ARZA Canada Newsletter
July  26, 2017

A message from Rabbi Yael Splansky from Holy Blossom Temple


A message from Rabbi Michael Dolgin from Temple Sinai


Upcoming Events
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 on Thursday,
December 7 at 10:00pm

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 Dinner honoring philanthropists Nani and Austin Beutel of Toronto, and Rabbi Meir Azari, visionary leader of Tel Aviv's Daniel Centers for Progressive Judaism. Proceeds will support WUPJ & WRJ Youth and Rabbinic Education programs.

Canadian Delegation at WUPJ Biennial in Jerusalem in May -with the Canadian Ambassador to Israel, Deborah Lyons. 

ARZA Canada  
Sunday, June 25 was a dark day for all who love the State of Israel.  Israel's current governing coalition accepted two positions that insulted and demeaned Jews around the world and in our beloved homeland.   The Israeli cabinet capitulated to extremist pressure from Ultra-Orthodox, non-Zionist political parties and froze its agreed-upon plan to develop an egalitarian worship space at the Western Wall (Ha-Kotel Ha-Ma'aravi). On the same day, it advanced a bill that would grant the ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate exclusive control over conversions in Israel. 
The Jewish world has responded with one voice. The Jewish Agency for Israel, the Jewish Federations of North America, the worldwide Reform and Conservative movements, ARZA-Canada and every major community organization and stream has rejected these decisions and called on the Government of Israel to reverse course immediately. 

We must continue to speak up and speak out, because of our love for the State of Israel and our desire to cement the bonds that unite us through the next generations. Only strength in numbers will give us the voice we need to build a proud, democratic, Jewish pluralistic State of Israel. Non-Orthodox Jews in Israel need our ongoing help, now more than ever. Religious freedom and the very soul of the Jewish state are at risk.

People still ask "Why join ARZA CANADA?". Let me tell you why.

ARZA CANADA (The Canadian Association of Reform Zionists) is part of an international network of like-minded, progressive Jewish voices, working in unison to build a better, more democratic, pluralistic Israel. ARZA CANADA strongly condemned both of these outrageous actions by the Israeli government and is committed to speaking up for Reform and Progressive Jews in Israel. 

Your membership in ARZA CANADA is power. Your membership in ARZA CANADA supports the Reform Movement in Israel. The strength of ARZA CANADA in the World Zionist Organization depends on the size of our membership. 

ARZA CANADA is your voice in Israel.

Stay informed! Stay involved! Make your voice heard! 


Join ARZA CANADA on your congregational dues renewal if available.  Join ARZA CANADA online at
Donate to IMPJ at

Thank you and l'shalom
Miriam Pearlman
ARZA CANADA, President


Major rift created by Kotel agreement freeze and Conversion bill
The Netanyahu government has opened a divide between Israel and Diaspora Jews by acceding to the demands of Haredim in his coalition, to stop the agreement on pluralistic prayer at the Kotel, and to legislate Haredi control of conversion in Israel. This interview with URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs explains the controversy.  
There's now a debate on the extent to which financial support should be used as a lever to pressure the government to reverse these decisions.  In this article, Rabbi Daniel Gordis argues that only money talks.  However, in this article Reform leaders say they are being selective rather than withdrawing financial support.

In this video, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, President of Israel's Reform movement, and American lawyer Alan Dershowitz debate a representative of Israel's Chief Rabbinate.
Israel's Channel 2 News asked URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs why these issues should matter to Israelis.  (The English interview starts at 4:30 of the video on this page.)
The question of the role of Diaspora Jews in Israel has been opened to bitter debate.  Here's another example, where the leaders of ARZA US provide this response to this nasty editorial.
In support of religious pluralism, Orthodox Rabbi Donniel Hartman says Israel should respect not just the support of Diaspora Jews, but their Judaism as well.

Three errors with potentially tragic consequences

In the New York Times, Thomas Friedman argues that the Netanyahu government is making two tragic errors - alienating Diaspora Jews, and ending the possibility of a two-state solution through gradual annexation of the West Bank.

This Haaretz article adds a third tragic error - the government is drafting a new Basic Law, Nation-State, which will place Judaism above democracy and equality in Israeli law. 
Should liberal Diaspora Jews end political neutrality?
This article proposes that it's time for liberal Diaspora Jews to openly support Labor and other left-wing parties in Israel over the current government.
And finally, on a lighter note, many of you had the good fortune to meet Israeli Reform Rabbi Benjie Gruber when he was in Canada for 6 months as ARZA Canada Scholar in Residence and interim Rabbi of Temple Har Zion.  The URJ wrote this article about Rabbi Gruber's visit.

'It was a real high'World Union for Progressive Judaism's Rabbi Daniel Freelander talks about the group's largest ever Jerusalem meeting.

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