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ARZA Canada:

Strengthening ties of Reform Jews to Israel

ARZA Canada:

Strengthening ties of Reform Jews to Israel

ARZA Canada:

Strengthening ties of Reform Jews to Israel

ARZA Canada is affiliated with the Reform Jewish Community of Canada and the Union for Reform Judaism North America.

With over 8,400 members, our mandate is to connect with Reform communities throughout Canada, foster connections with and strengthen our ties to the Reform Movement in Israel, and work to realize the vision of Reform Zionism.

North American Reform Jews sing Hatikvah for Israel’s 75th Birthday
Lee Weisser
Lee Weisser
President
Arza Canada logo - blue

Whose voice is it anyway?

Shalom Chaverim/Chaverot,

When ARZA Canada talks about adding your voice to the voices of our Reform colleagues in Israel, what exactly do we mean?

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Our colleagues in Israel are working daily to bring the values and practices of Reform Judaism to Israelis. In Israel, there is no separation of religion and state. So, practicing Judaism that is outside the state-run Orthodox Rabbinate is not easy.

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Rabbi Yael Vurgan (left) offering spiritual support after Oct. 7

Israeli Reform rabbis and congregants are busy:

  • Comforting the ill, wounded and bereaved in their communities.
  • Offering egalitarian Shabbat services where men, women and families can worship together in a warm and inclusive environment.
  • Providing progressive Jewish education from pre-Kindergarten to high school.
  • Developing the next generation of leaders in a variety of youth activities including Shabbat retreats and summer camp.
  • Fighting in the courts for the rights of minorities including LGBTQ+, women, new olim, asylum seekers and Arab Israelis.
  • Providing humanitarian aid to people in need, creating inclusive housing projects for people with disabilities, offering empowering life-skills courses for women of various minority groups, and working with their Arab neighbours in shared society initiatives.
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Jewish and Arab musicians play together for peace

Reform congregations in Israel do not receive funding from the government to the same degree as Orthodox congregations. They must fight for their right to build synagogues and to receive even a fraction of the money that is given freely to thousands of Orthodox congregations.

What motivates Reform Israelis to fight for their congregations?

They know Israelis want to participate in life-cycle events such as weddings and B’nai Mitzvah as family units, where men, women and children can actively contribute to the ceremonies.

They know Israelis are hungry to practice Judaism in a way that is joyful, modern, meaningful and inclusive.

They take seriously the mitzvot of helping the needy and they contribute many volunteer hours to the municipalities in which they live and worship.

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Lee with friends from Kehilat Bavat Ayin at an outdoor service conducted by Beit Daniel in Tel Aviv

How is ARZA Canada connected to Reform activities in Israel?

ARZA Canada donates a percentage of our revenue to the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) to conduct their educational and humanitarian programs and support their rabbis.

In addition, ARZA Canada holds seats, or mandates, at the World Zionist Council, where decisions are made about how funds are allocated in Israel.

The more members ARZA Canada has, the more seats we have, and the greater our contribution to progressive values and projects in Israel.

 

What’s happening now?

ARZA Canada will soon be conducting a campaign to increase our membership, thereby giving the Reform platform a stronger voice at the World Zionist Council.

I will soon be travelling to Israel on behalf of ARZA Canada with other Reform Zionist leaders from around the world. We will be fighting for resolutions we have put forward to the World Zionist Council. These resolutions include:

  • Call on the Government of Israel to support Druze, Bedouin and other minority groups and amend the Nation State Law to include equality of all Israelis, regardless of religion, race, gender or national origin.
  • Call on the Government of Israel to craft a constitution to define through consensus the roles of the judiciary, legislature and government, to ensure fundamental human rights, and protect the principle of equality embedded in the Declaration of Independence.
  • Ask the World Zionist Organization to ensure an equitable allocation of post-October 7 relief funds to support women suffering from the physical and mental health impacts of sexual-based violence during and after the war.
  • Call on the Government of Israel and the Ministry of Transportation to operate buses and trains on Shabbat and holidays so that this vital service is accessible to those who need it.
  • Call on the law enforcement authorities to enforce the law against those who incite to racism against Israeli Arabs, including conflating Israeli Arabs with Hamas. To call on the Government of Israel to act with tolerance towards all citizens of Israel, including the Arab public.
  • Call upon the Government of Israel to increase investment in programs and initiatives that bridge gaps between communities and promote a shared society in Israel.

 

ARZA Canada is a partner in fulfilling this vision.

Let’s work for a better future for all Israelis.

This is where YOU come into the picture!

 

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Join ARZA Canada for 2023-2024

 Add your voice and be part of this important   partnership with Israel.

 Join Now

 

AND

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 Support our friends and colleagues at the Israel   Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism   (IMPJ)  and the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC).

 

 Donate Now to help Israelis on the ground working for   our Reform values.

 

L’shalom,

Lee Weisser

ARZA Canada President

 

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events:

Volunteer Mission to Israel – March 11-17

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The mission begins the afternoon of March 12 in Jerusalem and concludes the morning of March 17. Join us to volunteer in agriculture, food packing, giving blood, visiting evacuees and survivors, learning Torah, meeting peace activists, and being a witness and support where needed.

5 nights in Jerusalem.

All the details, itinerary and price are here: https://secure.ayelet.com/GoldsteinVolunteer24.aspx

Questions? Speak to Edward at 1-800-237-1517 x336

Tuesday February 20 @ 7 pm

Temple Sinai Congregation

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ISRAEL AND THE THREAT OF JEWISH FUNDAMENTALISM
Weds, February 21  |  12:00-1:15 PM
Join Sources Editor Claire Sufrin and Tomer Persico for a conversation about this growing phenomenon and its connection to October 7th and the Israel-Hamas War.

As Donniel and Yossi discuss in today's episode, Israel has witnessed a significant growth of Jewish fundamentalism including entry into the highest echelons of the Israeli government. In his article on settler violence and two types of Jewish fundamentalism from the Fall 2023 issue of Sources, Tomer Persico presciently argues that religious fundamentalists threaten to undermine both Israel and Judaism. Read his piece, and then join him later this month for a virtual conversation on this topic.

✍️ REGISTER >

Israel Dialogues - Holy Blossom Temple and ARZA Canada

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Thursday February 22 @ 12 pm

Expert Panelist: Kobi Michael

Readings related to this talk can be found here

Thursday March 14 @ 12 pm

Expert Panelist: Yaron Shavit

Thursday March 21 @ 12 pm

Expert Panelist: Michael Koplow

Register here

Sunday February 25, 10 am ET on Zoom

Temple Har Zion, Thornhill ON

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Anita Friedman: The Situation for Women and Children in Israel during War

Speaking from her home in Israel, Anita Friedman will relate how women and children continue to be affected by the events following October 7. Anita Friedman heads up World WIZO, operating 177 daycare centers in Israel, five youth villages and three specialized schools. Almost 100% of students enroll in the IDF. In addition, WIZO runs two shelters for abused women and children, three violence prevention centers and a myriad of other related projects. Some 800 projects are run from Eilat to the North.

PLEASE REGISTER HERE

Sunday March 3 – 11 am Pacific/2 pm Eastern

Kolot Mayim, Victoria

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Rabbi Dr. Nachshon Siritsky will speak on "Our Evolving Understanding of G!d and Gender". Rabbi Siritsky is the spiritual leader of the Reform Jewish Community of Atlantic Canada, serving Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador. They identify as transgender and nonbinary. Their talk will explore insights into the evolving perceptions of divinity and gender within the Jewish context.  You can register here for this free Zoom lecture. A recording of the talk will be provided to all who register.

This talk is  sponsored by Kolot Mayim Reform Temple in Victoria BC and co-sponsored with the Reform Jewish Community of Atlantic Canada Building Bridges is supported by the Jewish Federation of Victoria and Vancouver Island.

Register here.

Miriam Pearlman

Podcasts

Miriam Pearlman, immediate past president of ARZA Canada, discusses the impact of Israel’s new government with fellow leaders in a Canadian Jewish News Daily podcast:

Arza Canada Privacy Policy

The Privacy Commission of Canada states the following:

Non-profit organizations are not subject to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) when they do not engage in commercial activities.

The following activities are not considered commercial and are not subject to PIPEDA:

  • collecting membership fees
  • compiling a list of members’ names and addresses/email addresses
  • mailing out newsletters

As you know, ARZA Canada represents Canadian Reform Zionists with members in all of Canada’s Reform congregations. Though independent of the sister organization, ARZA, in the United States, it is an affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and Reform Jewish Community of Canada (RJCC). We are writing to address how ARZA Canada maintains its membership records, and in particular its commitment to the privacy of our members.

Accurate membership records are important to the entire Reform Jewish Community of Canada given that the size of our membership determines our influence on Zionist policies in Canada and in Israel. ARZA Canada members come through congregational solicitation and activism, and so annually it is provided lists of its members from Canadian Reform congregations such as yours in order to confirm individual memberships. This is deeply appreciated.

ARZA Canada has strong privacy practices to ensure the confidentiality of this membership information. It is used by ARZA Canada to communicate with our members and engage them in the activities of ARZA Canada, including joint programs with RJCC and our congregations.

For more please click here.

Meet Our Executive

Lee Weisser

Lee Weisser

President

Miriam Pearlman

Miriam Pearlman

Immediate Past President

Len Bates

Len Bates

Liaison to Reform Jewish Community of Canada

Cheryl Englander

Cheryl Englander

Vice-President 

Jeff Denaburg

Jeff Denaburg

Vice-President 

Dorothy Millman

Dorothy Millman

Vice-President 

Valerie Whitefield

Valerie Whitefield

Vice-President 

Judith Wiley

Judith Wiley

Secretary

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