Yom Rishon, 16 AdarI 5781
Sunday, 28 February 2021
Progressive Jews in Israel under threat

Liberal Judaism Day of Celebration speaker Anat Hoffman has called on Progressive Jews around the world to defend our Israeli sister movement.

Anat’s plea came after Israel’s newly installed minister of religious affairs, David Azoulay, called the Reform movement “a disaster for the nation of Israel”.

Anat wrote: “A disaster. With one word, the person chosen to be in charge of the religious affairs of all Israeli Jews denigrated an entire Jewish movement. A movement with millions of constituents in Israel and around the world, and with a proud history of contributing to Judaism’s colourful tapestry.

“This was not an isolated incident. The Orthodox establishment in Israel has a long history of slinging mud, discriminating and inciting senseless hatred against progressive Jews.

“Women who dare to wear a tallit and read from a Torah at the Kotel are called ‘provocateurs.’  Conservative Rabbis are forbidden to officiate at community-organised bar/bat mitzvah ceremonies for local children with special needs because they and their synagogues are not Orthodox. The list goes on.

“It’s time for a proactive and comprehensive plan that will put this issue to bed once and for all.”

Anat – who is executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center – wrote these words in an email to Progressive Jews, sent on behalf of her and Rabbi Gilad Kariv, the executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism. She has asked all our members to share their words with family, friends and colleagues.

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has issued a statement saying he strongly disagreed with David Azoulay’s comments and committing himself to making all Jews feel at home in Israel

However, Anat added: “We commend the Prime Minister for not wasting any time in recognizing the gravity of the situation, but it is not enough. Actions speak louder than words.”