CCAR Convention 2023 Leads Reform Rabbis to Israel

Over 200 Reform rabbis to gather in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to celebrate Israel at 75, support Reform rabbis in Israel, and engage in critical dialogue on Israeli culture today.

NEW YORK – February 2023: For the first time in seven years, Reform rabbis will journey throughout Israel for a week of reflection, discussion, and camaraderie during the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) annual convention. The theme of this year’s convention is “Fostering Relationships, Confronting Complexity,” and it will begin on Monday, February 20 in Jerusalem. The trip will conclude on Sunday, February 26, 2023 in Tel Aviv.

As part of the gathering, the CCAR will introduce and install their new president and board. Rabbi Erica Seager Asch, President Elect for the CCAR, will assume her new role as President, anointing her as the fourth woman and the youngest person ever to lead the 130-year-old organization of Reform rabbis.

“I’m honored to be installed as President of the CCAR, not only surrounded by colleagues, but in Israel,” said Rabbi Erica Seager Asch, who serves Temple Beth El in Augusta, Maine. “This convention will serve as a chance for us to gather as a rabbinic community, providing the in-person connections which we have missed over the last few years, and a chance to celebrate all we have accomplished this last year. It is a special joy to be with our Israeli colleagues and be their partners in pursuing a more just Israel.”

The CCAR convention will kick off on Monday with a text study and chevruta led by Rabbi Leon A. Morris, President of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. The remainder of the week will be filled with notable discussions with CCAR member and Labor MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv, other Knesset members, and Orly Erez-Likhovski, Director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), as well as a performance with the YMCA Youth Choir and comedian Noam Shuster Eliassi.

Throughout the week, the convention will offer CCAR members the chance to experience Israel through the eyes of their Israeli Reform rabbinic counterparts and participate in the growing and flourishing Reform movement in Israel.

Participants have the option to participate in prayer at the Kotel, walking tours led by local Reform rabbis, the Tel Aviv Marathon, and a visit to the new ANU museum. Many rabbis will also participate in a protest against the actions and proposals of the extremist right-wing government, which threaten Israel’s democracy. A highlight of the convention will be the opportunity to celebrate Kabbalat Shabbat with eleven different Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) congregations, where they will further cement relationships with and support of Israeli rabbinic colleagues and congregants.

In addition to these activities, the convention will offer rabbis the chance to engage in critical dialogue in programs that include “Mixed Cities: Lod After the Riots,” “Haredim: Beyond the Stereotypes,” “The Palestinian Authority and Ramallah,” “LGBTQ: Pinkwashing, Achievements, Languages, and Challenges,” and Sheikh Jarrah: Ideology, Real Estate, and Politics,” as well as additional discourse that will explore issues like economic inequality, settlers, refugees, and the environment.

“After years beleaguered by the pandemic and by global unrest, we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to return to Israel,” said Rabbi Hara Person, Chief Executive of CCAR. “Whether it’s a thought-provoking discussion on our relationship to the complexity that is Israel or running the Tel Aviv Marathon alongside your colleagues, our rabbis will be able to fully immerse themselves in Israel’s culture, leading to a deeper understanding of the country and our history, as well as a strengthening of the relationships that we cherish and value.”

To connect with CCAR leaders or for more information about CCAR Convention, contact Maddy Troha at