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.
Why Join ARZA Canada?
Why Join ARZA Canada... because (a) your membership gives increased voting power in Israel at the World Zionist Congress and (b) your dues finance Israel engagement programs in Canadian Reform congregations and support Reform initiatives in Israel.
ARZA Canada is the Zionist organization of the Reform Movement, a volunteer led association that reaches out to all Reform Jews in Canada to help foster a better understanding of Israel and to support the Reform Movement in Israel. It is a vital part of our Movement as no matter what our political views are, Israel is a central part of our identity.
Reform Zionism can be interpreted to be many things to many people, even within our congregations. Now, 67 years after the establishment of the state, we need to work to support the democracy and to ensure that Israel is a place that embraces Jews of all backgrounds and streams in a pluralistic and egalitarian environment. Zionism today is not necessarily about making aliyah, but is about understanding what Israeli society is today and how it can be improved in the future. It is also about visiting Israel to see what an amazing country it is.
ARZA Canada is part of the international Reform Zionist group called ARZENU. The strength in membership numbers in all affiliates from around the world has a direct bearing on the resources and political power that the Israeli Reform Movement has at the World Zionist Organization and other government agencies in Israel. Proudly the Israeli Reform movement, now with 45 congregations, is achieving growing recognition and influence in Israel. But it needs our support, both financially and as partners.
Please make sure that you join ARZA Canada through your annual dues invoice, if available, or by direct registration on our website at www.arzacanada.org. Your dues of only $18 per person or $36 per family support both Israel education programs in Canadian Reform congregations and the work of the Reform Movement in Israel.
We, at ARZA Canada, need your support to help the Reform Movement in Israel (IMPJ) to continue their effort to ensure Israel grows as a pluralistic and democratic Jewish state, one that we as Reform Jews feel shares our values. We invite you to join us in demonstrating your active commitment to Israel and to the values of the Reform Movement in Israel. Your membership is critical.
Miriam Pearlman, President
ISRAEL THROUGH THE ARTS:
ARZA CANADA TOUR
Led by Rabbi Lawrence & Cheryl Englander
This will be a special tour of Israel, off the beaten track, designed to express Israeli culture through our interacting with artists and their work. We’ll enjoy exploring Israel from the Galilee to Gedera, and we’ll meet with singer-songwriters, authors, dancers, painters, craftspeople, actors, chefs and (of course) winemakers – both Jewish and non-Jewish – each of them showing what is uniquely Israeli about their art.
This tour will also provide us with a first-hand experience of the Israeli Reform Movement. We’ll visit Reform synagogues to join them in Shabbat prayer and we’ll dialogue with members of the leadership of the Israel Movement for Progressive and Reform Judaism.
Our aim is to return home with a deeper understanding of Israeli culture, an even stronger love for the State of Israel, and a firm commitment to help its citizens build the multicultural and democratic state that makes us all proud. Everyone is welcome!
Dates: March 30-April 10, 2016
Deadline for Registration: October 31, 2015
Itinerary: See the Arza World website at
ISRAEL: WHAT CAN WE DO?
By Rabbi Yael Splansky,
Senior Rabbi of Holy Blossom Temple
Last summer’s Gaza War was an intense battle to protect the body of Israel; this summer has sparked an internal battle for Israel’s soul. In June, Jewish terrorists set fire to the Galilee Church of Loaves and Fishes. In July, a woman was arrested for carrying a Torah to the Kotel and David Azoulay, Israel’s Minister of Religious Services, questioned whether Reform Jews are Jews at all. Early August brought news of murder. One Jewish terrorist slashed his way through Israel’s Pride Parade, killing 16-year-old Shira Banki, while others set fire to the Dawabsha family home in the West Bank village of Duma, killing baby Ali and father Saad.
For the rest of this article, please click here.
A TALE OF TWO EUROPES
Rabbi Lawrence Englander
The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) is charged with strengthening relationships between the State of Israel and Diaspora communities. At a recent meeting of the JAFI Board of Governors, we heard two presentations on the Jewish communities in Europe and the prospects for their future. These two "tales" gave me two distinct perspectives on the relationship between the State of Israel and Jewish communities throughout the world.
The first tale gave the story of a population in crisis. It reminded us of the recent anti-semitic attack on the Jewish-owned grocery store in Paris. This tale pointed out that the attack was not an isolated incident; in fact, there were twice as many anti-semitic incidents in France in 2014 as there were in the previous year. We were informed that one of the causes of this increase is the alarming rate of unemployment in France and the resultant unrest. As a result, several thousand French Jews have made Aliyah to Israel, and thousands more -- especially young people -- have attended extended programmes in Israel or have made inquiries about making Aliyah. The tellers of this tale projected that Israel could expect up to 20,000 more Olim in the year 2016. French Jewry was graphically depicted as a community in crisis. Click here for the rest of the Tale.
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