Jewish Pluralism

We note with satisfaction the resolution adopted by the 29th World Zionist Congress endorsing the principle of Jewish pluralism and calling upon the State of Israel "to put into practice the principle of assuring full rights, including equal recognition, for all rabbis and equal assistance to all the trends in Judaism." This resolution has borne fruit in the recent decision by the Tel Aviv Municipal Council to grant a parcel of land to the Kedem Reform Congregation for the purpose of building a synagogue.

We applaud the leaders of ARZA--Association of Reform Zionists of America--Kadima ,and the World Union for Progressive Judaism for their contributions toward the realization of these landmark breakthroughs.

Despite these advantages, however significant, Reform Judaism continues to suffer second-class status in Israel. Reform rabbis can neither officiate at weddings nor conduct funerals for their synagogue members. Converts accepted by Reform rabbis in Israel are not registered as Jews. Unlike Orthodox institutions, which are supported almost totally by government funds, our synagogues and programs receive almost no public assistance, although the major portion of funds contributed to Israel by Jews throughout the world comes from non-Orthodox Jews.

To further the cause of authentic Jewish pluralism in the Jewish State and to participate in the upbuilding of a strong Israel Reform Judaism, we call upon the Board of Trustees of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations to provide all the means necessary for a judicial test of the rights of Reform rabbis before the Israeli courts. We also call upon our congregations to:

  1. Conduct ongoing campaigns to enlist new members for ARZA and Kadima. A membership of 50,000 individuals prior to the next Zionist Congress two years hence is a precondition for consolidating gains already made and moving toward new advances in the struggle for full rights and recognition; and
  2. Participate fully in fund-raising efforts for Reform institutions in Israel, particularly those of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and the $5.00 Per Family Campaign for Reform Judaism in Israel.

We affirm also that our participation in building a strong Israel Reform Judaism cannot be limited to fund-raising and political activities alone. Our human resources are more valuable to Israel than our material resources. We are proud of the aliyah activities conducted under the auspices of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, particularly Garin Arava and Garin Netzer. We salute the young pioneers of Kibbutz Yahel, who are our proudest portion in the State of Israel, and pledge our solidarity with them as they toil to build their home in the desert.