Dangerous Conversion Bill and Attack on Religious Pluralism in Israel

July 23, 2010

Separation of Church and State in Israel has never been achieved, and more than ever before, religious pluralism is under attack.   

CONVERSION BILL: Leaders of the Reform Movement have been rigorously lobbying in Israel, to stop proposed legislation to turn all Jewish conversion authority over to the Chief Rabbinate (orthodox) in Israel.  This week, Prime Minister Netanyahu opposed the bill and the Kenesset delayed the vote.  The Reform Mvmt urges us to email Netanyahu and to acknowledge and push for more of his support.  Conversion bill update and link to Netanyahu’s email.  

WOMEN OF THE WALL: The arrest of Anat Hoffman, for the crime of carrying a Torah scroll at the Western Wall, was another in a series of attacks on progressive Judaism, feminism and democracy. 

For a reflection on the state of pluralism, read Rabbi David Ellenson’s (president of the Reform Movement’s seminary, Hebrew Union College; Ellenson will speak at RS this fall) Jerusalem Post column, “A Call for State-Sanctioned Tolerance.”

Presbyterian Church and Jewish Community Dialogue on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

July 16, 2010

JStreet V.P. Rachel Lerner’s remarks to Presbyterian Church video.

JTA article “Facing Confrontation on Israel: Presbyterian Church Manages a Compromise.”

Last week, the Presbyterian Church’s leadership met at their 2010 Assembly.  The Church’s Middle East Study Committee report raised serious concerns in the Jewish community.  The problem with the report was not its opposition to the occupation of the West Bank; many Jews and Jewish organizations share such opposition.  Jewish organizations from both the left and the right assessed the report to be one-sided, holding Israel accountable for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ignoring Palestinian responsibility. Read the rest of this entry »