ARZA Canada, strengthening ties of Reform Jews to Israel
ARZA Canada is an affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism and its Canadian Council. We are a member organization of ARZENU, the International Association of Reform Zionists, and the Canadian Zionist Federation. With over 6,000 members, our mandate is to connect with Reform communities throughout Canada, foster connections with and strengthen our ties to the Reform Movement in Israel, and work to realize the vision of Reform Zionism.
The Mishna says it is not our task to finish the job, but rather to move the process forward. As I take the mantle of President and as we move forward together to do the holy work of ARZA Canada as a new Board, we will do so by standing on the shoulders of the giants who have come before us.
On behalf of all Reform Zionists, all members of ARZA Canada, together we express our heartfelt thank you to Les Rothschild, now Immediate Past President. His passion and tireless effort on our behalf have been recognized by the many tributes that poured in from key players in the world of international progressive Judaism, saying what we all felt, that Les is a true "mensch" and a "chaver". I know you join me in wishing Les well as he moves on to serve on the Executive Board of World Union of Progressive Judaism (WUPJ). If you are so inclined, may I suggest that you show your admiration and appreciation for Les by making a donation to ARZA Canada in his honour, via Canadian Friends of WUPJ (at CanadaHelps.org). Here is the link. Please choose IMPJ Nursery School as the fund and indicate in the message box, "In honour of ARZA Canada Immediate Past President, Les Rothschild".
I look forward to working with you and all of our Canadian Reform congregations as well as our affiliate organizations that support Reform Judaism and Reform Zionism, both in Canada and in Israel. Together we can strengthen our organization through participation from all our Canadian Reform congregations with 100% membership in ARZA Canada.
Here are my five goals for ARZA Canada as incoming President:
(1) To support and promote Israel engagement and Israel travel in our Canadian Reform congregations
(2) To work with IMPJ and IRAC to support the growth of Progressive Judaism in Israel
(3) To help our movement in Israel work for a Jewish, pluralistic, just and democratic society
(4) To serve as the voice of Reform Zionists in Canada and advocate for Israel in the wider community
(5) To represent Canadian Reform Jews in national and international Zionist organizations (CZF, WZO)
Thank you for your support and for your belief in me as your new President. I am both humbled and excited about the opportunities ahead.
ARZA Canada, President
May 5, 2015
ט"ז אייר תשע"ה
ARZENU, the global Reform Zionist organization, has called on the Government of Israel to reconsider and change its policy towards the non-Jewish asylum seekers and refugees seeking protection in the Jewish State, particularly in light of the news that 3 of them, effectively deported from Israel, have been killed by the so-called Islamic State in Libya.“During a visit to Israel to participate in meetings of the World Zionist Congress and the Jewish Agency we were invited to visit the Holot Detention camp in the Negev that houses African men who have fled to Israel from Eritrea and Darfur. The young men whom we met told us that they had agreed to go there in order to expedite the processing of their applications for asylum following years of living in limbo in Israel” said ARZENU Chair, Rabbi Lawrence Englander of Toronto.
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The Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, its rabbis and communities express deep sorrow for the difficult events which have taken place in recent days as a result of the Israeli Ethiopian community’s protest. Alongside our unequivocal condemnation of expressions of violence, we express our sympathy with the pain and cry of a large and important population in Israeli society which is justly protesting against discrimination, a sense of alienation and exclusion and grave social and community distress. We call upon the Israeli government and authorities to act with great sensitivity, restraint and a constant effort to dialogue and calming the atmosphere. We stand by the public leaders and activists who are working to lead a strong and meaningful demonstration, all the while restraining from the use of violence.
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