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July 2021 ARZA Canada Magazine
Everything is easier when we do it together!
Thanks to your support and partnership, we surpassed our goal of raising $200,000 for the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism. And, at the same time, the Israel Movement conducted their own crowdfunding campaign and raised NIS 500,000 from Israelis.
Difficult Conversations About Israel
Many of our Rabbis and congregations in Canada have been helping us tackle the difficult conversations arising since the recent conflict in Israel.
Here is an upcoming presentation you might be interested in:
Anti-Semitism Anti-Racism Anti-Zionism: A conversation about the current moment
July 18, 2021, 3:00 PM ET
A collaboration between the leadership of Holy Blossom Temple's Anti-Racism Group, Interfaith Committee and Israel Committee.
Moderated by Rabbi Lea Mühlstein, Chair of ARZENU, Co-Senior Rabbi, The Ark Synagogue, London (pictured), In Conversation with Emily Albert and Dr. Karen Mock
The recent conflicts within Israel and between Israel and Gaza have created tension in many households, even as tensions were running high on social media and in friend groups around Jewish identity and support of Israel. The rabbis received calls from parents, distressed over the care and concern of their children with the Palestinian people while Israel was under attack, and from adult children, who felt under attack trying to navigate anti-Racism, anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in their own worlds.
This series of interviews, with two amazing members of Holy Blossom Temple, is designed to help paint a picture for the different generations of the world that each side sees on social media and in their friend groups -- and to talk about the pressure they feel across the generational divide.
Knesset member Gilad Kariv, an Israeli Reform Rabbi and lawyer, was appointed chair of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. On his first day in the role, he said, “Already this morning we'll start the intensive work of strengthening the defense of human rights and the democratic resilience of the State of Israel. I'll work for the benefit of all Israeli citizens, especially under-privileged communities and people suffering discrimination.”
The Committee's work to date has included extending the Corona Law, and revising the law permitting employers to force their workers to take unpaid vacation, which was used extensively during the pandemic.
Ultra-Orthodox MKs announced they will boycott the Constitution Committee because it is chaired by a Reform Jew. In response, Gilad Kariv tweeted, “A shame I can't also serve as chair of the Finance Committee.”
Attending the Pride parade in Tel Aviv, Kariv said, in response to Haredi condemnation, “As opposed to Rabbis and politicians who claim to own God and turn the Torah into a weapon of hate, our role is to increase equality and civility. I'm proud to march with Israelis who won't allow hatred to win.”
And congratulating the new Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Dr. Nachman Shai, Kariv said, “It's great that the Minister has explicitly indicated the need to promote full equality for all streams of Judaism. It's naive to believe it's possible to build strong bridges to the Diaspora without this.”
Israel's new "change" government
After four elections in two years, Israel has a new government. The "change coalition" includes parties of the left, right and centre and, for the first time, an Arab party.
The coalition members were united by their determination to replace Bibi Netanyahu as PM, and by their desire to repair the divisiveness and extremism of his government.
Rabbi Josh Weinberg of ARZA-US sees a lot to be hopeful about with this new government, including the promotion of equality and tolerance, and the integration of Arab citizens of Israel.
Of note, the new Knesset includes the first ever deaf member, Shirley Pinto, who is also an activist for people with disabilities. She took her oath using sign language.
But it won't be easy for this coalition to govern, as it includes a wide range of political ideologies, from pro-settlement nationalists to anti-occupation pluralists. Already two issues are testing the coalition -- a new, illegal settlement outpost, and a law that prevents Palestinians receiving automatic citizenship by marrying an Israeli.
The opposition, which previously benefited from exacerbating divisions in Israeli society, is now doing all it can to sow dissension and create divisions within the coalition. The new government will have to avoid these minefields as it attempts to steer a rational and pragmatic course for the country.
On behalf of ARZA Canada, I wish you a wonderful summer.
President, ARZA Canada
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