In Featured at HBT, Goodman, israelengagement

As you may be aware, Canada voted for a resolution at the United Nations last week that has been a major topic of conversation in the Jewish community. After a long-standing tradition of standing with Israel at the UN, Canada voted in favour of an anti-Israel resolution. This action was a surprise as it was the first time in over 10 years that Canada has voted this way. We understand there are many varied opinions surrounding this issue and we encourage you to use your voice to express them. The Israel Engagement Committee of Holy Blossom would like to bring to your attention a CIJA (Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs) campaign, which we support. Please take a few minutes and follow this link (https://cija.ca/UN-vote/) to learn more and share your voice. This CIJA initiative allows you to express your view to the government by choosing from a number of variations and tailor your letter to match your own voice of concern.

Ultimately, these resolutions do not aim to solve the conflict. They only serve to isolate Israel on the international political arena. I am reminded just how important it is to show our support for the State of Israel. Not only by voicing your opinion in opposition to the UN vote, but all the more so, by engaging with Israel’s issues on the ground.

As a Reform Jew, I am particularly interested in taking action and influencing positive change in Israel. Just as it is crucially important for you to share your voice with the Canadian government in regards to the UN vote, likewise, it is incumbent upon all of us to be the agent of change we’d like to see in the world. I’d like to bring to your attention two initiatives that are working towards strengthening Israeli society.

The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC)

The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) is the public and legal advocacy wing of the Israeli Reform Movement (Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism – IMPJ). Under Executive Director Anat Hoffman, the “IRAC’s core activities are focused on the following objectives:

  1. Fighting religious extremism and gender segregation in the public domain.
  2. Fighting racism and advancing a shared society between Jews and Arabs in Israel.
  3. Advancing religious freedom and dismantling the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate’s monopoly.
  4. Securing equal status for all streams of Judaism in Israel.”[1]

To learn more about how you can get involved with the important work of the IRAC, check out their website at https://www.irac.org/about-irac.

Hiddush Vision Statement:

As Reform Jews, the fight for religious pluralism in Israel is crucially important. I invite you to read and sign the following Vision Statement put forward by Hiddush; a non-partisan research organization, led by Uri Regev, who is an Israeli lawyer, Reform Rabbi and the founding director of IRAC. Hiddush “believes that fully realizing the promise of religious freedom will strengthen Israel both as a democracy and as a Jewish state, and will bolster Jewish peoplehood and Israel/Diaspora relationships.”[2] Since I arrived in Toronto, I have met with the Hiddush committee on several occasions and hope you will join me in signing this vision statement.

In the last few weeks, we have seen a violent anti-Israel protest at York University, a demonizing and isolating vote at the UN, and rockets fired into the land of Israel. We have the ability and the obligation to stand up for our homeland. I hope you will join me in supporting Israel by taking action now.

[1] https://www.irac.org/about-irac.

[2] http://hiddush.org/article-2187-0-Mission_Statement.aspx

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