45th General Assembly
We Reform Jews--ideologically and programmatically, as individuals, as congregations, and as a movement--have manifested our commitment to the State of Israel and its future.
Despite this commitment, Reform Judaism has remained outside the organizational framework of Zionism. The World Zionist Organization is today one forum in which broad segments of Israeli and Diaspora Jewry have constructive dialogue. Until this day, the only voices in that worldwide Zionist forum affecting programs, funding, the quality of Jewish life, and education have been those of Orthodoxy and of secularism. The time has come for Reform Judaism to join in this dialogue. The UAHC Board of Trustees has created an opportunity for such dialogue by establishing, subject to ratification by this biennial, national affiliates of the Union to be known in the United States as ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists of America) and in Canada as Kadima. The purpose of these affiliates would be "to seek individual members from amongst our congregations and to seek full voting membership in the World Zionist Organization through its territorial bodies, the American Zionist Federation and the Canadian Zionist Federation."
By giving Reform Judaism a full voice in the councils of the World Zionist Organization, the proposed new affiliates will enable us as Reform Jews to communicate more effectively our concerns regarding Israel and the Jewish future, in particular the status of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism. It will also increase the potential for a more equitable distribution of funds allocated in Israel and throughout the world for educational and cultural projects. The affiliates would add to the deliberations of world Jewry a flexibility to meet the needs of each generation and the combination of prophetic ideology and relevant action that is the cornerstone of Reform Judaism.
Within our own ranks, ARZA and Kadima will provide the long-awaited vehicles for those who have been frustrated in seeking a channel for their Zionist commitment.
The Board recognized that there are members of our Union who may not wish to seek affiliation with ARZA or Kadima. As is the case with all UAHC affiliates, membership in either is voluntary. Since diversity is an essential strength of Reform Judaism, nonmembership in these affiliates will in no way reflect upon any UAHC member's commitment to our Union.
THEREFORE, this Biennial Assembly ratifies the action of the UAHC Board of Trustees, which established ARZA and Kadima. In so doing, we reaffirm the essential freedom of choice of our individual members to join the new affiliates.
We call upon this 54th General Assembly to add the strength of Reform Judaism to the organized councils of world Zionism in order to implement one of the primary purposes of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, as set forth in Article II, paragraph D of our Constitution, which reads "to enrich and strengthen the State of Israel as a vibrant exemplar of eternal Jewish values."