Israel – Now Is The Time!
An ARZA Canada Resource for Israel Engagement
In Your Reform Congregation
So… Why Does Arza Canada Believe Israel Engagement Is So Important?
Engagement with Israel:
- plays a significant role in enhancing and sustaining one’s Jewish identity, particularly important for our Jewish youth
- recognizes Israel as a core element of Jewish historical and current experience
- inspires a sense of connection and belonging to the Jewish people
- inspires a sense of collective investment and responsibility
- inspires deepening knowledge and commitment
- accepts both a loving and a criticizing relationship with Israel
- encourages helping to shape Israel to be a Jewish, pluralistic, democratic society.
Let’s Get Started... Where Is Your Congregation Now?
- In what ways has your congregation connected with Israel?
- What is the best way your congregation has connected with Israel? What else is working well?
- What do your congregants know about Israel? What do they want to learn?
- In what ways do your congregants want to deepen their engagement with Israel? What’s standing in the way?
Build Your Israel Team… Some Ideas
- Advocate for your lay leaders and professional staff to make Israel a priority in your own congregation.
- Identify a key person in your congregation to be the “champion” for Israel Engagement.
- Invite a member of ARZA Canada Board to meet with your Board, present to a group or speak at a service.
- Develop a relationship with a mentor/coach from ARZA Canada.
Next Steps... Some Suggestions To Kick Off Your Israel Engagement Initiative
- Conduct an on-line survey of your congregants (try for example SurveyMonkey) regarding what and how much they think about Israel.
- Survey the current status and profile of Israel among the various groups of your congregation such as the Board, committees, sisterhood/brotherhood.
- Develop a vision for Israel Engagement for your congregation.
Now Let’s Do It... Ideas for Programs and Resources
Given that congregations have their own unique size and character, what works in one may not work in another. The suggestions here are organized around education, celebration, advocacy and travel.
ARZA Canada can help your congregation plan and implement them. Call us or email us. We’re here for you.
- Plan Israel programs for different age groups.
- Integrate Israel engagement into all aspects of congregational life including prayer, study, social action.
- Learn about Israel’s history, politics, culture, domestic and foreign challenges.
- Learn about Israel through Israeli music (both folk-dancing and popular).
- Share personal Jewish identity journeys and connections with Israel stories. “What does Israel mean to you?”
- Develop relationships with Israeli congregants.
- Invite shinshinim (Israeli youth ambassadors).
- Partner with Israeli Reform congregations.
- Yom HaAtzmaut, day of unbridled celebration
- Yom HaZikaron, Memorial Day honouring those whom have fallen and showing solidarity with victims of terrorism.
- Israel Film Festival, arts and culture.
- Take action, volunteer, speak out.
- Equip volunteers to know and be able to present truthful information wherever public opinion is formed.
- Be informed about “religious pluralism”, “peace process”
- Connect with IMPJ and IRAC, Israel Religious Action CentreConnect with CIJA, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
- Plan a congregational trip to Israel. We can help!
- Encourage congregants to visit Israel, engage with Israelis, make Israeli friends.Visit Reform congregations in Israel and Reform kibbutzims Lotan and Yahel.
- Connect with ARZA World: Israel Tours.
Develop Meaningful Relationships With Our Israeli Partners...
Here Is a Compilation of Stories of Such Experiences:
- Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto is funding a new pre-school in Be’er Sheva to help grow a Reform community in an under-represented area.
- Solel Congregation of Mississauga has a vibrant relationship with….
- Temple Sholom in Vancouver has raised the $10,000 required to bring Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of IRAC, to their congregation to pursue their advocacy for Women of the Wall.
More to come! Let us know your story.