By Rabbi Yael Splansky.
This Friday night we welcome Rabbi Kinneret Shiryon, the Senior Rabbi of YOZMA, our sister congregation in Modiin, the vibrant community halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Rabbi Shiryon is a leading figure of the Reform Movement in Israel.
This Shabbat she’ll teach a little Torah and give insight into the current challenges and successes of Progressive Judaism in Israel today.
Rabbi Kinneret Shiryon
Kinneret Shiryon received her Rabbinical Degree (1981) and Masters in Hebrew Literature from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in New York and her Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley.(1977) She has lived in Israel since 1983 and was the first woman to serve as the rabbi of a congregation in the history of the State.
Rabbi Shiryon served as the rabbi of Kehillat Ramat Aviv for seven years.She was the founder and director of its “Generation to Generation” Outreach programs. Rabbi Shiryon also directed the University Student Outreach programs at U.R.J.’s International Department of Education in Jerusalem.
She is the founder of Mercaz Kehillati YOZMA – The Progressive Jewish Community Center of Modi’in. The word YOZMA means initiative in Hebrew, it is also the initials for the words: Yahadut Zmaneinu,Moreshet Ha’Am – Judaism of Today, The Heritage of the People. The goal of the center is to empower Israelis to take initiative in defining their Jewish lives. YOZMA established very successful pre-school and kindergarten programs and Rabbi Shiryon began tracks of informal Jewish education in the local elementary schools. YOZMA opened its formal elementary school in September 2006 and is proud of its 12 classes through the sixth grade.This year we are building our permanent Elementary School Building – the Ground Breaking will take place on the 8th of March. YOZMA provides meaningful and joyours religious services and is a dynamic spiritual center for Shabbat and holiday celebrations. YOZMA is also known for it’s cultural and family education programs and for its significant social action outreach programs.
Rabbi Shiryon was awarded Career Woman of the Year, 2000 for her outstanding contribution to the city of Modi’in.
In 2002, Rabbi Shiryon was elected chairperson of the Council of Progressive Rabbis in Israel (MARAM), where she served for two consequtive terms. The Israeli media highlighted her election by noting that Shiryon was the first woman to head one of the country’s rabbinical bodies.
In 2006, Rabbi Shiryon was awarded Doctor of Divinity for her 25 years of service as
Rabbi, by H.U.C. in Jerusalem and the YOZMA community honored her with a city wide celebration in Modiín. She completed a degree in Sprititual Guidance from H.U.C. – J.I.R. together with the pioneering group of graduates in 2008, and another degree in Talmudic Bibliotherapy in 2010.
In the Fall of 2010 Rabbi Shiryon was the guest congregational rabbi of Temple Sinai in Wellington, New Zealand for the High Holy Days through Simchat Torah.
Previous to her work for the U.R.J.. she was the Regional Director of ARZA in Tel Aviv for three years (1984-1987). Before moving to Israel she was the Director of the Department of Inter-religious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee in Los Angeles, California (1981 – 1983).
Over the years Rabbi Shiryon, together with the support of her spouse, Baruch Shiryon, has learned the art of juggling a rich and challenging career as a rabbi in Israel with raising four wonderful children: Ayelet, Erez, Inbar and Amichai. She is proud to be the grandmother of Ora and Carmel.