Reform Zionism can be interpreted to be many things to many people, even within our congregations. Now, over 65 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 environment. Zionism today is not only 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.
Our Mission As Progressive Zionists
by Rabbi Lawrence A. Englander, Rabbi of Solel Congregation of Mississauga, Ontario Canada, and President-Elect of Arzenu
My rabbinical class was the first to spend our first year of studies in Israel. When we arrived in the summer of 1970, Hebrew Union College was a small but impressive building at 13 King David Street which had served, up till that time, as headquarters for the archaeological school. But the President, Rabbi Nelson Glueck, had grander plans. During that year, we witnessed the opening of a Mo’adon (lounge) down the hill, where we had our coffee break and attended special lectures.
Since that time, HUC has grown into an extensive campus that houses, among other things:
- Classrooms and cafeteria for HUC students, along with a beautiful library and museum
- A pre-school programme housed in that same Mo’adon
- The offices of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, the nerve-centre of Reform Jewish life in Israel
- The offices of Arzenu and the World Union for Progressive Judaism, headquarters for Reform communities around the world
- The offices of the Israel Religious Action Centre, whose staff work tirelessly to promote civil rights and democratic values
- Bet Shmuel and Merkaz Shimshon, buildings that host Progressive Diaspora groups who come to meet and study.
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