Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism, is calling for urgent action in response to “our forgotten refugee crisis”. Since the war in Eastern Ukraine began in 2014, 1.8m people have been forced from their homes by the fighting, including thousands of Jews from Donetsk and Lugansk.
On Thursday, December 7, 2017, the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) and Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) will honor Toronto philanthropists and distinguished Reform standard bearers, Nani and Austin Beutel, together with a pioneer of the Israeli Reform Movement, Rabbi Meir Azari, at the International Humanitarian Award Dinner. The evening will feature the exclusive North American premiere of the Debbie Friedman Suite for Orchestra.
The “Shirat Hayam” community’s autumn family Shabbaton in Odessa brought together fifty participants of all ages in a picturesque location by the sea. The three wonderful days were filled with Jewish study, family activities, master classes, prayers, and intellectual games. The Shabbaton was also the opportunity to learn more about Diaspora Israel Day, recently celebrated in Reform communities around the world.
Shnat Netzer is the World Union’s leadership training and Israel experience program that hosts young adults from around the world for eight-ten months of learning, working and living in Israel – with Etgar serving as its core leadership training component. Recently, the World Union sat with the new Director of Etgar, Raviv Alef, to learn more about him and his goals for the program.
Sunday, October 15, 2017 was the beginning of what history will record as the day when Progressive Judaism in Italy came of age. Representatives from all four Progressive congregations in Italy (Beit Hillel in Rome, Lev Chadash and Beit Shalom in Milan,
and Shir Hadash in Florence) gathered in Florence to proclaim in one united voice: “Hineinu, Here we are”, and to elect a leadership team to direct the newly-established Federazione Italiana per l’Ebraismo Progressivo (FIEP) – the Federation of Jewish Communities in Italy.
We are excited to let you know about the opening of applications for Cohort 4 of the Roswell Klal Yisrael fellowship! The Roswell Klal Yisrael fellowship is a leadership seminar for world-wide progressive Judaism, inspiring global young adult Jewish leaders to be change agents around the world, held in partnership between the World Union and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ).
In 1984, two kindergarteners from Country Day School in San Jose, Costa Rica (Saul Herckis and Alberto Bonilla) discovered they were Jewish. Their parents, who did not belong to the Centro Israelita, the only synagogue in the country at that time, because they were not Orthodox in their believes or practices, began to meet weekly to celebrate Shabbat. They were soon joined by other families who sought communal prayer and celebration in a more spiritual, and less rigorous, Jewish framework.
And in those first gatherings, Communidad B’nei Israel of Costa Rica was born.
A special event by Arzenu Hungary, the local Zionist organisation of the Reform movement, and the Israeli Cultural Institute was many months in the making. Erika and Tamas from Arzenu invited two outstanding presenters, educators from the unique Arava region of Southern Israel to offer a glimpse of the amazing intellectual capacity, wonderful green projects, research and entrepreneurship thriving in this wild and beautiful, remote desert landscape.
The Elul Seminar of the Eastern European Council of Reform Rabbis took place in Odessa in early September 2017, with six rabbis from across Russia, Belarus and Eastern Europe for coming together for a three-day seminar that fosters sharing ideas, stories and inspiration for preparing prayers, sermons and events for the upcoming Jewish month of Tishrei.
On September 19, while visiting New York to speak at the United Nations, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, accused the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel of using their partnership in the Western Wall agreement as a clandestine way to gain recognition. The World Union, along with its regional affiliates, responded to his charges with the following statement.