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Israel Engagement
Israel Engagement
We are all a part of a people, of a nation, and we all have a stake in Israel’s future. - Rabbi Josh Weinberg

NEWLY FOCUSED

In June 2018, the URJ became the first religious organization to formally adopt the Jerusalem Program, the official policy platform of the World Zionist Congress. Adopting the platform serves to identify the Reform Movement formally and explicitly as a Zionist movement and the URJ has created a new top-level staff position, Vice President for Israel and Reform Zionism to staff this new focus. Filling this role is Rabbi Josh Weinberg, an energetic leader with a clear vision for the next generation of Reform Zionism. Since 2013, Rabbi Weinberg has served as President of ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, providing powerful leadership and perfectly positioning him to lead the strategic coordination and alignment of the URJ’s Israel work. Rabbi Weinberg will be a key leader of the Reform Movement’s efforts heading into the 2020 World Zionist Congress election. The impact of Reform Israel-focused programs will be expanded in a more streamlined way with the operations of ARZA combining with those of the URJ.

GOALS

  1. To increase each Reform Jew’s relationship with Israel and make Israel a core component of every Reform Jew’s identity.
  2. To recommit the North American Reform Movement to Zionist ideals and to leverage our combined resources devoted to the cause, including formally and explicitly identifying the Reform Movement as a Zionist Movement
  3. To increase financial and political support for, and to grow, the Reform Movement in Israel.
  4. To strengthen the Reform Movement’s standing in Israeli society and in her political system, including Israeli National Institutions (such as the WZO, KKL, JAFI).
  5. To provide for more effective Israel advocacy in North America and Israel.  

Strategies to Achieve the New Goals

  • Making Israel a core component of every American Reform Jew’s identity by increasing connection with Israel through expanded and enhanced Israel education, engagement, and activism.
  • Implementing a coordinated strategy and comprehensive plan for Israel across the North American Reform Movement, including URJ congregations, URJ camps, Israel programming, and Reform Israel experiences.
  • Increasing the American Reform Zionist movement’s delegate numbers in the  2020 World Zionist Congress elections by leveraging all the resources of the Union in a coordinated effort to improve election results.
  • Strengthening the Reform Movement’s voice within Israeli National Institutions (WZO, 2 KKL, JAFI), the Israeli political system, and Israeli society.
  • Increasing the North American Reform movement’s financial and political support for the Israeli Reform Movement (IMPJ).
  • Advocating for Reform interests and values in Israel, Washington, D.C., and Ottawa (through U.S. and Canadian foreign policy).
  • To create a central address for the North American Reform Movement on all issues relating to Israel in close partnership with the CCAR, HUC-JIR, and the other organizations that comprise the Reform Movement.

ISRAEL AND REFORM ZIONISM COMMITTEE

A new leadership committee, the Israel and Reform Zionism Committee (IRZC), advises and supports the URJ’s Movement-wide Israel work. URJ Chair Daryl Messinger has appointed Gary Perlin, a long-time supporter of the Israel Religious Action Center and the Reform Movement in Israel to be the IRZC Chair. Perlin has recently retired as the Chief Financial Officer of Capital One Financial Corporation, and earlier served as CFO of the World Bank. Rabbi Bennett Miller, past Chair of ARZA, member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel, and recently retired as the senior rabbi of Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, NJ, will serve as IRZC Co-Chair.   

ARZA - The Reform Israel Fund is a 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.


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While Israel continues to inspire us on many fronts, the challenges it and the Jewish world face today are significant. To meet these challenges, we need to delve more deeply into the issues and do what Jewish tradition teaches: turn study into action. 

ARZA

ARZA The Reform Israel Fund

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 Canada

ARZA Canada

ARZA Canada reaches out to all Reform Jews in Canada to help foster a better understanding of Israel and to support the Reform Movement in Israel.

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Community Organizing

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