Listening to the Voices of the People in Israel – Reform Movement Supports Social Protests
July and August have seen thousands of Israelis taking to the streets to protest basic living costs in the country. The World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) and the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) have come out strongly in support of the Israeli “revolution” that shows how dissatisfied the citizens have become.
On the eve of Tisha B’Av, the World Union issued a statement to all its members. The following paragraphs are taken from this statement and you can click here to read it in full.
“This time in the Jewish calendar demands that we become ever more sensitive to the core values upon which our Jewish homeland rests. Upwards of 300,000 Israelis, young and old, poor and comfortable, religious and secular, right and left have united in the call that Israel must not just be about the establishment of a Jewish State, but that the state of the Jews living there as well as all who choose to live there must be dignified and affordable. We are witnessing, not a political divide, but a demand for social justice – echoing the calls from the highest traditions of our historic past – the prophetic call for justice and respect for human dignity.
“The World Union for Progressive Judaism, called into being almost a century ago to spread the word of prophetic Judaism, stands with all in the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and every tent city established to say that the Israel for which we have all fought and sacrificed must be an Israel that treats its citizens with dignity and respect, and offers the most basic of needs: housing, food, child-care, health care and education, to all in an affordable way. Israel can only be a light unto the nations when it is a light unto itself and its people. We call upon the government of the State of Israel to heed the call of her people – with whom we pledge our support and assistance.”
The letter was signed by the World Union’s Rabbi Stephen Fuchs, president; Shai Pinto, VP of Operations & COO; Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, VP, Philanthropy; and Rabbi Joel Oseran, VP, International Development.
On August 1, Anat Hoffman of IRAC and Rabbi Gilad Kariv of the IMPJ, joined forces for that week’s IRAC newsletter to speak about the protests. Read their editorial entitled: The revolution is here: Israelis dissatisfied over basic costs of living.
Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs, WUPJ; Anat Hoffman, IRAC; Rabbi Gilad Kariv, IMPJ
On Wednesday last week, the IMPJ and the Council of Progressive Rabbis (CPR) in Israel issued a joint statement - Israel's Progressive Reform Movement speaks out about the social protests. Click the link to read it.
IMPJ Rabbis also got involved by conducting Kabbalat Shabbat services at the tents sites in Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv and Kfar Saba during this past Shabbat. On Tisha B'Av eve, they read the Megilla with the protesters in Tel Aviv. The photo below was taken during the construction of the IMPJ's Sukkat Tzedek in Tel Aviv.
Read The Jerusalem Post’s Special Coverage of the social protests here.
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