Blog

263http://www.beth-israel.org/blog/2016/03/RabbiLyonsBlog-03_04_2016
Rabbi Lyon's Blog - 03_04_2016
03/04/2016 11:41 AM Posted by:

From the Desk of Rabi David Lyon
March 4, 2016

 

Recently, I returned from Israel where I was attending the convention of the CCAR (Central Conference of American Rabbis), which is held in Israel every seven years, and which I serve as a member of the Board of Trustees. During the course of meetings, on-site visits, and in-depth study, it became patently clear to me that we have two distinct obligations to the land and people of Israel: 1) to promote its national security; and, 2) to advocate for the Reform Jewish values we promote at Beth Israel and which we seek in our personal Jewish lives.

                In the interest of Israel’s security, we elect officials and promote legislation that ensures a close America-Israel relationship. In recent years, we have deepened our commitment to this cause through AIPAC; and, on March 20-22, 2016, Beth Israel will lead 50 people, its largest delegation to date, to Washington D.C. for the annual AIPAC Policy Conference.

                In the interest of Reform Jewish values, last week on Thursday morning hundreds of Reform rabbis made their way to the Kotel’s new area designated for egalitarian prayer and observance. As a female colleague chanted Torah, we envisioned plans for the future of the Kotel. Upon completion, one entrance to the plaza north of the Kotel will provide everyone choices to enter the worship space that meets his or her needs. Though not ideal, the outcome signals much more than a space at the Wall. It demonstrates that the restrictive grip of the ultra-orthodox in Israel and Chief Rabbinate cannot contain the spirit of increasing numbers of Israeli Jews who seek not only Israeli nationalism, but also Judaism and modernity for themselves and their families.

                Today, there are 50 Reform synagogues in Israel. This spring, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, at the Jerusalem campus, will ordain its 100th Israeli-born and HUC-trained Reform rabbi. Across Israel, data supports the fact that non-orthodox Jews are increasingly enjoying encounters with Reform rabbis in communities across Israel, where religious observances including Shabbat, holidays and life-cycles are regularly conducted by Reform rabbis trained by HUC-JIR in Jerusalem.

                Last Shabbat, I wasn’t on our bimah in Houston; I was sitting in the small Reform synagogue in Netanya, north of Tel Aviv. There, Rabbi Edgar Nof, spiritual leader of Congregation Natan-Ya, led a spirited Reform Shabbat service that was in many ways just like our own Shabbat service at home. The same melodies, rituals, egalitarian roles and voices, and commitment to Reform Judaism were evident in the Rabbi’s words and the congregational families who welcomed nearly 40 CCAR rabbis to their synagogue and Oneg Shabbat. More than 300 other Reform colleagues were spread out around Israel for Shabbat services in similar Reform Jewish settings. On our last day, while visiting the IDC (the first private university for interdisciplinary studies), a very bright and entrepreneurial leader told us that her son recently became a bar mitzvah in a Reform synagogue in Israel. Over and over, we encountered real evidence of Reform Judaism taking shape in Israel.

                In the news, the Haredi (ultra-orthodox) Jews hurl scathing insults against Reform Judaism. Though it offends us, it also serves a vital purpose. It keeps the debate on the front pages of the newspapers and Internet, and reminds Israeli Jews, who feel that they’ve been held captive long enough by increasingly restrictive laws of the Chief Rabbinate, that Reform Judaism is a real choice. At Beth Israel, our Israel advocacy work will always promote a secure Israel. It will also promote Reform Judaism in Israel for the sake of a Land that is Jewish and democratic, western and Middle Eastern, modern and ancient. None of it comes easily, but the real Reform accomplishments we celebrated this past week represent a new foundation stone upon which we can build a Land of Israel that we and our children and our grandchildren can love for generations to come.

 

See these websites for more information:

http://www.reform.org.il/Eng/

http://www.hiddush.org

http://www.huc.edu

 


You may reach Rabbi David Lyon here.
Blog Search

Categories

Archives

201806June3
June 2018 (3)
201805May3
May 2018 (3)
201804April4
April 2018 (4)
201803March5
March 2018 (5)
201802February4
February 2018 (4)
201801January4
January 2018 (4)
201712December4
December 2017 (4)
201711November2
November 2017 (2)
201710October2
October 2017 (2)
201708August3
August 2017 (3)
201707July4
July 2017 (4)
201706June4
June 2017 (4)
201705May2
May 2017 (2)
201704April3
April 2017 (3)
201703March4
March 2017 (4)
201702February3
February 2017 (3)
201701January3
January 2017 (3)
201612December4
December 2016 (4)
201611November3
November 2016 (3)
201610October3
October 2016 (3)
201609September4
September 2016 (4)
201608August2
August 2016 (2)
201607July5
July 2016 (5)
201606June2
June 2016 (2)
201605May3
May 2016 (3)
201604April4
April 2016 (4)
201603March3
March 2016 (3)
201602February2
February 2016 (2)
201601January4
January 2016 (4)
201512December4
December 2015 (4)
201511November3
November 2015 (3)
201510October2
October 2015 (2)
201509September2
September 2015 (2)
201508August4
August 2015 (4)
201507July5
July 2015 (5)
201506June4
June 2015 (4)
201505May2
May 2015 (2)
201504April5
April 2015 (5)
201503March3
March 2015 (3)
201502February4
February 2015 (4)
201501January4
January 2015 (4)
201412December3
December 2014 (3)
201411November3
November 2014 (3)
201410October4
October 2014 (4)
201409September2
September 2014 (2)
201408August3
August 2014 (3)
201407July3
July 2014 (3)
201406June3
June 2014 (3)
201405May3
May 2014 (3)
201404April4
April 2014 (4)
201403March3
March 2014 (3)
201402February4
February 2014 (4)
201401January5
January 2014 (5)
201312December3
December 2013 (3)
201311November3
November 2013 (3)
201310October4
October 2013 (4)
201309September2
September 2013 (2)
201308August5
August 2013 (5)
201307July4
July 2013 (4)
201306June4
June 2013 (4)
201305May5
May 2013 (5)
201304April4
April 2013 (4)
201303March4
March 2013 (4)
201302February4
February 2013 (4)
201301January5
January 2013 (5)
201212December4
December 2012 (4)
201211November5
November 2012 (5)
201210October4
October 2012 (4)
201209September2
September 2012 (2)
201208August5
August 2012 (5)
201207July4
July 2012 (4)
201206June3
June 2012 (3)
201205May5
May 2012 (5)
201204April4
April 2012 (4)
201203March5
March 2012 (5)
201202February4
February 2012 (4)
201201January4
January 2012 (4)
201112December5
December 2011 (5)
201111November3
November 2011 (3)
201110October3
October 2011 (3)
201109September4
September 2011 (4)
201108August4
August 2011 (4)
201107July3
July 2011 (3)
201106June4
June 2011 (4)
201105May4
May 2011 (4)
201104April4
April 2011 (4)
201103March5
March 2011 (5)
201102February4
February 2011 (4)
201101January4
January 2011 (4)
201012December5
December 2010 (5)
201011November4
November 2010 (4)
201010October5
October 2010 (5)
201009September2
September 2010 (2)
201008August2
August 2010 (2)
201006June3
June 2010 (3)
201005May5
May 2010 (5)
201004April3
April 2010 (3)
Captavi QixSuite™ - Hosted Marketing Automation Software ©