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IMPJ Newsletter - Adar I 5779 / February 2019

‏יום חמישי ‏07 ‏פברואר ‏2019

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Holidays and Events 
כְּשֵׁם שֶׁנָּטְעוּ אֲבוֹתַי לִי כָּךְ אֶטַּע אֲנִי לְבָנַי." (תלמוד בבלי תענית כג: א)

"As my father planted for me, so shall I sow for my children."
(Talmud Bavli Ta'anit 23: 1)
Kehilat "Shir Chadash" Celebrates
Their 20th Anniversary
Kehilat "Shir Chadash", the IMPJ congregation in Tzur Hadasa, just celebrated its 20th anniversary! Here are a few words from the rabbi of the Kehila, Rabbi Stacey Blank, about the ceremony they held to celebrate their anniversary and the Tu B'Shvat holiday:

"We began by planting a tree in the orchard of Tzur Hadassa with a plaque in honor of the community's 20th anniversary, which says: 

"As my father planted for me, so shall I sow for my children." (Talmud Bavli Ta'anit 23: 1)

On Motzei Shabbat, a festive evening took place in which about 100 people took part. 

We began with a Havdalah ceremony, a photo presentation and a trivia game about the history of the community. We reviewed together the activities of our community over the years, together with the Tu B'Shvat Seder, plentiful with wine and fruits. 

We conferred certificates of appreciation upon the founders of the community, our true roots. We spoke about the meaning of prayer and ceremonies and heard an original song by one of our community members. 

We studied the many charitable, cultural and social-justice activities we have conducted. We met with the leaders of the Kehilla over the generations, with a special acknowledgment of the former community rabbis and the residents of our community. 

Members of the leadership and several rabbis of the Israeli Reform Movement were also present. Thank you to everyone who participated!

We invite you all to come visit!"

-- B'vracha,
Rabbi Stacey Blank
Kehilat "HaDror" Celebrates
Their New Synagogue
On February 6th, 2019, Kehilat "HaDror" Jerusalem held a celebration of the inauguration of their new Beit Knesset in the Tali Bayit Vagan school, of which Rabbi Ezra Ende is the Head Rabbi. The Beit Knesset was made possible thanks to the the generous support of Nani & Austin Beutel, who were present for the celebration. Special thank-yous for the generous contributions from the Joint Building Fund of the IMPJ and the World Union for Progressive Judaism, who were represented at the event by Senior Vice President of the WUPJ Eyal Ronder.  Thank you for helping to turn dream a reality!
Join Women of the Wall As They Celebrate 30 Years of Making History!
On Rosh Chodesh Adar II (March 7-8, 2019), Women of the Wall (Nashot HaKotel) will be celebrating 30 years as an organization making change in Israel!

From WOW: "Women of the Wall will be sponsoring a weekend of events of learning and solidarity for our Israeli and international supporters. The weekend commemorates WOW’s three decades as the leading voice for feminism in Israel, along with Rosh Chodesh Adar II and International Women’s Day. Come join us for a weekend of Sisterhood!"
Kehilat "Natan Ya" Vandalized on International Holocaust Remembrance Day
IMPJ Chairperson Reuven Marko wrote this D'var Torah for Parshat Mishpatim, reflecting on the recent vandalism that occurred at Kehilat "Natan Ya". This post originally appeared as a part of ReformJudaism.org's "Ten Minutes of Torah" series:

"This past Shabbat we read from the Torah portion Mishpatim about the ordinances set before the Israelites. Apparently, the Ten Commandments, important as they may be, are insufficient to guide a proper social structure. For a better understanding of what is expected of us, the text offers clear guidance on a wide variety of circumstances that differ in complexity and nuance.

For example: “If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall surely be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished.” In this case, the underlying presumption is that oxen normally are timid and do not pose a threat to the people around them. When this presumption is challenged, the ox is killed and its flesh may not be consumed. The owner of the ox remains innocent, however, with no responsibility for the incident whatsoever.

The text offers us another case involving an ox: “If, however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death.” Here we are dealing with an ox that is known to behave like a bully. The owner of that bullying ox has already had early warnings and is therefore expected to restrain his beast for it is a danger to others around it.

On the last Saturday night in January, after reading in the morning from Yitro, a modern-day bully found it appropriate to breach the fence surrounding the “Natan Ya” congregation’s synagogue, took the water hose, stuck it through a window and flooded the sanctuary with water. Water penetrated deep into the soil underneath the historic structure. The building, received from the Netanya municipality by the community after a long court battle, housed the town’s Haganah headquarters before the establishment of the State of Israel, and then served for several decades as its Magan David Adom emergency station.

It is hard to believe that anyone in a country so concerned about its water supply found it acceptable to perpetrate this act of vandalism. That person is certainly like an ox that is known to have done damage. Of course I am not suggesting stoning such a person, God forbid, but I do expect the police to act swiftly and decisively to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice. If the police refrain from doing so, there is a good chance that this person or persons will do so again, somewhere sometime, with potentially devastating results.

This Shabbat, we will read the offering of contributions in Parashat T’rumah. The Eternal speaks to Moses and says, “Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution.” The reasons for raising these contributions is to support the building of the Tabernacle. It is a contribution that comes from the heart, there is no specific amount that is required or demanded. People assist in any way they can.

At the “Natan Ya” congregation, the congregation my parents founded together with others, despair is not an option. Cleaning and pumping out water, which took five days to complete, enabled us to hold services this past Friday. We maintained the tradition, unbroken since the founding of the congregation; no services are ever cancelled, even in the darkest of times. The members of the congregation, led by Rabbi Edgar Nof and I, are extremely appreciative of the support and generosity that we are experiencing these days. It is a true manifestation of the heart that brings contributions. We especially value the partnership and support we receive from the Reform Movement in North America. It is our work together, between our Movement in Israel and in North America, that strengthens us in times like these.

Be assured, we shall not be deterred by the acts of such wrongdoers. “Floods” of  water shall not “drown” our resilience nor our competence. Where they will destroy, we shall build; where they spread hate, we shall spray love; where they scorch, we shall plant; where they will silence, we will raise our voices. Our congregation, now in its Jubilee year, has experienced hardship. More than once we have wiped a tear or two, brushed away drops of sweat, mended the broken, and repaired the troubled. He who tried to cause us damage on International Holocaust Remembrance Day does not understand that our march is loud, visible, and strong, and we proudly call out “Anakhnu poh!” (“We are here!”) Together, we will continue to nourish and sustain Reform Judaism in Israel."
Last week on International Holocaust Remebrance Day, the synagogue of the IMPJ's congregation in Netanya, Kehilat "Natan Ya", was vandalized and flooded. The crime has been reported to the local police and municipal authorities, but the perpetrators are still at large. Vandals also ransacked an Orthodox synagogue in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood of Jerusalem the next day. The IMPJ decries all incidents of racism and anti-Semitism. This acts must never be condoned or ignored, no matter to whom it occurs.

The following is a statement from Kehilat "Natan Ya" given the in the aftermath of the incident:

"On the morning January 27th, 2019, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we discovered that our synagogue, Kehilat "Natan-Ya", was broken into. The garden was destroyed, a window was broken into and the water hose from the garden was put into the synagogue. The water reached heights of 15 cm, ankle-deep. This disgraceful operation caused significant damage to the structure of the synagogue, as well and its contents, including the destruction of books of the Talmud, siddurim, and the guitar of Rabbi Edgar Nof, the head rabbi at Kehilat "Natan Ya". There is no reason for this act, this hate crime that took place in downtown Netanya. The incident has been reported to the local police and municipal authorities. Nothing was stolen – just destruction. In the city of Netanya, in Israel, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

This year, Kehilat "Natan-Ya" celebrates its 50th anniversary. Anyone who thinks that it is possible to extinguish the tune of this special and dedicated community that I am proud to be among its members is wrong. Under the leadership of the community Rabbi, Rabbi Dr. Edgar Nof, we will continue and grow and add to the landscape of Netanya. Hate and contempt are not our ways. They have never been and nor will they ever be. We will continue to accept anyone who wants to be part of a Jewish society that embraces and embraces, egalitarian and multifaceted, with shades and witnesses, from all our hearts and with all of our heart."
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. 
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.