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מסורת של התחדשות יהודית

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Iyar 5779 Newsletter

‏יום רביעי ‏08 ‏מאי ‏2019

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"וּבְקֻצְרְכֶ֞ם אֶת־קְצִ֣יר אַרְצְכֶ֗ם לֹֽא־תְכַלֶּ֞ה פְּאַ֤ת שָֽׂדְךָ֙ בְּקֻצְרֶ֔ךָ וְלֶ֥קֶט קְצִֽירְךָ֖ לֹ֣א תְלַקֵּ֑ט לֶֽעָנִ֤י וְלַגֵּר֙ תַּֽעֲזֹ֣ב אֹתָ֔ם." (אמור כ"ג: כ"ב)

“When you reap the harvest of your Land, you shall not completely remove the corner of your field... and you shall not gather up what falls to the side. Rather, you shall leave these for the poor person and for the stranger.” (Leviticus/Emor 23: 22)
Dear Friends,

Some may think it is odd that the Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut are followed so closely together. How can a day of immense sadness, of grieving over lost loved ones, fallen in the wars Israel has fought since her birth in 1948, be followed so immediately by a day of rejoicing and celebration, the yom huledet of our state?

This juxtaposition exemplifies the resilient spirit of the Jewish people. It takes an incredible level of self-awareness to move from a place of devastation to celebration, and there are no people that are more used to having to move swiftly from sadness to joy than the Jewish people.

This past week in Israel was a tense one which required the aforementioned resilience. Over 700 rockets had been launched from Gaza into Israel, resulting in 4 casualties and injuries to numerous people. Baruch Dayan HaEmet – our thoughts and hearts are with the families of the victims and the injured and we pray for a swift resolution to this barrage of terror. As of yesterday morning there is a ceasefire, but it is tenuous and we are concerned for the future.

Yet our people will remain resilient – though schools were closed, some of our kehillot, such as Kehillat Ramat Shalom in Be'er Sheva, one of the areas hardest hit by these recent rocket attacks, opened their doors to all in need of a place to be during the time of apprehension. Their Merchav Parent-Child Center welcomed  parents and children with therapeutic music and dialogue during that frightening and unpredictable time. Our rabbis and lay-leaders in the Sha'ar HaNegev regional council and in Gedera hosted activities for families during the tension. This is yet another sign of the Israel Reform Movement's resilience in action.

Beginning tonight, on May 8-9, 2019 (4-5 Iyar 5779), we will commemorate Yom HaZikaron, the Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers, followed immediately by the celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut, the Israeli Day of Independence.

Our Movement strives every day of the year for “Tikkun Olam” in Israel. Our fight is for pluralism, democratic values, egalitarianism, against racism, and to fulfill the values incorporated in the Declaration of Independence. On Yom HaAtzmaut we make a special effort to remind ourselves of the miracle of Israel’s creation, Israel’s incredible achievements in high tech, agriculture, and in so many areas of life. We celebrate the fact that the Jewish people today has a homeland that in so many ways is truly a light unto the nations.  This is the time, on Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut, to focus on what we have achieved and to reflect on the sacrifices made in order to have a secure and thriving Jewish nation. Finally, this is the time to express gratitude for our resilience and each other.

Many Reform congregations, both in Israel and abroad, commemorate the moment separating Israel's Memorial Day and Independence Day with a special Havdalah service, which can be found here.

I invite you to utilize these materials with your congregation in unison with ours here in Israel – yet another reminder of the lasting unity of the Jewish people, in Israel and around the world. 

This week's Torah portion, Emor, teaches us that we we must remember, especially in these times of crisis, to continue to leave the corner of our field there for the stranger in our land. It is important, now more than ever, to continue to care for the strangers in our midst.

I wish you all a chodesh tov and chagim s'machim.
 
Sincerely,
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Rabbi Gilad Kariv
"Butterflies - Coloring the Memories"
“…But I haven’t seen a butterfly here. That last one was the last one.
There are no butterflies here, in the ghetto.”

- Pavel Friedman, September 29, 1944 (perished in the Holocaust)
 
On May 2, 2019 (27 Nisan 5779) we observed Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, in Israel. The official memorial date was set to commemorate the date of the Warsaw Ghetto revolt. We remember all those who perished and recognize those who survived.

While there is only one official Israeli and one international Holocaust Memorial Day (on January 27) a year, the memory of the Nazi Holocaust, those who perished and the reverence for those who survived never leaves us. The Holocaust and the legacies of its heroes and heroines are taught year-round in Israeli schools and tens of thousands of both Israeli and international visitors make their way to the “Yad v’Shem” Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem annually. Many other institutions operate year-round, in Israel and around the world, to ensure that we never forget.
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The Israel Reform Movement also never forgets. In recent years, the “Butterflies – Coloring the Memories” project has been established as a way to teach young Israel children what is perhaps the most difficult topic about which they could possibly learn. The project, and the website built to centralize all of the program’s materials, was established in memory of the one and a half million children who did not get the chance to make their dreams come true. This project, established by Sue Klau and funded through the generous support of the Jim & Sue Klau Family Foundation, provides Israeli children the opportunity to color butterflies in memory of those one and a half million children. This project provides a way to teach children about the Holocaust; not through darkness, but through light and color. To this day, thousands of butterflies have been colored, and adorn classroom, homes, and bedrooms all across Israel and the world.

We invite you to visit the “Butterflies – Coloring the Memories” website to learn more and use its content.

May the memory of 6 million Jews and all those who perished during the Holocaust be a blessing - Yehi Zichram Baruch
Holidays and Events 
PESACH
From the 14th - 22nd of Nisan 5779 (April 19-27, 2019) we celebrated the holiday of Pesach! 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 Pesach events held in your communities and kehillot! Feel free to share pictures and more on our Facebook Page!
Shabbat Tkumah (29 Nisan 5779 / May 4, 2019)
The end of the month of Nissan and the beginning of Iyar in Israel are a complex  time that connects the three main Zionist commemorative days – Yom Ha’Shoah, Yom Ha’Zikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut – within one week of the year. Alongside the change in weather in the period between winter and summer, every Israeli and Zionist experiences this transition period between sadness and grief over the memory of those who have perished in the Holocaust and Israeli wars, and the joy of independence and redemption of the Jewish nation. This process, which is experienced by many as a sort of collective roller-coaster, invites us to have a philosophical and theological discussion about these three days. In the process of forming the Jewish and Israeli calendar in the modern age in a way that will be relevant and meaningful to our lives, the Israel Reform Movement seeks to connect between these three days and point theirs relevance to one another.

In the time period between these three days is the Shabbat that is called at Reform congregations Shabbat “Tkumah” – Shabbat of Revival, as mentioned above. The word “Tkumah” in Hebrew originates from the word “la’kum”, to rise, or to stand up, and the process of revival which we commemorate expresses the revival from the disaster and ashes of the Holocaust, through the heroism and grief of Israeli wars, all the way to the joy over the miracle of Jewish independence.

The initiative to set a special Shabbat before Yom Ha’Atzmaut, on the same token as Shabbat Shuva before Yom Kippur, Shabbat HaGadol before Passover and Shabbat Hazon before Tisha b’Av, began at Kehillat Har’el – the most veteran Israeli Reform congregation, about 60 years ago. Since then, this tradition has spread to all Reform congregations across the country, who commemorate this Shabbat in a variety of ways – beginning with the blowing of the shofar, reading the Israeli Declaration of Independence in trope and lighting the seven candlestick menorah to signify Israel’s independence.
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A Special Havdalah Between
Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzma'ut
As we finish Passover and Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), we prepare ourselves for an interesting impending juxtaposition: Yom HaZikaron (the Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror), immediately followed by Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Independence Day). Why are the two holidays so close together? This is an example of the indefatigable spirit of the Jewish people – we follow the darkest moments in our history with the celebration of how far we have come as a nation. There is still so much to do, but as we reflect, we can also appreciate just how far we have come as a people.

We invite you to use this Havdalah service as a virtual journey, marking the transition from Yom HaZikaron to Yom Ha'Atzmaut, marked by songs and readings from Jewish and Israeli culture.
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Kimcha d'Pischa: Providing Assistance
To Families in Need During Passover
Each year during Passover, Keren b’Kavod, together with Reform congregations across the country, pack and distribute food packages to families in need. Keren b’Kavod and IMPJ congregations aim to provide community-based, educational and humanitarian assistance to all people, so to enable them to fulfill their right to a proper standard of living for themselves and their families.

The project assists families from all walks of Israeli life, including Ethiopian, olim (immigrants), immigrant workers, Bedouins, the elderly and more. We are happy to announce that this year we have raised over NIS 300,000!
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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.
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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!
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Cartoon by Shay Charka
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