that all of Israel’s leaders condemn the climate of incitement that makes an act like this possible.

 

 

Hayei Sarah—Isaac & Ishmael: Hebron’s Complicated Legacy

November 21, 2016

Around fifteen years ago I saw a documentary called What I Saw in Hebron, made by a descendant of a Jewish family who had lived in Hebron for generations until they fled after the riots in 1929. The film layered reminiscences of Jewish survivors with a cinema verité-style documentation of the few hundred current Jewish settlers (and almost as many soldiers who guard them against the 40,000 Palestinian residents of the city).  

ARZA Statement on Steve Bannon and Two-State Solution

November 16, 2016

ARZA joins Reform Movement Partners in Deep Concern about Steve Bannon and Calls upon President-elect Trump to Support a Two-State Solution

Diaspora-Israel Day

November 7, 2016

November 8th this year is an exciting day! The start of something big!

ARZA is delighted to share this wonderful anthology of “Diaspora-Israel Day” materials from our partners at the Israel Movement for Reform & Progressive Judaism

A Moment of Kavanah: November 2, 2016 at the Western Wall

November 3, 2016

...Working with the Women of the Wall, bringing in the Torah scrolls, demanding equality, justice, and that the Government of Israel fulfill its negotiated promises, at that spot and at that time, we took a stand against the forces of oppression, against those trying to refuse us our prayer space

Don't Give Darkness the Final Word: Parashat Noah

November 1, 2016

It all seems so delightfully innocent when our youngsters sing of Noah and the Flood: “And Noah, he built him, he built him an arky, arky…,” together with that wondrously optimistic conclusion: “Everything is hunky dory, dory, children of the Lord!”

But there is a darkness throughout the Flood account...

Difficult Conversations

November 1, 2016

Balancing Beautiful and Ugly.

The World is changing and so are we. Today we are confronted with difficult questions and we must have difficult conversations. But we don't have to do them alone.

Israel Tried to Ban Porn? ARZA Opposes Another Knesset Limitation on Liberty

October 31, 2016

Why the Knesset’s first draft of the Anti-Porn bill is an affront to Democracy and Freedom in Israel…and why ARZA is Speaking Out Against It

Yom Kippur in Jerusalem

September 22, 2016

It is a powerful feeling to observe the holiest days of the year in the Holy Land. A few years later, here's a reflection on the experience.

Anat Hoffman's Prayer for Israel

September 21, 2016

In this sacred moment, give us hope for Israel and her future.  

Finally at Home: Cincinnati Jews at the Kotel, Summer 2016

September 20, 2016

Rabbi Lewis and Renee Kamrass share their experience praying at the Western Wall Plaza with an egalitarian minyan. This is their account of that Shabbat afternoon and the profound impact it has had on their lives. 

The King is in the Field: Lessons of Elul

September 6, 2016

For one month of the year, the month of Elul, we are responsible for deep introspection, with the goal of arriving at Rosh Hashanah, fully aware of ourselves, what we have done, what we want to do, and where we are going. Elul is our time to connect to Israel---ourselves, our people, and our land.