President Rabbi Sergio Bergman committed the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) to inclusivity, innovation and grassroots community leadership in his keynote speech at Connections 2023.
Addressing more than 250 Progressive Jewish leaders attending from around the world, he described a vision of WUPJ as a connector that supports and empowers Progressive Jewish communities as laboratories for growth, engagement, programming, and youth and leadership development — and generators of best practices that can inform and support the global Progressive Jewish Movement.
“All of us are community builders, and the challenge is building a global Progressive Jewish community,” Rabbi Bergman said. “In the same way that you build your local communities, tell us how to build a regional community and a global community. You are not the audience of the WUPJ, you are partners and stakeholders and key players of the WUPJ.”
Saying there can be no tolerance for stagnation in a Movement defined by progressive values and practices, he stressed innovation, experimentation and risk taking as key to growing community, energizing multiple generations of leadership, and advancing Progressive Jewish values.
“Innovation is related to creativity, freedom and disruption,” he said. “Innovation is to reform the reform. Innovation for us is to progress our Progressive Judaism. We need to move, we need to change, and we need to have discussions. When everything is quiet, and everything is OK, and everyone is following someone, we are not moving forward.
“While we respect the history and legacy of our mentors and teachers, we need to renew. This is an amazing opportunity. We work right now in the present but we are driven only by the future.”
Significantly, Rabbi Bergman introduced the new WUPJ Vision and Value Propositions, a statement of seven guiding principles that in its conclusion establishes that “the WUPJ offers a global platform to nourish ourselves with our collective memory, engage in vigorous discussion about our present and create our vibrant future through the paradigm of Progressive Judaism.”