Last week, we traveled together to Israel and the Palestinian territories with a remarkable group of Black civil rights leaders and Reform Jewish leaders, including those who sit at the intersection of being Black and Jewish. We imagined that there would likely be bumps along the way, and there were. However, our group knew one another from our ongoing social justice and racial equity work in the United States, so there was a reservoir of goodwill and commonality that served us well.
Related Blog Posts on Israel
In meetings with the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli, and Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid, we discussed the crisis in Ukraine, the future of the Kotel, ensuring more funding and rights for non-Orthodox Jews, combatting racism, and stopping extremist violence against Palestinians, in addition to other pressing issues.
We joined Women of the Wall (WoW) for what were supposed to be services celebrated at the Kotel, the Western Wall. Unfortunately, rather than an experience in entry to sacred space, our students experienced what it means to be denied entry to sacred space.
The URJ is the largest Zionist organization in North America and after two years of COVID-19, a new government, and a growing Israeli Reform Movement, Israel needs us now more than ever. Israel needs our voices, our involvement, and our support. Infusing your congregation with an Israel commitment through an ARZA membership is a meaningful way to directly support the Jewish State.
On Sunday, Israel’s Knesset narrowly voted in Israel’s 36th government with Naftali Bennett as the nation’s 13th prime minister, unseating the incumbant Benjamin Netanyahu.
After four rounds of elections and over three years of uncertainty, we are close to the establishment of an Israeli government. The potential unity government is made up of many disparate parties from across the ideological spectrum.
The current wave of violence in Israel and Gaza is a heartbreaking human tragedy. The loss of innocent life (including that of children) rends the heart, destruction of homes and endemic fear defy the peace and security in which every human being deserves to live.
While some see this conflict in only stark black and white terms, it is intensely complex. To help navigate this complexity, we offer this resource guide, including material that may be helpful in laying out the context and nuances of this latest round of violence between Hamas and Israel.
As Reform Jews, we stand strongly together with our brothers and sisters in Israel. Over the past 48 hours, Hamas has launched a massive barrage of rocket fire on southern and central Israel. At last report, six Israeli civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands more - from Tel Aviv to Beersheba –are confined to bomb shelters. Innocent civilians in Gaza have fallen victim to this latest round of violence as well. Furthermore, the rapid escalation of violence within Israel's own borders between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel is a new, and deeply troubling, development. We pray that calm will be restored soon.
Today we celebrate Yom Yerushalayim, the anniversary of that fateful day in 1967 when the Israeli paratroopers reached the Western Wall and announced: "הר הבית בידנו" -- “The Temple Mount is in our Hands.” That moment ushered in the the promise for Jews everywhere, after years of dreaming and longing, to come and pray before this sacred space.