Join the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) President Rabbi Daniel Freelander and Vice President of International Development Rabbi Joel Oseran as they discuss highlights and impact of the recent Beit Din Symposium that the WUPJ initiated and hosted.
WUPJ President Rabbi Daniel Freelander reflects on
highlights and impact of the recent Beit Din Symposium
Click here to watch the video interview. To read more about the first-ever Beit Din Symposium click here. Kicking off the celebrations of its eighty years, Congregação Israelita Paulista (CIP) – the largest Liberal Congregation in Latin America – held a special Kabbalat Shabbat on March 4, 2016. Approximately twelve-hundred guests were welcomed by volunteers from Café veUgá, a project of the Women of Reform Judaism’s (WRJ) group Shirat Miriam, in a hall filled with food, Jewish music and thriving community.
The main hall CIP’s exhibition “80 Years of Stories”
The main hall exhibited "80 Years of Stories", pictures and objects that illustrated the history and role of CIP among the São Paulo's and Brazilian's Jewish community.
Scene from CIP’s exhibition “80 Years of Stories”
Former Presidents and Rabbis from CIP, The General Council of Israel, Representatives from major Jewish institutions and members of the Government also attended the ceremony and joined in the festivities.
For more pictures from the weekend event, or to stay updated with CIP, visit their Facebook page here. Last month, the South African Jewish Report published this Letter to the Editor that was hateful and defamatory, negating the validity of Reform rabbis and in putting forth Orthodox Judaism as “the only true reflection of Jewish religion.” As word of this provocation spread across our global family, World Union leaders and members responded strongly and in numbers.
“Crossing the line from free speech to hate speech” the WUPJ responds
Jewish Report Editor, Vanessa Velkin, published this response, explaining that the Report’s oversight in publishing responses from the local Reform community was just that – an oversight – and not an intentional slight. Still, a full week passed, with only provocative comments on the editorial page to fan the flames of hate, until the Report published this heart-felt response by Rabbi Julia Margolis, one of the Rabbis serving Bet David Progressive Jewish Congregation, and Chairman of the South Africa Centre for Religious Equality and Diversity (SACRED), which you can also view here as a pdf; and this passionate response from Gila Efrat, Netzer South Africa participant. WUPJ President Rabbi Daniel Freelander and Chair Carole Sterling responded with this published letter, expressing shock and condemnation on behalf of the World Union of such provocation and calling upon the Report to cease publishing such hate speech in the future, asserting “To deny the legitimacy of Reform Judaism is to deny the very core Klal Yisrael values which constitute the heritage of all Jews: Torah (study), Avodah (worship) and G’millut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness).” We encourage you to be active online in supporting Reform and Progressive Judaism worldwide. Follow us on Facebook for reports and updates.
Feed your soul with prayer and song and your body with delicious food, with our three-course package:
- Kabbalat Shabbat services led by top Reform rabbis and scholars on our picturesque Beit Shmuel -HUC campus, facing the Old City walls
- A festive, catered, Kosher dinner
- The sweet sounds of a musical program that includes all your favorite Shabbat songs
When: June 24th, July 1st, July 8th, or July 15th
Cost: $70 per person, all inclusive
Individuals or groups (even through tour operators) can register online here. Next year in Jerusalem? Make last year’s Passover Seder promise, this year’s reality! Spend your Passover Seder at the Beit Shmuel-Merkaz Shimshon Hotel and Guesthouse – your Jewish home in Jerusalem – with new, reduced rates.
Recount our annual tale of liberation from slavery next to the Old City; sing and celebrate alongside other Reform Jewish community members from around the world to share traditions and discover new ones. Explore historic sites across Israel and visit newly-renovated cultural destinations nearby in Jerusalem.
The Beautiful View from Beit Shmuel
It’s Passover at “home” in the heart of Jerusalem.
Double occupancy room in the hotel: $169 per night, reduced from $189, including breakfast
Additional guests per room: just $50 per night
Double occupancy room in the guesthouse: $149 per night, reduced from $169, including breakfast
Additional guests per room: just $40 per night
Breakfast at Beit Shmuel
Seder evening meals for only $90 per person.
All additional meals, during Passover’s Chol Hamoed week, are only $30 per meal per person.
Join us today, and come home to Jerusalem this Passover. To reserve today or get more information, email Beit Shmuel Reservations To view rooms and facilities, click here
Plants next to the fence by Dalia Segev
Limited Spaces, which explores the relationship of humans to their surrounding environments – at times merely disruptive, other times damaging, and ideally symbiotic – is her sixth solo exhibition. On view 4 March – 11 April 2016.
Bergman Seminar participants 2015
As one Bergman Seminar alum summarized, "Although I had been to Israel several times this was the experience that allowed me to put all the puzzling pieces together. There was tremendous attention to depth, detail and knowledge - Israel's history and society is so complex. Previously I felt like an outsider peeking over a Jerusalem stone wall into a mystical world, now I feel a part of this country and can relate to its challenges and accomplishments as if it is part of my own identity."
Sign up for the Bergman Seminar for Progressive Jewish Educators today. To connect educators in your community to this unique opportunity or receive more information, contact Rabbi Steve Burnstein. Join us on July 6-15, 2016 as we encounter the best of the animal kingdom on Safari in Pilanesberg National Park while also connecting with South Africa's Progressive communities. Get an insiders look into the fascinating city of Johannesburg and its noted Anti-Apartheid Museum, enjoy outstanding food and wine throughout on this unique adventure, and attend the South African Union for Progressive Judaism (SAUPJ) Biennial Conference in Cape Town and meet the leaders shaping Progressive Judaism in the country (included with the tour cost). Rabbi Lennard Thal, the designated tour leader, is also the Senior VP Emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and has spent time on every continent (other than Antarctica) partly as a result of his longstanding involvement with the WUPJ, including two trips to South Africa. He also had led many group trips to Asia, South America, Europe and Israel and looks forward to sharing the excitement of a return visit to South Africa. Rabbi Thal is the recipient of the World Union's 2015 International Humanitarian Award. For more details and to book your reservation today, please click here.
“I’m the closest to the temple, the holy of holies. And I’m performing the closest to a sacrifice, the original worship. And this is how I want to be expressing my Judaism. At this moment it’s peaceful. It feels normal. People look at us curiously. People don’t notice the Torah that has been smuggled in (unjustly) illegally. I don’t notice the potential of disturbance brought from this event, as I stare at the battered brown, and somewhat anti-event, of a Torah. The Torah which had only been smuggled in 3 times in 8 months. And I have the blessing to be a part of it this time.”
Shnat Maayan participants join Women of the Wall at the Kotel
Read the full text, “Two Walls,” here.
Rabbi Joel Oseran
Israel Jacobson was a banker, respected businessman, and doctor of philosophy, who is perhaps best known by Reform Judaism as founder of the first "modern" Reform Jewish school 200 years ago. Today, the prize, awarded in his name every two years, honors figures who have contributed significantly to local Jewish Reform congregations and our global Jewish community as one.
May Eliezer’s memory be for a blessing and may the entire family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion.