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Rabbi Lawrence A. Englander

Rabbi Lawrence A. Englander

By Rivanne Sandler and Jeff Denaburg.

What is Reform Zionism? During a series of lectures, Rabbi Lawrence Englander took us on a journey through the Zionist movement in Israel from the 1950s to the present. He covered Religious Zionism from both the Right and Left and asked us to engage in an informed contemplation of Reform Zionism for the present age and how Reform Judaism can make a positive contribution in the challenges faced by the State of Israel. The lectures began with historical background and then posed some hard questions for the participants. For example, is there a Reform Zionist perspective on the question of occupation?

Rabbi Englander demonstrated the importance of being informed when offering opinions and recommendations.  For example, he explained how the U.N. views an occupying power – it’s morally neutral and is judged based on its actions relative to international law.  Reform Zionism – combining Reform Jewish values and depth of knowledge – can make a contribution to contemporary Zionist dialogue.

Rabbi Englander is Rabbi of Solel Congregation and incoming head of ARZENU, the International Federation of Reform & Progressive Religious Zionists.

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