WUPJ news #475

Issue #475 – 14 November, 2013 | 11 Kislev, 5774

In this issue:

Sharansky Kotel Proposal and other significant resolutions passed at the World Zionist General Council

Another semester opens for the future leadership of the Progressive world

Join us at the WUPJ Luncheon at upcoming URJ Biennial in San Diego!

News in Brief:

     • Beit Shmuel showcased in Jerusalem’s “Open Houses” event

     • New semester opens for Beit Shmuel courses department

     • WUPJ bids warm farewell at reception and symposium honoring
       retirement of HUC President Rabbi Ellenson at HUC

     • Join the Livestream for historic opening of School for
       Jewish Theology November 19th


WUPJ Employment Corner

Upcoming events

Sharansky Kotel Proposal and other significant resolutions passed at the World Zionist General Council

The 36/4 Zionist General Council (Vaad Hapoel Hatzioni) deliberations concluded this week in Jerusalem with favorable resolutions for our Arzenu-World Union coalition. The council was held from November 4–6, 2013 and was followed by the Jewish Agency Assembly (November 7–10), the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) General Assembly (November 10-12), and the Jewish Agency Board of Governors meeting (November 13-14).

The WUPJ delegation included Shai Pinto, Maoz Haviv, Rita Fruman (Youth Delegate), Alex Kagan, Rabbi Joel Oseran, Lesley Sachs  and Rabbi Steve Burnstein. They worked in close partnership with the Arzenu activists from around the world, under the able leadership of Arzenu Chair Joan Garson (Canada) and Arzenu Executive Director, Dalya Levy.

One of the many sessions attended by our representatives at the World Zionist General Council

The following resolutions were submitted by the World Union-Arzenu-Meretz faction and passed by the council:

1. The Israeli Government will immediately provide full recognition and equitable support for all the major streams of Jewish practice.

2. To adopt the Sharanksy Kotel Proposal which includes expanding the Western Wall site to contain a third – egalitarian  – prayer section with a common entrance for all three sections. This new section will be open to the public 24 hours a day, every day, free of charge. The Western Wall site will be managed jointly by representatives of all streams of Judaism.

3. To adopt an uncompromising campaign against racist violence, prosecution for public figures who incite racism, the implementation of educational programs on the topics of co-existence and tolerance, and the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to fight racism.

4. To pass legislation which allows freedom of marriage and which recognizes religious marriage of all the streams, as well as civil marriage and divorce.

5. To show full transparency and public accountability for the WZO budgetary activities and ensure that all allocations and donations are in full accordance with the principles of the WZO’s mission and Zionist principles.

Additional proposals that were put forward by the Orthodox faction and Shas were also passed, including the resolution to focus on Young Leadership development with a view to strengthening the bond between Israel and the Diaspora, with the Zionist fulfillment (Hagshama) movements partnering in the development of this program; the encouragement of Aliyah among the Young Generation, including the preparation of a special work program in countries where a need has risen and raise necessary resources for the implementation of this program; and the reinforcement of the Hebrew Language among the Young Generation through a detailed work plan, allocation of funds, review existing programs and supplement as needed and to promoted the issue of training Hebrew as Second Language teachers.

JAFI Chairman Natan Sharansky (who initiated “The Sharansky Kotel Proposal” which has been approved by the Zionist Council), meets with Reform Rabbis and Women of the Wall supporters at recent JAFI conference following the Zionist Council meetings
Overall it was a successful gathering of global Zionist leaders who continue to work together on our common vision for the future of the State of Israel. The work of ARZENU and WUPJ with the WZO and other national organizations is crucial in promoting the Reform and Progressive agendas in Israel. Together we support and advance Jewish Unity and Klal Israel.

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Another semester opens for the future leadership of the Progressive world

In Jerusalem, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Moscow, the Progressive rabbinical training colleges recently opened their new semesters offering programs for future rabbis, cantors and community leaders. These include the Leo Baeck College in London, UK; Abraham Geiger Kolleg in Berlin, Germany (see also separate item on the opening of the School of Jewish Theology at the University of Potsdam); Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, Israel; Levisson Institute in Amsterdam, Netherlands; and the Machon in Moscow, Russia.

The Leo Baeck College was founded in 1956 by Rabbi Dr Werner van der Zyl and named in honour of his teacher, Rabbi Leo Baeck, at the Berlin Hochshüle. The College’s unique vision is to be at the heart of progressive Judaism both in the UK and Europe, though providing formal training qualifications for educators and rabbis. To date, Leo Baeck College has ordained close to two hundred rabbis and graduated over ninety educators who have served and are serving in progressive communities worldwide. A challenging academic and vocational study program is offered to students, combined with an individual, friendly and supportive environment, making the learning experience a truly personal one. Currently, the College has sixteen rabbinic students and three students on the new MA in Jewish Education programme from the UK, France, Spain, the FSU and Canada.

Left photo: LBC MA in Jewish Education students Iryna Belskaia (left) and Gwynneth Lewis (right) with Director of Jewish Education at Leo Baeck College Jo-Ann Myers (center); Right photo: Rabbi Leah Jordan, Rabbi Benji Stanley and Rabbi Esther Hugenholtz with LBC Principal Rabbi Dr Deborah Kahn-Harris (shown far left)

Winter term at Abraham Geiger College started with six new students to the rabbinical program and two new students to the cantorial school. Coming from Hungary, Poland, Israel, South Africa, and the United States, there is a total of 20 students enrolled in the rabbinical program and another ten for the cantorate. Most of them are registered at the new School of Jewish Theology which now has a total number of 47 students. (See also separate article on the Opening of the School of Jewish Theology in Potsdam

On October 15, Professor Dr. Judith Frishman (Chair Jewish Studies at the Leiden Institute for Religious Studies at Leiden University, The Netherlands) gave the opening lecture of the new term: Religion as Anthropology? Samuel Hirsch's Reconstruction of Judaism. Her talk was chaired by Professor Dr. Admiel Kosman.

Opening of semester at Geiger College with Professor Dr. Judith Frishman and Professor Dr. Admiel Kosman (photo by Tobias Barniske)

In addition to opening their school year, Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem recently ordained four new rabbis: Rabbi Dr. Ayala Ronen Samuels, Rabbi Joshua Weinberg, Rabbi Nico Socolovsky and Rabbi Dr. Eli Levine, and all four are already active in carrying out rabbinic duties. 
Over the past few years, Ayala and Nico helped establish the IMPJ community in Caesarea, Kehillat Tefilat Ha'Adam as well as Kehilat Shechuniya in the Hadar neighborhood of Haifa. Eli serves as rabbi of Kehillat Darchei Noam in Ramat Hasharon and Josh was recently appointed to lead ARZA - the Zionist arm of the Reform Movement in the United States (see WUPJnews #465).

Newly ordained rabbis with Rabbi David Ellenson, Ph.D., Rabbi Dr. Marc Rosenstein, Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., and Rabbi Naamah Kelman

On October 1st the new rabbinic training of the Levisson Institute in the Netherlands started with one student: Hannah Neudecker, member of the Liberal Jewish Community in The Hague, graduate of Semitic Languages and Cultures at the University of Leiden and Assistant Professor of Modern Hebrew at the same University. To date, six students were ordained by the Levisson Institute, all working in the 10 kehillot in the Netherlands and in the chaplaincy of the Dutch Armed Forces. Another rabbi (graduated from Leo Baeck College in London), works as a chaplain in the prisons. The Teachers Training Program also opened with twelve students training to teach Progressive Jewish values to young children in Talmud Torahs. Together with the Board of the Levisson Institute, the Academic Board and the Rabbinic in service training group, the Institute works hard to ensure that enough rabbis are trained for the continuity of the Liberal Jewish Movement in the Netherlands.

This year 11 students began their studies at the Machon in Moscow. The Machon is a two-year program that trains para-professional community workers in the FSU. Each year focuses on different areas and the students are encouraged to initiate and carry out their own community projects. Some of the students opt to spend a semester in Israel as part of a JAFI-MASA program. Upon completion of their studies, the community workers return to their home communities where they can be found in local communities, Netzer programs, and schools, while the most outstanding graduates are encouraged to continue to rabbinical training at one of the affiliated training colleges. Several graduates have made Aliyah and continue to be part of the Progressive Movement in Israel (for example, see WUPJnews #469 on seminar held for Machon and Netzer graduates in Israel)

Recent Olim who are Machon and Netzer graduates at a seminar in Israel

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Join us at the WUPJ Luncheon at upcoming URJ Biennial in San Diego!

The World Union for Progressive Judaism is proud to invite you to join us at our Celebratory Luncheon which will take place on Thursday, December 12th at 12 noon at the Union for Reform Judaism/ Women of Reform Judaism Biennial Assemblies in San Diego, California. The luncheon will feature Member of Knesset Dr. Ruth Calderon on the Importance of Pluralism for the World's Jewish Communities, and a special musical performance by Ukrainian Singer Iryna Rosenfeld (a product of our Netzer Youth Movement). Take the opportunity to Meet and Connect with World Union leaders from Israel, Europe, Latin America, the Former Soviet Union and learn about Reform/Progressive Judaism outside of North America.

Come and celebrate the remarkable work of the WUPJ!
For more information about the luncheon or sponsorship options please call 212-452-6531 or email us. And make sure to stop by and visit us at the WUPJ booth while you are at the Biennial.

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News in Brief

Beit Shmuel showcased in Jerusalem’s “Open Houses” event

The magnificent campus of Beit Shmuel / Mercaz Shimshon, the global headquarters of the World Union in Jerusalem, was showcased in the recent “Open Houses” event. Over 200 people came into the building to see and learn about this famous landmark. Most of the visitors were from the Tel Aviv area, with others arriving from further afield. The visitors learnt about the history, architecture and anecdotes that are part of this building. They walked up to the rooftop to see the beautiful view of the Old City walls from the Blaustein Hall. They learned about the pluralistic programming available at Beit Shmuel – the courses, seminars and walking tours that have become a brand name in Jerusalem. The feedback was extremely positive – especially from our out-of-towners who were unaware of this side of Jerusalem.

The magnificent glass windows in the Blaustein hall with the view of the Old City walls.

New semester opens for Beit Shmuel courses department

Another successful semester recently opened at Beit Shmuel with 10 courses and over 300 participants. Two of the courses have over 100 participants – “In the Shadows: Behind the Scenes in the World of Intelligence and Spies” (a new course), and a lecture series on Kabbalah by popular journalist, talk show host and author Dov Elboim. Some of the other courses offered are “Masterpieces in Classical Music”, “Ten Architects who Changed the World”, and “The Great Leaders who Changed History”

WUPJ bids warm farewell at reception and symposium honoring retirement of HUC President Rabbi Ellenson at HUC

Hebrew Union College, Jerusalem, recently honored Rabbi David Ellenson's retirement with a symposium moderated by Rabbi Michael Marmur, Ph.D., Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Provost. Speakers included Rabbi Professor David Golinkin, President of the Schechter Institute, Professor Zvi Zohar, Law Faculty, Bar Ilan University, Rabbi Prof. Dalia Marx, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, and Rabbi Prof. Yehoyada Amir, HUC-JIR/Jerusalem, and followed by a reception.

Carole Sterling, WUPJ Senior Vice Chair, presented a special plaque for Rabbi Ellenson, thanking him for his extraordinary leadership and vision in the cause of Reform Judaism worldwide. After welcoming the guests, Shai Pinto, WUPJ VP and COO said, “Vision, leadership, wisdom, courage and compassion – this is what I would be looking for in my rabbi. These qualities, and more, characterize Rabbi Ellenson…you have instilled these values and traits in so many of our leaders and your commitment to our Global Reform Family is second to none.”

Join us LIVE for the historic opening of School for Jewish Theology November 19th

Prominent representatives from politics, science and society, as well as members of different Jewish communities of faith from Germany and abroad, will be in attendance at the opening ceremonies for the School of Jewish Theology at the University of Potsdam, outside Berlin, on November 19th, 2013. After almost 200 years, this day will fulfill the demand for equal footing for Jewish theology along with Christian theology and Islamic studies at a German university. This historic event will be held in the former imperial stables at the Am Neuen Palais campus. The first 47 students of the School of Jewish Theology will begin their studies this autumn. Margot Käßmann, ambassador from the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), will deliver the commemorative speech.

A full report on this historic event will appear in the upcoming WUPJnews. Please click here for the LIVESTREAM link on November 19th, at 6 PM (12 noon NY; 7 PM Israel).

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The leadership and staff of the WUPJ mourn the passing of Saul Kagan, and extend sincere condolences to his family. Saul Kagan was the architect of Holocaust compensation and restitution through the Claims Conference (the WUPJ is a board member of this organization). He made it his life’s calling to attain a small measure of justice for those Jews who had managed to survive the Shoah, and in so doing, became the backbone of an unparalleled historic endeavor. Saul’s work began with pre-Claims Conference property restitution in Germany in the late 1940s for the U.S. Army and coordinating relief and resettlement from the DP camps. It went on to include the Luxembourg Agreements and establishment of payments from West Germany to the Claims Conference and Israel, Claims Conference funds that established Yad Vashem, negotiations with East Germany, clandestine support for Holocaust victims in the-then Soviet Union, slave labor agreements with German industry four decades before the German Foundation was established, decades of agreements with successive Austrian governments, the first program to support Righteous Gentiles, the Hardship Fund, the Article 2 Fund, the Central and Eastern European Fund, of course, restitution of property in the former East Germany. Please read the tribute to Saul Kagan z”l on the Claims Conference website.

The leadership and staff of the World Union offer their sincerest condolences to WUPJ vice chair James (Jim) Cherney and wife Linda on the passing of his mother Janice Cherney. May her memory be for a blessing.

The leadership and staff of the World Union offer their sincerest condolences to Rabbi Roberto Graetz, WUPJ IA member and NAC Executive member, on the passing of his mother Ruth. May her memory be for a blessing.

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WUPJ's Employment Corner

The following position is available in WUPJ congregations around the world:

Educators/Community work

A new Executive Director, based in South Africa, for South African Centre for Religious Equality and Diversity (SACRED). Please click here for full job description. To apply please send a covering letter explaining motivation and C.V. to dorawyn@mweb.co.za; deadline is 21 November 2013. Any queries can be addressed to the above email address.

Questions regarding employment opportunities with WUPJ congregations or sabbatical opportunities serving WUPJ congregations can be addressed to Rabbi Joel Oseran, Vice President, WUPJ International Development

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Upcoming events

December 11–15, 2013URJ Biennial, San Diego, California

January 2–9, 2014The Roswell Seminar for Social Justice, Jerusalem, Israel

January, 2014Netzer Veida Olamit, Israel

January 29–February 1, 2014UJCL Biennial, Costa Rica

February 13–23, 2014The Beutel Seminar for Progressive Jewish Leadership, Jerusalem, Israel

February, 2014TaMaR Conference, Israel

April 24–27, 2014EUPJ Biennial, Dresden, Germany

May 9–11, 2014Liberal Judaism’s Biennial weekend, Reading, UK

May 23–24, 2014IMPJ Conference, Israel

June 6-8, 2014SAUPJ Biennial, South Africa

July 24–August 3, 2014The Bergman Seminar for Jewish Educators, Jerusalem, Israel

November 2014UPJ Biennial

May 2015 – Connections 2015, WUPJ 37th Biennial Conference, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

November 4–9, 2015URJ 73rd Biennial Conference, Orlando, Florida

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