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Our Mission: We create pathways to explore and live an engaged, connected Jewish life.

The Rabbi's Message for January

Once again I will be spending January and February in Tel Aviv as an “outsider on the inside.” Because I speak Hebrew fluently and because I have been there so many times, I am able to stop being a tourist but at the same time as a North American I still am not an Israeli. So why am I going again? Not only because I love the food and love the people, and have family and dear friends there, but because despite all its failings, despite all its shortcomings, despite how much I often disagree with its government and their policies, despite a growing frustration and even alienation with its increasing moves to the political and religious right  (along with the rest if the world, it seems) I still believe deeply in the overarching project of Israel as the Jewish homeland. I still believe in the possibility of peace, and I still believe in the possibility of religious pluralism in a country in which being Jewish makes total sense. The only way to continue to work for my liberal values to be reality in Israel is to be “in the trenches” and on the ground where it all happens. I need to watch and I need to listen to those working for the same goals as I am. I need to hear from those who aren’t, so I have the information I need to object to them.  I need to understand and figure out the complex narratives and complicated scenarios. I need to learn, and the best way to learn is to experience it all, right there.

Every seven years, my Rabbinic organization, the Central Conference of North American Rabbis, convenes its conference in Israel. Hundreds of Reform Rabbis from all over the world gather in Jerusalem to meet with the top leaders of all parties, to see with our own eyes the conflicts and complexities, to wield whatever power or influence we can as representatives of North American Jewry.  This is that year, and I will be attending and teaching at that conference. With the recent election, now more than ever, I want to be there, to listen carefully, and to bring home to you my impressions, my learning, my experiences. Please watch the next newsletter for the spring date and registration for my presentation "Israel: Reflections of an Outsider From the Inside” and in the meantime I look forward to seeing many of you on zoom services in January and February, as well as hearing how much you've enjoyed all the in-person services and events we continue to have while I’m away.

Happy 2023!

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Sun, January 29 2023 7 Sh'vat 5783