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מסורת של התחדשות יהודית

Whats New?

The IMPJ's Nisan 5779 Newsletter

‏יום חמישי ‏11 ‏אפריל ‏2019

What's New at the IMPJ?                                                   View this email in your browser
"החודש הזה יהיה לכם ראש חודשים" (שמות י"ב:א-ב)
“This month shall be unto you the beginning of months; it shall be for you the first month of the year.” (Shemot 12:1-2)

There are many tractates surrounding the sacrifice of the Pascal Lamb, including one from a scholar of the 13th century who stated: "in the wake of actions, hearts are enticed." This refers to the way that oftentimes, we must first act, and later feel connected to our actions within our hearts.

These past weeks have been filled with many events that have brought action into our midst, and with it a fulfilled heart. As missile fire rained down on Israel’s Southern region, and injured seven family members in Israel’s Center, our congregations in Be’er Sheva and Sha’ar HaNegev opened their doors to parents and children from all walks of life and welcomed them inside. By bringing together community members for children’s activities, baking, therapeutic music and dialogue, local families were able to experience some relief from the terrifying reality outside, and to fulfill their hearts with renewed strength.

During the coming months we will commemorate our generation of those who "were brought forth from Egypt," and fill our hearts with renewed strength so we can continue our journey towards the Promised Land.
Wishing you a Chodesh Tov and Chag Pesach Sameach!

Rabbi Gilad Kariv
The general elections for the Israeli Knesset are on our doorstep, and the political discourse in Israel is at a boiling point, often reaching new depths of division and polarization. The Reform movement in Israel is not politically affiliated with any party, but the issue of elections is, of course, on the agenda of the IMPJ and its congregations - making waves via campaigns, civil activism on the ground and more.

The victory in the courthouse, in dismissing the discriminatory candidate Itamar Ben Ari, reflects that the IMPJ is at the forefront of the struggle for social and political change in Israel. Although the IMPJ is not represented by a certain party, its involvement in the public arena in Israel leads to profound changes in Israeli society.

READ MORE about IMPJ's efforts towards the upcoming elections.
This past month, on Rosh Chodesh Adar II (March 7-8, 2019), the Women of the Wall (Nashot HaKotel) celebrated 30 years as an organization making change in Israel! Mazal tov to Women of the Wall from the IMPJ on this historic anniversary!

The weekend event was to be highlighted by a Friday morning Rosh Chodesh Adar II service at the Kotel at 7:00 AM on Friday March 8, 2019. Sadly, this event was marred by violence, incited by those on the Orthodox right. The Women of the Wall were punched, pushed, kicked, shoved and spat on as they attempted to conduct a prayer service at the Kotel in honor of their historic 30th anniversary and ultimately made the decision to move to Robinson’s Arch to prevent any further violence. 

Click here to READ MORE about the incident.
Holidays and Events 
On the 14th of Adar II 5779 (Wednesday, March 20, 2019) we celebrated the holiday of Purim! Here is a selection of pictures from the events held in Reform congregations and programs throughout Israel. 
We'd also love to see and hear about the Purim events held in your communities and kehillot! Feel free to share pictures and more on our Facebook Page!
IMPJ's Pre-Army Young Leadership Mechina Program partake in Holon's Purim parade.
Festive Megilla-reading at Kehillat Ma'alot Tivon Congregation.
Launch of the "Winter Camp" Event for Returning Shlichim of URJ Camps
On Friday and Shabbat March 22-23,  IMPJ's "Tlamim" Young Adult program launched the program for Returning Shlichim (emissaries) at the nostalgic "Winter Camp" event.

Every year, 300 Israeli young adults partake in Reform summer camps in North America as leaders and emissaries, often undergoing a deep process of connection to liberal Judaism, Tikkun Olam and Reform spirited Jewish values. But once the summer is over, they return to secular daily life without knowing that there is a Reform community of young adults right here in Israel, where they can continue to be a part of something they connect with and believe in!
IMPJ's first Winter camp event for returning Shlichim, attended by over 80 young adults, included a camp-style Kabbalat Shabbat, American dinner and a spiritual song session with Shimon Smith. We also discussed Reform Judaism in Israel, emphasizing the projects and initiatives spearheaded by Tlamim's young adult community; and established a team of representatives who will lead the community, its events and projects in the future.

The response to the event was phenomenal! Many participants verbalized how much of a sense of community, liberal Judaism and partnership they found here that they lacked in their daily lives; how much they enjoyed the event and wished for it to continue. We are looking forward to the next event, and to the potential of this wonderful group of young leaders in Israel!

The IMPJ and Tlamim would like to extend a special thank you to Rabbi David Eshel for helping to coordinate and bring this dream to life, and to Gali Geberovitch, Director of Tlamim.
Our Director of Education Represented the IMPJ
At the 2019 Prizmah Conference in Atlanta
For the first time, the Israeli Reform Movement took part in the biennial Prizmah Conference to introduce and discuss the many educational initiatives that the IMPJ is leading throughout Israel. Prizmah is the umbrella organization of all day schools in the United States. We are very proud to be a part of this important endeavor to impact the younger generation.
Reut Noyman (pictured above), the Director of the Education Department of the IMPJ, was one of the speakers at the conference
Keren b'Kavod, the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism's Center for Social & Communal Activity, continues to assist disenfranchised populations in Israel, including new Olim, immigrants from the Ethiopian community, and disadvantaged women.
For more information, please contact Keren b'Kavod, by phone: +972-1700-50-19-19 or by email at bekavod@reform.org.il.
A Meeting Between Women From Heart to Heart:
"The Women's Empowerment Circle"
A Reflection by KbK Director Sharona Yekutiel
The Women's Empowerment Circle is a program that was developed by Keren b'Kavod in order to develop a unique response tailored to the needs of women from struggling communities, with backgrounds such as domestic abuse, new immigrants from Ethiopia, and Bedouin women from the Israeli desert. The Circle teaches life skills such as financial independence, and empowers the women to fulfill their needs as women and mothers, from parenting skills to issues of personal development, domestic violence, exhaustion of rights and integration into the workforce.

The formation of the group was a great undertaking. In addition to logistical issues, it required great cultural sensitivity - most women maintain tradition and do not leave their house for the purpose of social interaction with other women. Despite the challenge, we finally managed to develop a circle for about 20 women who come regularly every week to meet. Additionally, they have the opportunity to meet with relevant professionals from the fields of care and welfare, lecturers and instructors and of course, each other.

For me, as a group facilitator, it is very exciting to see that these encounters have a deeper meaning than the accessibility of information - they enable a close and warm human encounter of true sisterhood that is unparalleled in Israeli culture today. The members of the group learned that they can share, help and receive important support in their lives - thus creating a new circle of relationships and mutual assistance, support and trust - a family in every respect. Many of them expressed that this circle of support has empowered them to make beneficial decisions for themselves and their children in their personal lives and have surmounted challenges as a result.

I would like to express a special thank you to those who made this project possible: first, to the participants - thank you beyond words; to the Lakiya Early Childhood Center, under the direction of Social Worker Ahlam Abu Ramesh; to the on-site nurses team; and to the Al-Bakhur Association for the Advancement of Preschool Children in the Arab Society in the Negev, under the direction of social worker Shlomit Somekh Lehman.

I look forward to taking this success and creating many more successful groups to follow.

Sharona Yekutiel, Director of Keren b'Kavod
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. 
From Freedom to Independence - Pesach to Yom Ha'Atzmaut: Stations of Israeli Culture Along the Path to Redemption
The annual cycle of Jewish holidays naturally does not follow a chronological order. The Jewish calendar places festivals and commemorative days that have their origins in the Bible, in post-Biblical history, and in modern times alongside each other.

The contrasts and combinations of the Jewish calendar can be exciting for young people learning about their heritage. It also provides an opportunity to deepen and expand our understanding of the meaning of each festival or special day by examining it alongside others being celebrated and commemorated in close proximity. The ancient Sages themselves took this approach when they chose four weekly Torah portions to be read from Purim through to Pesach.

Today, a similar opportunity is created by the proximity between Pesach and three modern commemorative days that follow the ancient festival: Holocaust Memorial Day, the Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers, and Independence Day. We invite you here to embark on a virtual journey from the Festival of Freedom (Pesach) through to Independence Day, marked by songs and readings from Jewish and Israeli culture.

To read the full text and embark on this virtual journey, CLICK HERE!
Cartoon by Shay Charka
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