June 18, 2015 // 1 Tammuz 5775
- World Union for Progressive Judaism Congratulates ARZA on WZO Election Victory
- A Credit to our Movement: 2015 Queen's Birthday Honors Celebrates Dr. Phillip Bliss
- Chinese History Made in Rio: Kehillat Shanghai Receives First Torah Scroll at CONNECTIONS 2015
- Mazal Tov, Manchester! UK Community Inducts New Rabbi
- Going Away for the Summer? Let WUPJ Connect You with Progressive Communities around the World
- Day of Celebration: British Progressive Jews Told to 'Interfere' in Israeli Politics
- Leaders Welcomed: WUPJ-LA Partners with WJC in Latin America
- House of Jewish Learning: London's Leo Baeck College Presents Adult Learning Program for 2015-2016
Delegates of each community and the EUPJ leadership met in Madrid for Havdalah and an orientation to the issues confronting our movement in Spain. Then, after Shacharit the following day, a second meeting was convened to discuss ways of creating a mechanism for increased communication and co-operation among the Spanish communities.
communities meet with EUPJ representatives.
The two locations that have been identified as key to the movement’s growth in Spain are Madrid and Barcelona, mainly because of size and potential.
For Madrid, a critical factor for the development of this community will be the transformation of the Havurah into a viable congregation.
Oviedo's Kehillat Emunah hosted Rabbi Oseran over the Shabbat, who had the opportunity to meet with several prominent city officials and learn about the variety of Jewish-themed events that have recently been held in the city, including a Jewish film series, Shoah commemoration, Jewish book fair and a public Chanukah lighting ceremony.
Participants in the fact-finding mission to Spain came away with the conclusion that there is currently a gifted group of local leaders committed to Progressive Judaism. What remains to be done, according to Rabbi Oseran is to "find creative ways to integrate these independent communities into a unified movement that will make an impact on Spanish Jewry."
The meeting in Madrid was an important step towards establishing a Progressive movement identity in Spain.
Formerly president of the Canadian Council for Reform Judaism (CCRJ) and Temple Sinai Congregation and a past chair of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s Women’s Campaign, Carol Sterling is the first Canadian to head WUPJ in 20 years.
Born in Montreal and a resident of Toronto for the past several decades, Sterling was elected chair in mid-May during CONNECTIONS 2015, the 37th International Convention of the WUPJ.
Sterling is WUPJ's new chair.
Chairman of the EUPJ and Carole Sterling during WUPJ's
Further, Sterling says that she and Rabbi Freelander are in the process of trying to find rabbis fluent in the appropriate languages to serve Progressive synagogues in places such as Shanghai, Warsaw, Vienna and Rome.
WUPJ also works to help Progressive synagogues in a number of European countries get recognition from their national governments.
“In many of these countries, the governments like to speak to each religion through one mechanism, for instance [the] Catholic [Church]. It can’t function like that [with Jews]. With so many denominations [within Judaism] – Chabad, Orthodox, progressive – each needs to be recognized and able to share in government funding.”
For years now, the beginning of June has marked the time when many Jewish organizations and foundations, the World Union included, unite to hold a family project integrating children with special needs into the Jewish community.
camp, Moscow, June 2015.
This year, besides the usual socializing with friends, participants attended interesting classes with madrichim (counsellors). There were lectures for parents on Jewish history, tradition and literature. In addition, classes were conducted for children and those with special needs that included consultations with psychologists.
Everyone enjoyed the joint trips, arts and crafts, songs, evening activities, theater and the traditional final night campfire.
While this year built on previous years' accomplishments, two events made 2015 unforgettable.
First, Sasha L., a 17-year-old boy who faces multiple challenges (autism and other mental disabilities). Despite this, he is currently learning at school and plans to continue his studies at a college that has a program designed to meet his needs.
At the camp, Sasha celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. This is the first time that such a ceremony was held. This moving event was witnessed by Sasha's mother, his family and all camp participants.
wowed everyone in attendance!
The second highlight of the 2015 "Shalom Star" program was the talent show held on the last night of the camp. This festive gathering included singing, poetry reading, a violin and string quartet performances.
On the final day of "Shalom Star", parents and children viewed a photo exhibition that featured a summary of the camp's activities for 2015.
Valeriya Marek, Executive Director of the Russian Reform Movement, summed up the year, noting, "While we are proud, as we are every year, of what we were able to organize, we look forward to developing and improving the program in years to come. Integrating children with special needs into the wider society is both immensely rewarding and very challenging, requiring special skills and a lot of patience. Thanks to Sasha and other inspirational stories, everyone involved with the integration project is more dedicated than ever to the important work we have to do."
The World Zionist Congress, the democratic body of the Jewish people worldwide, will meet in the fall of 2015 to determine the future course of the Zionist movement and its institutions.
Carole Sterling, Chair of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, noted, "The election results ensure that Israel will continue to grow, thrive and remain a Jewish and democratic state. During these crucial days, The Reform movement in the United States stepped up and made its voice heard. Working through the World Zionist Organization, we are confident that ARZA, as a part of ARZENU and together with the WUPJ, will have substantial influence over the great of issues of our time, including Jewish identity, anti-Semitism, and Israel's future."
Tov Dr. Phillip Bliss.
Every year, the Queen's Birthday Honors in Australia help define, encourage and reinforce national aspirations, ideals and standards by identifying role models.
Dr. Bliss has served his community and country in a wide variety of rolls, including President of the Progressive Judaism in Victoria (PJV) from 2009-2012; Chairman, Council of Christians and Jews (Victoria) and President, Leo Baeck Centre for Progressive Judaism, to name just three.
In his work for the WUPJ, Dr. Bliss has served as Vice Chairman of the WUPJ since 2000; Honorary Secretary; Chairman, Social Justice and Advocacy Committee, since 2000; Member Management Committee and Executive Member, since 1995.
Upon receiving his Queens Honors Award, Dr. Bliss said, "As a little boy from the London suburb of Willesden emigrating to Australia reaching this point would have been the furthest thing from my mind. At this stage I am very proud to have achieved this recognition.”
On May 13 2015, hundreds of Jews from all over the world gathered in Rio de Janeiro's largest and oldest synagogue, the Grande Templo Israelita. They came to kick-off the World Union for Progressive Judaism’s CONNECTIONS 2015 biennial conference, and to witness the gifting of a Torah from one local community - Associação Religiosa Israelita (ARI) - to another situated half way around the world – Kehillat Shanghai.
From Rio with Love: Kehillat Shanghai receives a very
special gift from the ARI congregation.
Kehillat Shanghai board member Jeanine Buzali witnessed this historic moment in her community's history: "As I stood on stage and heard the story and significance of KS’s new Torah, I realized that not only was this gift a perfect symbol of Jewish solidarity (kol Israel arevim ze ba ze) but that this Torah is also a profound legacy of Shanghai’s rich Jewish history. This Torah was taken to Rio from Germany via Shanghai by Chazan Joseph Aronsohn, who arrived in Rio’s budding Jewish community in 1949. In the seven decades that followed, ARI grew from a handful of immigrants to the thriving 900-family congregation that it is today."
is inducted as Menorah Synagogue's rabbi.
Rabbi Fabian was formally welcomed into the European family of Progressive communities by Michael Reik, EUPJ Vice-Chair.
Rabbi Fabian, in his induction address, pointed out that the English tendency to speak constantly about the weather was indicative of a need and ability for people to connect. He quoted eruditely from Torah and Midrash and spoke of his vision for the future of Menorah Synagogue.
The "What Rabbinate Do We Need?" conference featured a keynote that was delivered by acclaimed Israeli author Haim Beer, who spoke on "The Rabbi as an Agent of Culture."
HUC-JIR's conference in Jerusalem.
In addition, panel discussions dealt with the question of denominationalism, cultural factors impacting the effectiveness of the Reform rabbinate in Israel, and research on the motivation and training of Reform rabbis.
According to Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean of HUC-JIR: ""What Rabbinate is needed in Israel today?" is a pressing and exciting question. As new models emerge and older ones are revitalized and adapted for Israel, our conference proved relevant and inspiring. We were able to convene speakers from across the Liberal perspective, including two modern Orthodox rabbis. This discussion must continue and deepen as we shape the next generation of rabbis that can and must lead the ongoing search for community and Jewish identity in Israel."
Campers will gather at Givat Havivah for a summer of fun, games, Jewish learning, engagement and leadership development.
its Havayah Summer Camp.
Last summer, "Havayah" was one of the few summer camps that continued to operate despite the Gaza war. Not only did the camp continue to function, but the older campers stepped up to pack food and aid packages for southern families in need and soldiers serving in the line of fire.
IMPJ's youth movement, Noar Telem, is hard at work preparing for this summer's camp, which is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
If so, then you should consider studying at the Leo Baeck College Lehrhaus in London, UK.
Due to the success of the first year, Leo Baeck is delighted to invite you to sign up for the 2015-16 program.
The richness, variety and quality of the courses are bound inspire and enthuse Progressive-minded people everywhere!
November 5, 2015 - International Humanitarian Award Dinner Honouring Rabbi Lenny Thal & Installation of Rabbi Daniel Freelander, URJ Biennial Conference, Orlando, Florida
November 8–12, 2015 - Southern Jewish Civil Rights Experience, Atlanta, Georgia - For Registration Please Click Here