The leadership of the North American Reform Movement will travel to Israel next month to demonstrate the Movement's unconditional support of the State of Israel and the Israeli people.
Aliyat Nefesh: A Spiritual Pilgrimage, scheduled from July 29 to August 3, is a joint mission with the leadership of every North American Reform organization. Congregational rabbis and leaders are also invited to participate.
The mission is designed to highlight the commitment of North America's largest Jewish religious movement to Israel and its continuing efforts to encourage adults to travel to there. Although trips for young teenagers were suspended this summer, visits by adults, college students, and older teenagers have continued unabated, including Reform participation in the Birthright program and congregational trips. Sixty-two Reform students will arrive in Jerusalem shortly to begin a year of study at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
"Reform Jews are committed to the mystery and wonder of the modern State of Israel," said Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the synagogue arm of the Reform Movement, who is spending two weeks in Israel this month and will return with the mission in July. "We are a religious movement, and our commitment to Israel is not conditional," he said.
Members of every Reform organization - including the UAHC, ARZA Canada, ARZA/World Union, NA, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Women of Reform Judaism, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the American Conference of Cantors, the National Association of Temple Administrators, the North American Federation of Temple Brotherhoods, and the National Association of Temple Educators - will participate in the mission.
Arrangements for the mission, which includes round-trip flight on El Al from New York, transportation in Israel, and three nights at the Inbal Hotel, will be handled by ARZA Travel. The deadline for registration is July 3, and the cost per applicant is $1160 plus taxes. Information about the trip is available at http://rj.org/mission.
The Union of American Hebrew Congregations is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, representing over 1.5 million Reform Jews in over 900 congregations. UAHC services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programming, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC.