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:
- 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
- encourages helping to shape Israel to be a Jewish, pluralistic, democratic society.
Become a partner to an Israeli Reform congregation
The Domim – aLike Initiative of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism gives Diaspora Jews a home community in Israel.
Each of our congregations has an opportunity to ‘twin’ with one of our Reform congregations in Israel.
Once the twinning relationship is established, there are many ways to deepen and enrich it. Joint programming, for example:
– simple ‘meet and greet’ sessions over Zoom
– study sessions and book reviews
– lecture series
– discussion groups
– virtual tours
All these forge bonds of friendship and understanding. Many of our Canadian congregations have initiated a twinning relationship and made significant connections that have lasted for years.
Find out more. Contact:
Lee Weisser, President, [email protected]
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.
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.
- 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 celebration of Israel’s independence
- Yom HaZikaron, Memorial Day honouring those who 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 current political issues.
- Connect with IMPJ and IRAC, Israel Religious Action Center
- Connect with CIJA, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
- Plan a congregational trip to Israel.
- Encourage congregants to visit Israel, engage with Israelis, make Israeli friends.
- Visit Reform congregations in Israel.
Develop Meaningful Relationships With Our Israeli Partners...
Here Is a Compilation of Stories of Such Experiences:
- Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto funded a new pre-school in Be’er Sheva that has grown into a thriving Reform community in an under-represented area.
- Solel Congregation of Mississauga has had a vibrant relationship with Kehillat Ramat HaSharon for over 40 years.
- Temple Emanu-El in Toronto travelled to their partner Bavat Ayin in Rosh HaAyin to deliver a Torah to the congregation.
Let us know your story.