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Contact: Lauren Theodore at 212-650-4154
New York, NY; November 3, 2017 - Statement from Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism:
As I said earlier this week, Birthright Israel has been, and continues to be, an extraordinary experience for countless young people. As a Movement we are proud to have contributed so much, with nearly four out of ten (37%) Birthright attendees self-identifying as Reform. We look forward to more young people engaging in this experience. It was in that context that we raised concerns about Birthright moving away from having participants engage with Israeli Arabs.
I was, therefore, glad to see a social media post by Birthright Israel CEO Gidi Mark confirming that Birthright is committed to continuing to engage in the critical work with the Arab citizenry of Israel in a productive and meaningful way. Birthright Education Committee Voluntary Lay Chair Gil Troy made a similar commitment in a letter to me. We look forward to seeking the best paths together to make all of this a reality.
Going forward, the URJ is looking for new and creative ways that work best to partner with Birthright Israel to ensure that Reform young people—and indeed, all young Jews from North America—have the benefit of a Birthright experience.
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 relevant and innovative, 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 largest and most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with nearly 900 member congregations and work that inspires, connects, and educates 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.