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IMPJ Newsletter - Tevet 5779 / December 2018

‏יום ראשון ‏09 ‏דצמבר ‏2018

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"הנרות הללו אנו מדליקין, הנרות הללו אנו מדליקין. על הניסים ועל הנפלאות, ועל התשועות ועל המלחמות שעשית לאבותינו, שעשית לאבותינו, בימים ההם, בזמן הזה."
"We light these lights for the miracles and the wonders, for the redemption and the battles that you made for our forefathers, in those days at this season."

Dear Friends,

As we enter into the month of Tevet, the Festival of Lights draws to a close. Tonight we will wrap up the eight days of Hanukkah with latkes, sufganiyot, playing dreidel and lighting all eight of the candles in the menorah.

There are two opinions from the Tanakh on how to light Hanukkah candles – one from Rav Hillel and one from Rav Shamai. Shamai starts with eight candles on the first night and subtracts one each day of Hanukkah, finishing on the eighth day with one sole candle. Hillel, on the other hand, starts with one candle and adds a candle each night, so that we have a fully lit menorah on the eighth day.

Over thousands of years, Jewish leaders have disagreed upon which manner of lighting to follow and ask why, today, we go by Hillel. One of the answers is that we should make an addition to the holiness of each day by adding a candle, and not a subtraction, or a “lack”.

Hanukkah celebrates the theme of light in the deep winter months, a time that tests the bonds between community and family. Many of our congregations this year held joint candle lighting ceremonies with neighboring Arab communities and friends, sharing and experiencing each other's traditions and customs. This is the true spirit of Hillel’s Hanukkah, the embodiment of "addition" to our happiness, of shared society and of inclusivity. 
As the Jewish nation, we celebrate together the miracle of Hanukkah, our unique Jewish roots, our history, our traditions, and what makes us special as a people. But at the same time, let us spread the light - let us make an “addition” and augment this happiness and holiness by embracing our neighbors. 

May we add to the light and holiness in our lives, not by excluding those who surround us, but by actively including and embracing one another. This is easily done when times are hard - when there is a subtraction, a “lack”; but it is easy to forget others when we are happy, surrounded by our own families and communities.

The Reform Movement believes that there is always room at the table for more, and that inclusive, tolerant and democratic society is an ideal to strive towards. May we spread the light, always.

I hope that you all are having a wonderful Hanukkah, a Chag Urim Sameach!

Rabbi Gilad Kariv
The Time Has Come for Equality for All Jews
In the wake of the tragedy in Pittsburgh, a special session was convened on November 7th in the Knesset on bridging the equality gap between different streams of Judaism. The two-hour intensive discussion focused on strengthening of the ties between Israel and the Diaspora and promoting religious tolerance and recognition by the State of Israel of all streams of Judaism. It was encouraging to see representatives from the coalition and the opposition, Reform and Conservative rabbis, all in the same room, working together to solve this great problem. 
Mazal Tov to the 5779/2018 Rabbinic Ordainees of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion!
From remarks delivered by Rabbi Gilad Kariv, President & CEO of the IMPJ, at the 2018 Rabbinic Ordination ceremony:

"Today we are celebrating the ordination of five Israeli Reform rabbis. Four women and one man are joining the 100 rabbis already ordained here in Israel. David and Rachel made Aliyah and are Israelis by choice. Yael, Inbar, and Tamar are native-born Sabras. David is the only one of the five who was born to a Reform family – the son of a rabbi, he embarked on rabbinical studies after leaving the IDF at the rank of lieutenant colonel. Our four new women rabbis were born into secular and Orthodox families, of both Ashkenazi and Sephardi origin. They serve as golden bridges between diverse Israeli worlds and circles. Two of the newly-ordinated rabbis head communities, while three are active in a wide range of spiritual, educational, and public activities."

"Many groups of graduates of our rabbinical school have been ordained on this stage. But you – Yael, David, Inbar, Tamar, and Rachel – are the most diverse group of all. Your resumes and the histories of your spiritual journeys underscore the way that our movement has become a home for those seeking God and holy community. No less importantly, they show us how rich our world can become when we leave open the entrance to our tent and when we make sure to visit the other tents of Israeli society and to learn from those who dwell in them."

Click Here to read the rest of Rabbi Kariv's remarks, as well as bios of each of the 5 newly ordained rabbis.
Holidays and Events 
This Hanukkah, spread your light by donating to the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ).

Every donation provides support to pluralism and every donor demonstrates the strength of the worldwide Progressive community’s support for Israel.

Donate Here
Build connections between Jews in Israel and from all over the world! Create a true “Am Echad”, one unified nation, via twinning communities, interactive education programs between classrooms overseas, joint Jewish-Zionist experiences, delegations to summer camps, and more!
Develop the next generation of pluralistic Jewish young leaders in Israel! Our Noar Telem Youth Movement, Mechina Young Leadership program, and Tlamim Young Adult communities are the forefront of social change, Jewish pluralistic activism and living mission-led lives
Help us fight the orthodox monopoly on egalitarian marriage. Thousands of Jewish couples are choosing to celebrate their marriage without compromising their democratic, pluralistic values. 
Join us in making Progressive Judaism accessible in all areas of Israel. Our innovative u’Faratzta program establishes & develops new pluralistic communities in  Israel’s periphery each year. 
Help Russian speakers in Israel renew their Jewish identity. After decades of pogroms and antisemitism in the FSU, they now face non-acknowledgment of their Jewish roots in Israel.
Contribute to the Meeting Neighbors initiative. The program creates genuine shared community life and long term bonds between Arab and Jewish families from neighboring communities all over Israel! 
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. 
In a realization of one such partnership, the Noar Telem Youth delegation from Kehillat Yozma in Modi'in is currently traveling on a mission (led by David Azoulay) to visit the Jewish community of Toronto! Noar Telem is the IMPJ's Youth Movement, cultivating and developing the future generations of pluralistic Jewish leaders.
Keren b'Kavod, the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism's Foundation for Social Responsibility, 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.