Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Masorti Foundation: History Made at the Knesset

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the masorti (conservative) movement in israel - promoting religious pluralism and building community through inclusive, traditional, egalitarian Judaism
Masorti Leadership Mission Makes History: Davens Mincha in Egalitarian Service in Knesset Synagogue
Rabbi Jennifer Gorman, front, leads historic egalitarian prayer service in the Knesset Synagogue on Tuesday, January 24, 2012. Photo courtesy of the Masorti Foundation.
Dear Friends,
I am just back from Israel where our Masorti Leadership Mission made history. Our group of 21 Conservative rabbis and lay leaders from North America davened mincha together at the synagogue at the Knesset—and did so without a mechitza and led by Rabbi Jennifer Gorman. It was a thrilling and spiritually uplifting occasion for all of us.
The historic nature of the event did not go unnoticed by the Israeli media. It made news in Hebrew and English on Ynet, the biggest and most important website for news in Israel. A story also appeared in the Jerusalem Post.
So that you may read the full account, I share with you the links to the English translation of the Ynet story: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4181144,00.html and to the Jerusalem Post story: http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=255117.
Our davening at the Knesset followed a series of one-on-one meetings to discuss issues of religion and state with Ministers Dan Meridor (Intelligence and Atomic Energy, Likud) and Uzi Landau (Energy and Water, Israel Beiteinu) and with MKs Yohanan Plesner (Kadima); Orit Zuaretz (Kadima); and Isaac Herzog (Labor). The evening before, Opposition Leader Tzipi Livni was the keynote speaker at our mission's opening dinner. Among the messages that we voiced are that Israel must become committed to religious pluralism and democratic values and end discrimination against non-Orthodox practice.
We also met with the former head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan, and were honored to meet at the U.S. Embassy with Ambassador Daniel Shapiro, who told us how he had been welcomed into our kehilla in Kfar Saba.
The four-day Leadership Mission also brought us around Israel to visit with leaders from more than a dozen of our Masorti kehillot. I have led a number of prior Masorti missions and, even for me, it was exciting to witness the vitality present in our communities and to connect with so many Israelis committed to the Masorti values of democracy, Zionism, tolerance and pluralism.
I came home from my two January visits in Israel never feeling more positive about the Masorti movement and its leadership and never more worried about pluralism and democratic values in Israel.
We have made enormous progress. Certainly, holding the first egalitarian service in the Knesset was good, but we need substance to go with the symbols. Please help us continue to build momentum. Visit our website today--and encourage your congregants to do so as well--at http://www.masorti.org/donate.php to make a donation to the Masorti Foundation. Or mail a check to:
Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
475 Riverside Drive
Suite 832
New York, NY 10115-0122
David H. Lissy
Executive Director & CEO
Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
To learn more, please contact:
Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 832
New York, NY 10115-0068
(212) 870-2216; 1-877-287-7414
http://www.masorti.org/; info@masorti.org