The second general assembly of the Italian Federation for Progressive Judaism (FIEP) was held on 4 November on the theme ‘The Future is Now’. Introduced by the co-presidents’ report, Franca Eckert Coen and Joyce Bigio, the morning continued with a constructive and lively debate on the current state and perspectives of the Jewish Progressive Movement in Italy.
The afternoon’s program started with Professor Bruno di Porto who presented his book “Il Movimento di Reforma nel contesto dell’Ebraismo Contemporaneo,” published in October Angelo Pontecorboli Editors. The book is an interesting reconstruction of the history of the Progressive Jewish Movement in Italy, of which Di Porto is one of the protagonists, of the birth of the four current congregations and its Federation, FIEP. Franca Coen declared, “We are really making history in the Italian Jewish World, a comment agreed by all present.”
The workshop, “How to Grow a Community – New Models in a Modern World,” conducted by Mario Izcovitch, Director of the Pan European Programs of the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), was very engaging. With his years of experience in the growth of Jewish communities throughout the world, Mario gave his contribution by suggesting to FIEP member congregations how it will possible to grow further by adopting new and less vertical organizational models, which will attract new generations.
Izcovitch gave encouraging comments to participants, declaring to have found in the assembly a strong energy and enthusiasm, concluding that his expectations of the Florentine appointment have been abundantly surpassed in positive terms.
Then it was the turn of the presidents of the four progressive congregations (Beth Hillel, Rome; Beth Shalom, Milan; Lev Chadash, Milan and Shir Hadash, Florence) who illustrated the situation of their communities and the various activities – from the Talmud Tora in Rome for 30 children to ten religious and cultural courses of Lev Chadash; from the new membership of young people in Beth Shalom to the many activities for the children of Shir Hadash.
The two co-Presidents concluded by giving a report on the participation of FIEP at the General States Ucei (October 31 and November 1) in which FIEP explained to the delegates the path of the Progressive Jewish movement – a reality now rooted also in Italy. FIEP made a clear request for its recognition by the Union. The participation gave the Federation great visibility.
About the author:
Fabio Benjamin Fantini is a Member of the Board of the Italian Federation for Progressive Judaism (FIEP).