Learn more about this exciting new platform, where Reform congregational leaders connect with colleagues and peers who have similar concerns, interests and responsibilities.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lauren Theodore at 212-650-4154
NEW YORK, October 14, 2015 – When the 37th World Zionist Congress (WZC) convenes in Jerusalem next week, the Reform Movement will be represented by the largest American delegation. The Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) slate won the WZC election this summer by a wide margin—more than the amount of the next two slates combined—and is in a strong position to advocate for progressive policies in Israel at this critical time.
Known as the Parliament of the Jewish people, the World Zionist Congress is the democratic body of the Jewish people worldwide, debating significant political, religious, and educational issues. The body allocates hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for the work of the Jewish Agency and other organizations within Israel and around the world.
“Especially now, as Israel experiences a round of terror of new and frightening dimensions, the URJ is honored to be part of this formidable delegation at the WZC, a global gathering of the Jewish people,” said Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs. “Our deep commitment to the people and the State of Israel is matched only by our desire to play a role in helping create a more religiously pluralistic, just, and peaceful society.”
WZC resolutions will be presented, debated, and voted upon on such vital issues as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, settlement growth, the status of democracy and religious pluralism in Israel, egalitarian prayer at the Kotel, the religious rights of Israel’s non-Orthodox Jews, the rights of Israel’s LGBT community, and current Israeli policy concerning asylum seekers from Africa and Syria.
This year’s American ARZA delegation includes 56 seats out of a possible 145, the largest delegation from North America. The diverse group includes a cohort of young leaders, and representatives from several streams of progressive Judaism. Among the delegates are senior members of Reform Movement leadership including URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs; URJ Chair Nominee Daryl Messinger; NFTY (Reform Jewish Youth Movement) President Jeremy Cronig; Central Conference of American Rabbis Chief Executive Rabbi Steven Fox; Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism Rabbi Jonah Pesner; and ARZA President Rabbi Joshua Weinberg. Reconstructionist Movement leadership delegates include Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Jewish Reconstructionist Communities President Rabbi Dr. Deborah Waxman; and Reconstructionist Rabbinical College Board of Governors Chair David Roberts.
The ARZA delegation is part of the larger ARZENU delegation, which includes an additional 22 delegates from Canada, South America, Europe, Australia, and other locales.
“As we begin our joint work as a Congress, the success of the campaign platform we advanced, together with the Reconstructionist Movement, gives us great confidence that our delegation will influence the resulting policies and help strengthen the fundamental democratic principles of the State of Israel,” said ARZA President Rabbi Joshua Weinberg. “We look forward to the strong debates on these important issues as we advocate for a more progressive, egalitarian, and democratic Israel.”
Follow news and updates from ARZA’s WZC delegation:
About the Union for Reform Judaism
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is a dynamic network of Reform Jewish congregations, lay leaders, clergy, and professionals, which represents the largest and fastest growing constituency of Jews in North America. Our progressive, inclusive approach unites thousands of years of Jewish tradition and values with modern Jewish experience to strengthen Judaism today and for future generations. Through programs, consultations, resources, and networking opportunities provided by the URJ, we help strengthen our nearly 900 member congregations, welcome spiritual seekers through audacious hospitality, engage Jewish youth, deepen Jewish learning, energize worship, pursue tikkun olam(social justice), connect with Israel, and develop inspired leadership. Enjoy related content at ReformJudaism.org and connect with the URJ on Twitter andFacebook.
The Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) was established in 1978 after nearly 50 years of growing identification by Reform Jews with the national aspirations of the Jewish people and ultimately with the State of Israel. As the Zionist arm of the Reform Movement, ARZA is proud to represent the United States at the World Zionist Congress. ARZA strengthens and enriches the Jewish identity of Reform Jews in the United States by ensuring that a connection with Eretz Yisrael is a fundamental part of that identity. ARZA is the single largest supporter of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) and the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC). ARZA also provides educational materials about Israel and Zionism for Reform congregations, assists in bringing Reform Jews to Israel, and provides pre- and post-trip programming for congregations and individuals in order to enhance their Israel experience.