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מסורת של התחדשות יהודית

Whats New?

Elul 5778 Newsletter

‏יום שני ‏13 ‏אוגוסט ‏2018

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Dear friends and colleagues,

As the month of Elul begins and leads us through a spiritual preparation for the new Hebrew year, we would like to explore the Hebrew word for year – SHANNAH - which reminds us of two roots that have opposite meanings.

The biblical meaning of the word “shannah” is “repeating something over and over”, referring to the fact that a year repeats itself within the cycle of time. But the word "shannah" also reminds us of the word "shonah", different, in Hebrew, in the sense of something that does not repeat itself but is rather changing.

These two similar roots give the word "shannah" a unique meaning. On the one hand, a year is a time period that repeats itself over and over, just as the seasons, holidays and Parashot HaShavuah repeat themselves. But on the other hand, each year is different from the previous one, and brings with it new challenges, life situations and a need for change.

Modern Jewish identity asks us to apply both of these meanings in our lives. On the one hand, to return to the same texts, customs and traditional prayers; and on the other, to find within them different meanings, which are relevant to each person and each period of time.

Over the past month we've brought meaning to the spirit leading into Elul, with  intense efforts in the public sphere regarding the Nation-State law, Surrogate-Parent law, and our response to the detention of Rabbi Dubi Haiyun for officiating marriages outside of the Rabbanout. 

At the same time, we pray that the month of Elul will be peaceful for the residents of the area surrounding the Gaza strip who have been suffering so much, along with most of the residents of Gaza, who just want to live normal lives.

May the month of Elul bring with it winds of positive change and continuity in our meaningful connections.

Rabbi Gilad Kariv
Holidays and Events 
Gearing up for the High Holidays
The month of Elul is a time of self-reflection and preparation for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. Jewish tradition teaches us that this is a month to do soul-searching, to try and find our way back to the purity that resides within us - this is the way to creating genuine, positive change in our lives. The month of Elul is characterized by the reciting of Selichot (traditional poems and prayers of repentance) and the blowing of the Shofar at early morning prayers.

Some say that the Hebrew letters that comprise the word Elul – aleph, lamed, vav, lamed – are an acronym for “Ani l’dodi v’dodi li,” a verse from Song of Songs that means “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” Most often interpreted as love poetry between a man and a woman, the phrase also reflects the love between God and the Jewish people, especially at this season, as we assess our actions and behaviors during the past year and hope for blessings in the coming year.

Gear up for the High Holidays with over 60 Liberal Reform Minyanim (50 IMPJ congregations, and 10 new initiatives) in various styles. Find a Minyan near you.
We invite you to explore "Open a Gate for Us" - a collection of prayers, readings, and songs by Israeli authors and rabbis, inspired by the liturgy of Yom Kippur.
Take a look at our holiday collection of texts and songs for Rosh Hashannah including Seder Simana Tova - symbols of goodness for the New Year.

Young Leadership at the Knesset
Noar Telem Youth Movement and IMPJ's Young Adult communities attended a discussionת arranged by the Israel Religious Action Center, at the Knesset on the Nation-State law where they experienced the complexities first-hand and provided what insight they could. We are looking forward to seeing these young leaders create social change in the next few years!
Children's Impressions from the Delegation from Shoham in the Memphis community
Rabbi Rinat Safanya

A week ago we were still on the plane between Memphis and Israel
A few days after our arrival, the children sat to write their impressions about the delegation they just returned from and I am happy to share some of these entries with you:

"About six months ago, when we started the preparations for the delegation, the connection began. First, we talked with them via Skype. Slowly, slowly we created a Whatsapp group ... When we finally got to Memphis, we saw what the kids look like in real life, and we got to know them a lot better, as we did activities with them and slept in their homes (so we also got to know their families). We had so much fun together that these ten days felt like three days!  And although we only spent ten days together, I felt like I was leaving my best friends when it was time to go. We can't describe in words how sad we were to leave, and how much we will miss each other," - Tal. 

"The activity that left a mark on me was the panel of Rabbis that took place in Memphis, attended by Rabbis from various streams of Judaism: Reform, Conservative and Orthodox. The rabbis answered questions that we asked and gave us their opinion on various issues, and in addition they represented the position of the stream that they would belong to. This activity enabled me to hear various opinions that I would not otherwise have been exposed to, to formulate my position on various issues related to religion and to strengthen my Jewish identity," - Ariel.
DOMIM– aLike - the IMPJ's Israel-Diaspora relations project, established together with the Israeli Ministry of Diaspora Affairs - fosters partnerships between Reform and Progressive congregations in Israel and around the world. DOMIM is currently renewing its contract with the Israeli government, so keep an eye out for new initiatives starting soon!
This month saw the struggle for equal rights and democracy in Israel deepen. Following the outrageous arrest of Rabbi Dubi Haiyun of the Conservative Movement for officiating marriages outside of the Rabbanout; continuation of the struggle against the discriminatory Nation-State law; and the passing of the Surrogate-Parent law that completely ignored the rights of the LGBTQ community to create and parent families - the IMPJ continues to fight for equality and democracy in these complex times.

Read more:
From Same-Sex Marriage to Marching with Pride: IMPJ Supports the LGBTQ Community Every Step of the Way

Rabbi Dubi Haiyun's Detention

Rabbi Ofek Meir, Head of the Reform Movement’s Leo Baeck Education and Community Center in Haifa, at the Nation-State law protest, August 4th:

"We have gathered this evening shoulder to shoulder, loyal citizens and residents from all walks of life at a rally that is entirely out of love for the State of Israel.

The Israeli flags that are carried here in every corner represent to all of us the Jewish-democratic State of Israel, which since its inception has espoused with the flag and the Declaration of Independence the values of Judaism, equality and democracy - the vision of the prophets of Israel.

In Israel, Jews, Arabs, Druze, Circassians, Bedouins and other national minorities live together. This is a constant challenge, both delicate and complex. Emotional and not straightforward. This is our reality. Our fate has bound us together.
Traveling overseas? Looking to experience Shabbat or holiday services with other, like-minded Reform, Progressive or Liberal Jews? The new app from the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) will connect you with communities worldwide for home hospitality, services, and more!