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New York, NY; December 9, 2015 -- Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), and Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson, senior rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in New York City, hosted a group of area rabbis and lay leaders from the Reform Movement on December 8 for a discussion with Member of Knesset Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List, the third largest party in the Knesset.
In discussing his first year in the Knesset and his political goals for the future, MK Odeh stressed that "more democracy and social justice in Israel is in our shared interest."
Rabbi Jacobs commented on the meeting: "This is most appropriate at Hanukkah time, when we reflect on our commitment to tolerance in our increasingly intolerant world. When we extended this invitation to MK Odeh, we would never have thought that his very presence in the United States would be controversial. However, we met the day after Donald Trump disgraced himself by calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States. If Mr. Trump were to have his deeply offensive way, MK Odeh and all other Muslims would be barred from our 'land of the free.' Trump’s views offend the core teachings of Judaism and the fundamental values upon which the United States is based."
Rabbi Jacobs continued, "MK Odeh has an inspiring vision for a brighter future for Israelis and Palestinians. We were delighted to host MK Odeh in one of our leading houses of worship, to share with him the beauty, history, and activism of our Reform Movement and to discuss together our shared commitment to a vision of Israel that draws from the prophets of justice and righteousness for all."
About the Union for Reform Judaism
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) builds community at every level—from the way we collaborate with congregations, organizations, and individuals to how we make connections across North America to advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life. Providing vision and voice to transform the way people connect to Judaism, we help congregations stay adept and agile, motivate more young Jews to embrace Jewish living, agitate for a more progressive society, and foster meaningful connections to Israel.
Founded in 1873, URJ has grown into the most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with almost 900 member congregations and work that inspires millions of people. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision mean that we can unite thousands of years of tradition with a modern, evolving Judaism to strengthen Jewish communities today and for future generations.
Visit us at www.URJ.org to learn about our social justice initiatives, camps and programs for young Jews, services for congregations and communities, and how you can work with us to create a more just, whole, and compassionate world. Enjoy related content at ReformJudaism.org and connect with URJ on Twitter and Facebook.