Youth Leaders Write Israeli President Demanding Recognition of Reform Rabbis Whos Your Rabbi? Initiative Designed to Tell a Story and Fight for Equality
NEW YORK December 15, 2006 When Israeli President Moshe Katzav refused to call the president of the Union for Reform Judaism rabbi, Reform youth in North America decided they had to stand up, not only for Rabbi Eric Yoffie, but for all Reform Jews. So they have launched a campaign to gather thousands of letters about their own rabbinic leaders to send to Katsav.
The Whos Your Rabbi initiative, lead by the leadership of the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), calls upon Reform teens from across North America to take up arms to defend their rabbis right to recognition by Israeli government.
We think of our rabbis as leaders, teachers and friends, but most of all we think of them with respect, said Mark Swick, NFTY religious and cultural vice-president who plans to attend rabbinic school after he graduates from Indiana University. We ask the Israeli government to acknowledge this respect when they address our role models. Teens and adults are encouraged to visit the campaign website at www.nfty.org/rabbi and submit information about their rabbi.
Support of Israel is central to Reform Judaism and is one of NFTYs eight core values. Thousands of Reform teens have traveled to Israel through NFTY in Israel and learn Israeli history and culture during NFTY events in North America. This campaign is built to address these values through a discourse of respectful protest.
We consider ourselves part of the Jewish family, and when families disagree they must disagree with deference and dignity, said Swick. Whos Your Rabbi is meant to tell the personal stories of our side of the family.
Rabbi Eric Yoffie wished a Yasher koach (good job) to the NFTY leadership and the Reform Movements young people for creatively and thoughtfully tackling injustice in our world through the Whos Your Rabbi initiative. Using their own eloquent words and powerful experiences to paint a diverse, colorful and commanding portrait of North Americas Reform rabbinate, our NFTY-ites will, I am sure, bring attention and respect to our clergy, both in Israel and throughout the Diaspora, he said.
For more information on the Whos Your Rabbi and to see who has been featured, please visit www.nfty.org/rabbi.
The Union for Reform Judaism (formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations) is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues. Union services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, D.C.