Semester in Israel Program for Jewish High School Students
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.
Strategies to Achieve the New Goals
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.