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The Need for Progressive Zionism in Light of Charlottesville

It is not unreasonable to be moved to support the Jewish State when swastika-clad men march through the streets chanting “blood and soil.” It is not unreasonable to look toward Israel when anti-Semitic rallies have historically led to violence against Jews. And it is not unreasonable to want the Israel that we look toward to embody the values of democracy, fairness, and equality. That is why now is precisely the time to support Progressive Zionism.

A Love Letter to Israel on Tu B'Av

My dearest Israel, you have hurt me, but I will continue to show my love by fighting to make you the best state you can be.

Pluralism in Israel – Our Facts on the Ground

Look: religious pluralism, like all of Israel’s civic battles, will be fought with “facts on the ground.” The Kotel is important, as are all of our legislative fights for recognition. But it is also our responsibility to invest in the Israel that we want to see emerge—and that means investing in communities like Natan-Ya, to make the case for a thriving non-Orthodox alternative for Israelis. It can't just be about legislative battles: we have to build the Jewish alternative that we want to see.

My big gay Jewish family

Concern in Israel for children adopted into LGBTQ homes is thinly veiled homophobia--take it from someone who actually lived in one.

Why the Backlash?

Why are extremist ultra-Orthodox political parties flexing their muscle at this time? Why the onslaught of regressive, intolerant and anti-egalitarian actions? Because we are growing—and they are scared.

Blacklisting: Historical Anti-Semitism Come Alive Today

As Israel’s Chief Rabbinate proved this week, the impulse to blacklist Jews is nauseatingly present today. With our own state, we no longer need non-Jewish governments to employ this practice –we will do it to ourselves.

On Being Intelligently Pro-Israel

If we do not teach open-mindedness, tolerance, active listening, and an ability to seek out multiple viewpoints as essential tools in the Israel education process, then we are setting our students up to fail. We must provide young people with access to as much information about Israel (including its beauty and its blemishes) as possible in order to allow for independent thinking and individual conclusion drawing.

 

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.

Even More Taking Back the Z From Arza

The Need for Progressive Zionism in Light of Charlottesville

August 21, 2017

It is not unreasonable to be moved to support the Jewish State when swastika-clad men march through the streets chanting “blood and soil.” It is not unreasonable to look toward Israel when anti-Semitic rallies have historically led to violence against Jews. And it is not unreasonable to want the Israel that we look toward to embody the values of democracy, fairness, and equality. That is why now is precisely the time to support Progressive Zionism.

A Love Letter to Israel on Tu B'Av

August 7, 2017

My dearest Israel, you have hurt me, but I will continue to show my love by fighting to make you the best state you can be.

Pluralism in Israel – Our Facts on the Ground

July 20, 2017

Look: religious pluralism, like all of Israel’s civic battles, will be fought with “facts on the ground.” The Kotel is important, as are all of our legislative fights for recognition. But it is also our responsibility to invest in the Israel that we want to see emerge—and that means investing in communities like Natan-Ya, to make the case for a thriving non-Orthodox alternative for Israelis. It can't just be about legislative battles: we have to build the Jewish alternative that we want to see.

My big gay Jewish family

July 20, 2017

Concern in Israel for children adopted into LGBTQ homes is thinly veiled homophobia--take it from someone who actually lived in one.

Why the Backlash?

July 14, 2017

Why are extremist ultra-Orthodox political parties flexing their muscle at this time? Why the onslaught of regressive, intolerant and anti-egalitarian actions? Because we are growing—and they are scared.

Blacklisting: Historical Anti-Semitism Come Alive Today

July 11, 2017

As Israel’s Chief Rabbinate proved this week, the impulse to blacklist Jews is nauseatingly present today. With our own state, we no longer need non-Jewish governments to employ this practice –we will do it to ourselves.

ARZA Statement on the Kotel Crisis and Conversion Bill: Two Attempts to Disenfranchise Non-Orthodox Jews

June 26, 2017

We call upon the Israeli government and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resume their commitment to establishing a Kotel for all, and to reject the conversion bill that would hand more unfettered powered to the ultra-Orthodox political parties and Chief Rabbinate. We call upon synagogues in every religious stream, Federations, and all Jews to demand that Israel enact measures to be open and inclusive to all forms of Jewish expression in the face of antidemocratic forces from within the government and society at large.

Start a 'Seventh Day' Conversation in Your Community

June 19, 2017

Want to bring ARZA learning about the Six Day War to your community?  

In six days, Israel won a war that would ensure its survival. 
But what happened on the seventh day, after the war was won? 

Take a look at these excellent resources for learning about the Six Day War in your community. 

Book Review: Israel's Moral Decline Pushed This Liberal Zionist to Embrace BDS

May 25, 2017

In his memoir, 'No Country for Jewish Liberals,' journalist and Haaretz editor Larry Derfner explains how he can live – and sleep at night – in a country whose racism and aggression he abhors.

The Seventh Day: Israel at a Crossroads on the 50th Anniversary of the Six Day War

May 23, 2017

Register now for an afternoon of learning on the complex legacy of the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War and what it means for Israel and the Jewish community. Featuring a concert by Banot!

Jerusalem, a Fractured Unity: Yom Yerushalayim 5777

May 23, 2017

A vision of heavenly Jerusalem floats above it all, reminding us that this is not the way it is meant to be.  Jerusalem also carries a whiff of peace—as ‘ir shalom, the city of wholeness.  The reality may be painful and fractured, but the ideal is that we should learn how to pray and live side by side with one another.

Reconciling Victory and Inequality, Triumph and Struggle: Fifty Years After the Six Day War

May 18, 2017

On June 11th in New York City, join us for "The Seventh Day: Israel at a Crossroads on the 50th Anniversary of the Six Day War. Enrich your understanding of the relationship between contemporary Israel and the Diaspora as we honestly and openly ask: where are we as we mark these 50 years, where do we need to go, and how will we get there? 

The New “Nationality Law” Defines Israel as a Jewish State. What Could be Wrong with That?

May 8, 2017

On Sunday, May 7, a Knesset committee approved a long-gestating “Nationality Bill” that would certify as a Basic Law that Israel is, indeed, the world’s Jewish State. Why would any Zionist oppose a law that is such a no-brainer?

Oslo on Broadway: The Long Shorter Road

April 13, 2017

“There is a short road that is actually long, and a long road that is actually short.”

—a young boy to Rabbi Yehoshua, Talmud, Eruvin 53b

The play Oslo opened this week on Broadway: a timely, talky drama set in 1993 during the secret talks between Israelis and the Palestinian Liberation Organization...

The AIPAC drinking game

April 4, 2017

Memo to liberal, non-Orthodox Jews (as well as Jewish liberals): if fervent support for Israel becomes largely limited to a. Republicans and b. Orthodox Jews, then we will have massive challenges. Support for Israel will become an ideological ghetto.

That’s the sobering news.

On Being Intelligently Pro-Israel

If we do not teach open-mindedness, tolerance, active listening, and an ability to seek out multiple viewpoints as essential tools in the Israel education process, then we are setting our students up to fail. We must provide young people with access to as much information about Israel (including its beauty and its blemishes) as possible in order to allow for independent thinking and individual conclusion drawing.

 

Dreams Deferred: The Resource We’ve Been Waiting for to Respond to BDS

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.” 

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

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.