Issue #546

8 September 2016 // 5 Elul 2016


Highest Honor: Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur of the Mouvement Juif Liberal de France Knighted with “Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite” by France’s Minister of Education
Roswell Klal Yisrael Fellows Visit the White House
Traveling for the High Holy Days? Connect with Klal Yisrael
Live from our Regions
Open Call for Community and Congregational Leaders 
Netzer News
Dear Reader

Upcoming Events


Highest Honor: Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur of the Mouvement Juif Liberal de France Knighted with “Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite” by France’s Minister of Education
Please join the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) in congratulating Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur on being knighted with the “Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite” by France’s Ministry of Education. While serving as the Rabbi of the Mouvement Juif Liberal de France (MJLF) since 2008 the congregation has grown into a vibrant and dynamic community with activities and services for adults, youth and children that focus on progressive and cultural expressions of Judaism alongside a strong commitment to interfaith dialogue. 

Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur speaking at the award ceremony in the presence of
France’s Minister of Education Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.
Photo courtesy of: France Ministry of Education © Philippe Devernay

MJLF celebrated the honor on September 2nd with a musical Kabbalat Shabbat that was standing-room-only, and mezuzah-affixing ceremonies to bless the newly-refurbished sanctuary and acknowledge Rabbi Horvilleur’s knighthood. 

Rabbi Horvilleur, or Madame de Rabbin as she is known, received the title along with her colleague Mr. Abdennour Bidar, an outspoken figure in the Muslim community who was one of the 41 Muslim leaders to sign a recent letter calling for fundamental reforms to create an "Islam de France" that is compatible with French values. Both religious leaders were knighted in the same ceremony, highlighting their rigorous and passionate efforts to foster mutual respect between Jews and Muslims in Paris and and “laïcité à la française”, or “French secularism”, which guarantees freedom of belief in France’s secular society.
“I’m not denying there are emergent issues we need to deal with. But Jewish commitment needs to reach beyond. And we need Jewish creativity. That’s what I’m trying to do,” says Horvilleur.

For more about Rabbi Horvilleur’s achievements and contribution to French Progressive Jewry, read this profile article in the Times of Israel.

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Roswell Klal Yisrael Fellows Visit the White House 

August 21 – 27, 2016, Roswell Klal Yisrael Fellows reunited in Washington DC for a week of activities and workshops designed to advance and challenge participants as the third and final seminar of the year-long fellowship. A partnership of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), the Global Leadership Institute of the Jewish Agency for Israel, and the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), the fellowship program aims to cultivate the leadership potential of young adults, ages 20-26, from around the world as they continue to take part in building, strengthening, and determining the character of their Reform and Progressive Jewish communities. Fellows are nominated by leadership at the URJ, the IMPJ, WUPJ, and other local Reform and Progressive communities to participate in educational webinars and three week-long, in-person gatherings in Israel, Europe, and the United States, and present a final project at the end of the year. This year’s 18 fellows hail from England, the US, Israel, Germany, Hungary, and Ukraine.  

Touring the White House: American Roswell Klal Yisrael Fellows with
Rabbi Daniel H. Freelander, President of the WUPJ; Rabbi Steve
Burnstein, Director of WUPJ Saltz Education Center; Rachael Brill,
Senior Program Manager, URJ; and Nadav Savaia, Senior Shaliach,
Union for Reform Judaism

Despite over four months apart since their last seminar in Budapest, fellows easily re-immersed themselves into the vibrant spirit of their shared global visions for community, presenting updates on their final projects “Pecha Kucha-style,” enabling their peers to learn about their project work in a succinct and easily-digestible format. 

Rabbi Daniel H. Freelander, President of the World Union for
Progressive Judaism, guides the fellows through a history of
Jews in America and the Reform Movement.

Tours of historical attractions were enriched by Rabbi Daniel H. Freelander, President of the WUPJ, who provided context on how Judaism and the Progressive movement grew in North America over the centuries. A White House tour for fellows sadly did not include a meeting – or even spotting of – President or Mrs. Obama; however, the tour was a highlight of the trip, as was seeing Bo and Sunny, the First Family’s two dogs. 

Talking about the future of Progressive Jewish communities

Jumping from historical cases to the challenges of today’s community, fellows explored Jewish millennial identity with Rabbi Aaron Potek of Gather the Jews, where a panel of young adult engagement professionals included Sarah Arenstein of JFGW, Jackie Zais of Gather the Jews, Rabbi Scott Perlo of Sixth and I, Marcy Spiro of Adas Israel, and Rabbi Aaron Miller of Washington Hebrew Congregation (WHC). The fellows also had the chance to share their final project work with these engagement professionals, and brainstormed with them on how to continue engagement in their communities beyond the fellowship year. 
Workshops with Barbara Weinstein, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center, allowed the group to explore the Reform value and practice of civic engagement and tikkun olam. Fellows took to the DC streets with Andrew Keene, former NFTY president, on a social action and NFTY historical walking tour.
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Traveling for the High Holy Days? Connect with Klal Yisrael 

If you’re planning on traveling during the High Holy Days, let the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) set you up with services, community, hospitality or tours through one our many Progressive congregations around the world. Email our Jerusalem offices with your details – including travel dates and destination(s) – and what you are looking to experience – home hospitality, services, etc. – and we will direct your inquiry. 

World Union Lay Leaders, including Chair Carole Sterling (far left),
connect with Progressive Jewish colleagues and communities in
South Africa, July 2016

Usher in the New Year with the help of new friends and traditions from Klal Yisrael.

Contact us today to connect you!

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Live from our Regions

Last Chance to Join: Temple Sinai, Toronto Hosts Virtual Panel on Reform Jewish Living Around the World 

On September 11, 2016 Temple Sinai in Toronto, Canada will be hosting an online global panel discussion on Reform Jewish living around the world. An initiative of Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg, the virtual gathering invites Progressive Jews from all over the world to experience the globality of our Reform Jewish community. 
Invitation to join the virtual discussion panel 

Listen in on the knowledge, insight and congregational practices these rabbis bring from their respective corners of the world:
  • Rabbi Pauline Bebe is the rabbi of Communaute Juive Liberale, a Progressive Jewish congregation in Paris, France. She was the first female rabbi in France, and the first female rabbi to lead a synagogue there.
  • Rabbi Leonid Bimbat was ordained in 2007 by the Leo Baeck College in London, and is currently the rabbi of Le Dor Va-Dor in Moscow. 
  • Rabbi Ruben Sternschein is currently the rabbi of Congregacao Israelita Paulista in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the largest synagogue in Latin America. 
  • Naomi Efrat is a student Rabbi at Kehillat Ramot Shalom in Be’er Sheva. Additionally, she directs a nationwide Jewish Renewal project, which has four community batei midrash (study houses) in Israel and runs social-action programs in the field of Jewish renewal. 

RSVP here to join the upcoming global panel discussion from your computer today

The conversation will be moderated by Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg, and introduced by Temple Sinai member and past President of the World Union, Austin Beutel

Don’t miss your chance to join this virtual discussion panel!

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Ad Meah Ve’Esrim: Celebrate Rabbi Richard “Dick” Hirsch’s Birthday with the World Union for Progressive Judaism

Celebrate the 90th birthday of Rabbi Richard “Dick” Hirsch with the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ)! Join Rabbi Daniel H. Freelander and Rabbi Hirsch on September 26th for an in-depth virtual discussion about the history of Progressive Judaism and its prospects for the future. 

Rabbi Richard “Dick” Hirsch

Rabbi Hirsch, who has been called the architect of Reform Zionism and the world-wide movement of Progressive Judaism, was the founding director of the Religious Action Center (RAC) in Washington, DC from 1962 to 1973. Hirsch insisted on moving Progressive Judaism’s international headquarters to Jerusalem, which many consider Reform Judaism’s most significant decision of the 20th century. He moved to Israel to become Executive Director of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), and later Honorary Life President of the WUPJ. He was also the prime mover in affiliating Reform Judaism with the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency for Israel – a milestone for both the WZO and the Reform Movement. 

Our online roundtable discussion will welcome guests from around the world to listen in or ask questions of the very leader who paved the way for global Progressive Judaism. RSVP to receive the online link for the September 26th event and send your questions to us ahead of time, or ask them live! And don’t forget to wish Rabbi Hirsch a very happy 90th, ad me’ah ve’esrim shana

To RSVP and get your link to this memorable occasion, send us an email. We look forward to celebrating with you.

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Open Call for Community and Congregational Leaders

Success Starts with the Beutel Leadership Seminar in Jerusalem

The Beutel Leadership Seminar, run by the Saltz International Educational Center of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), is opening its application process for nominations of congregational and community leaders to join its prestigious ten-day seminar in Jerusalem in February 2017.
Courses provide practical tools as they explore Jewish texts, current political and social issues across world Jewry and Israel, spiritual pathways and concepts of Jewish leadership, and more, all within an interactive and experiential Progressive Jewish context. Scholarships are now available for applicants and nominees. 
What tools are you using to build your congregation? 

To inquire about opportunities via e-mail, write to Rabbi Steve Burstein.
To nominate individuals from your congregation or find out how the Beutel seminar will transform your community, click here today.

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Netzer News

The Magic of Kibbutz Lotan: Shnat Southerners Go South Before Heading Home

Kibbutz Lotan is a Progressive Jewish kibbutz set in Israel’s Arava valley in the Negev desert. Founded in 1983, Lotan’s mission and vision are based on pluralistic, egalitarian and creative Jewish values that also protect and preserve the environment. A member of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) and the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), Lotan is home to more than 150 individuals from around the world, including 20 families, and additional eco-tourists and volunteers from both Israel and abroad. 
Shnat Southerners recently headed to Lotan to learn first-hand about Israeli kibbutzim, socialism, communal living, ecological responsibility and volunteerism. In their own words, Noa and Rochelle reflect on their first days there, in this Shnat Southern Corner Weekly Report. Lotan is also the last part of their year course experience; in two months all of the Shnat Southerners will be heading home. 

Shnat Southerners connect with each other, Israelis, Judaism and
the land at Kibbutz Lotan 

Even though we haven't been here for more than two weeks, you can already notice a change in the atmosphere of the group. We are so much happier and so filled with excitement, and it can only be attributed to the magic of Lotan. 

Mostly we work on the date fields, waking up at 5am only to get home and end the work day at 2:30. It is tiring and we're covered in cuts and sores and sweat at the end of the day. But I think we can all agree that there is something incredibly rewarding about getting our hands dirty and doing some physical labor for once in our extremely sheltered and privileged lives. 

We have also begun to run a lot of peer-lead programs that help us engage with wider issues and allow us to develop our leadership skills. The kibbutz community is filled with incredibly inspiring and ideological people and we have made great connections with the shin shins (Israelis on a year of service). 

Overall, we are having a great time on the kibbutz and we will see you all in two months :) 
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Passing of Nancy Ruth z”l

The World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) mourns the passing of Nancy Ruth, z”l, an ardent lover and support of Progressive Judaism in Israel, North America and the world over. She was a member of the International Assembly of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ), and President and congregant of Holy Blossom Temple in Canada. “Nancy was of the gdolot hador,” reflected Rabbi Daniel H. Freelander, President of the WUPJ. ”I cannot remember any time from the past few decades that Nancy was not a notable presence at events of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) or the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ).  She was the lens through which I learned to appreciate and value Canadian Reform Jewry and its deep commitment to Am Yisrael – wherever they live. The contributions of her hands and her heart will continue to bless us for generations to come. Zichrona Livracha.”

May Nancy’s memory be for a blessing and may the entire family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion.

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Upcoming Events

September 15-18, 2016 - FSU Biennial Conference, Minsk, Belarus

November 17-20, 2016 - Union for Progressive Judaism (UPJ) Biennial Conference, Perth, Australia

February 16-26, 2017 - The Beutel Seminar For Progressive Jewish Leadership, Jerusalem, Israel

May 13-17, 2017 - Pursue Justice: Seminar for Legal Professionals, Jerusalem, Israel

May 17-20, 2017 - CONNECTIONS 2017, Jerusalem, Israel

July 13-23, 2017 - The Bergman Seminar for Jewish Educators, Jerusalem, Israel

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