ARZA Canada Newsletter
Sept 27, 2017
Upcoming Events
Nov 26 to Dec 3. Israeli guests from the IMPJ will be  Yair Lootstein and Anna Kislanski.  
Watch for the schedule...
Yair Lootsteen  
Deputy Chair of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ )  and journalist with CJN
Chief Operating Officer at the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism
Dec 6-10, 2017
Join thousands of Jews from across North America and around the world to learn, pray, share ideas, dance and sing, hear from inspiring speakers and the leaders of our Movement; reunite with old friends, create new connections, and make decisions about the policies of the Reform Movement
Come join us in Boston at the URJ Biennial when
ARZA Canada
will be hosting a Meet and Greet Reception for Canadian and Israeli delegates on Thursday, 
No Charge

WUPJ & WRJ International Humanitarian Award Tribute Dinner
 & Concert   
Join the World Union for Progressive Judaism and the Women of Reform Judaism at the North American premier of the "Debbie Friedman Suite" performed by a full orchestra. Concert will conclude the gala International Humanitarian Award


Nani and Austin Beutel 

Rabbi Meir Azari

IMPJ 23rd Biennial Convention (Veida)
Join over 1200 Reform Jews who will gather together in Kibbutz Shefaim
June 1-2, 2018, 
Celebrate Israel's 70th Birthday.   

ARZA Canada  
Our Judaism. Our Israel. 
At this time of year, in this season of renewal and new beginnings, we are reminded of the many ways in which Israel is an integral part of our Jewish identity and must be a homeland for all Jews.  
As we approach Yom Kippur, our thoughts turn inward for reflection and atonement. It is an important time to think about how you are supporting the work of ARZA CANADA and of the Israel Reform Movement. As you read the articles below, you will agree the time is long overdue to address seriously the burning issues of religious pluralism so important to our community and to the integrity of a democratic state.
ARZA CANADA is the Zionist voice of our Canadian Reform Movement. Together we have a responsibility to work in our congregations to deepen Israel engagement, to raise awareness of ARZA CANADA, to educate about the growth of the Israel Reform Movement (IMPJ) and the important work it is doing to fight for pluralism, equality and justice.
If you feel the same, I hope you will support us by joining or renewing your annual membership in ARZA CANADA (if you have not already) at As a completely volunteer association, our strength in Canada and in Israel comes from the size of our membership. 
Please also add your voice and your support by donating to the IMPJ
Wishing you all a Shanah Tovah and G'mar Chatimah Tovah
Miriam Pearlman
ARZA CANADA, President 

Back in Israel
Canada in my Heart
by Rabbi Benji Gruber

Rabbi Yehudah Halevi, who lived about 900 years ago in Spain, wrote in one of his poems:
"My heart is in the East, and I am at the ends of the West. How can I taste what I eat ,and how could it be pleasing to me?"
Of course, he meant that his heart was in the land of Israel, east of Spain.
As I sit, think and write, here in the south of Israel, east of Canada, on Kibbutz Yotvata, I feel I have left some part of my heart in Canada.

Update on the Kotel controversy
Tensions remain high between liberal Jews and Israel's government since the government "froze" the plan for an egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall.  The Supreme Court urged the Netanyahu government to implement the committed plan, as reported here by Gilad Kariv, President and CEO of Israel's Reform movement.  The Supreme Court opposes the Haredi monopoly but isn't sure it can force implementation of the agreement.  For his part, Bibi claims he is proceeding with lesser improvements to the existing egalitarian platform at Robinson's Arch.
As Israel's children prepared to go back to school September 1, a Thursday High Court hearing over the Western Wall pluralistic pavilion gave the state some homework.
In the decision handed down Thursday night, the state was told it must "inform the court by September 14, 2017 whether it is willing to reconsider the implementation of the Western Wall framework decision, which was 'frozen' in a government decision on June 25, 2017."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday adamantly defended Orthodoxy's religious monopoly in Israel, arguing that it was impossible to change the delicate status quo that has existed since the state was founded.
Rift between Israeli and Diaspora Jews
Much is being written about a widening rift between Israel and the Diaspora, due to the crisis caused by the proposed law to recognize only Haredi conversions, combined with the Kotel controversy.  This opinion urges Diaspora Jews to more forcefully show that Israel and Zionism need the partnership of a vibrant Diaspora.  
Read More....

Yehuda Kurtzer of the Shalom Hartman Institute describes a lack of mutual understanding.  Israelis believe Diaspora Judaism is withering while North American Jews believe Israel is weak in tolerance and political integrity.  But learning to appreciate the successes of the other can reduce the rift and lead to partnership.
Read More... 
Reform advances in Israel
On a positive note, our Reform cousins in Israel continue to make slow but steady progress in the growth and vitality of the Reform community.  Here's a report from Netanya.
In promoting mutual understanding and respect between Israel's Jewish and Arab communities, the Israeli Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) runs the Meeting Neighbors project, which develops relationships among families of Reform communities with those of nearby Arab towns.Aon, which was 'frozen' in a government decision on June 25, 2017."
Reform in Israel is a target because we're making progress.
This ARZA US opinion suggests that recent targeting of Reform in Israel by Ultra-Orthodox is an indication that Haredim are afraid of the progress of the Reform movement.
Spotlight on: Anat Hoffman
Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Reform movement's Israel Religious Action Center, has gained a high profile for her championing of religious pluralism, gender equality and respect for minorities, as well as her leadership of Women of the Wall.
In this interview Hoffman describes why she became an activist for Reform values in Israel. 
Read More....

Anat Hoffman will speak at the URJ Biennial in December in Boston, as well as renowned authors Anita Diamant and David Grossman.  You can  
register for the Biennial here. 
Conan O'Brien visits Syrian patients in Israeli hospital
Popular late night TV host Conan O'Brien was recently in Israel, where he met several of the 3,000 victims of the Syrian civil war who have been treated at Ziv Medical Center in Sefat.  He said that after a week in Israel: "my body is 62% hummus"
                               See Conan's Israel  
Israeli rescue team applauded in the streets of Mexico
An Israeli rescue delegation was greeted with spontaneous applause in the streets of a Mexican town Friday, in a show of gratitude for the team's efforts to aid in the search for survivors following a devastating earthquake Tuesday. 
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