25th Anniversary of Arza

Resolution Adopted by the




Adopted by the

114th Annual Convention

of the Central Conference of American


Omni Shoreham, Washington D.C.

March, 2003


In 1978,

the Association of Reform Zionists of America, or ARZA, was

established. It was the culmination of 50 years of growing

identification by American Reform Jews with the national aspirations

of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. One year earlier had

witnessed the founding in Canada of KADIMA, later to be known as ARZA

Canada, as a region of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.

The establishment of ARZA marked a historic turning

point. Although a number of Reform Jewish leaders were among the most

prominent American Zionists, the Reform movement as a whole had been

indifferent, and sometimes even hostile, toward Zionism. By the time

of the formation of ARZA, however, it came to be almost universally

agreed that a personal identification with Israel and world Jewry is

essential to Jewish identity.

Since that time, ARZA and

ARZA Canada have had many significant and admirable accomplishments

some of which had previously been thought to be unattainable both

among North American Reform Jews and in Israel. ARZA s participation in

the elections to the World Zionist Congress has given Reform Jews a

powerful voice in Israel-Diaspora relations. In each of the last two

elections ARZA has won more than 40% of the vote, making its

delegation by far the largest representing American Jewry. As a

result, the Congress has gone on record as strongly supporting Jewish

pluralism; and the Jewish Agency has been allocating approximately $4

million annually to programs of the non-There are a Orthodox streams,

partially redressing a historic wrong.

ARZA and ARZA Canada have

played a leading role in increasing Reform Jews’ involvement with

Israel. Many of their members have made aliyah to Israel, where, among

other things, they established two kibbutzim – Yahel and Lotan – and a

Galilee village, Har Halutz. They have also helped to energize the

growth of Progressive (Reform) Judaism in Israel – a movement that now

includes 24 congregations, 48 preschool classes, the Tali Bayit Vagan

elementary school and middle school programs, the Tzofei Telem the

scout movement, Forum Tzerrim the young adult forum, the Leo Baeck

Education Center, the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of

Religion campus in Jerusalem, the Mercaz Shimshon cultural center, and

MARAM, the association of Israeli Progressive rabbis.

Together with

the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, ARZA also established the

Israel Religious Action Center, which has won significant legal

victories in its efforts to achieve Jewish pluralism in Israel and

equality for all Israel’s citizens.

In 1998, ARZA, ARZA

Canada and the North American Board of the World Union for Progressive

Judaism merged to form ARZA/WORLD UNION, North America. ARZA/WORLD

UNION is the tangible expression of the connection of Reform and

liberal Jews in the United States and Canada with their fellow Jews in

Israel and throughout the world.


the institutions, programs and activities of the Israel Movement for

Progressive Judaism and the World Union for Progressive Judaism –

programs that promote Jewish identity and pluralism, and help to build

modern Jewish communities in Israel, the former Soviet Union and more

than 40 countries on six continents. At the same time, ARZA/WORLD

UNION educates liberal American Jews about the importance of Jewish

unity and peoplehood.

Today, with Israel facing some of

the greatest challenges in its history, it is especially essential

that Reform Jews, and all American Jews, stand as one with Israel. At

the same time, we must continue to support the growth of Progressive

Judaism in Israel and the ongoing work of expanding Jewish pluralism

and Israel-Diaspora unity.

Therefore, BE IT

RESOLVED, that the Central Conference of American Rabbis congratulates

ARZA/WORLD UNION, North America on the 25th anniversary of the

founding of ARZA and as well as ARZA CANADA (formerly Kadima).

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the CCAR commends the

farsighted founders of ARZA, particularly Rabbi David Polish and Rabbi

Roland Gittelsohn and its founding Executive Director, Rabbi Ira

Youdovin, along with those who have since served as ARZA presidents:

Rabbi Charles Kroloff, Mr. Norman Schwartz, Ms. Marcia Cayne, Mr.

Philip Meltzer, and its subsequent Executive Directors, Rabbi Eric

Yoffie and Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. We equally commend those who have

served ARZA Canada: presidents: Rabbi Michael Stroh, Rabbi Dow Marmur,

Harvey Zimmerman, Mark S. Anshan, and Joan Garson. They have all

served our Movement with courage and distinction.


RESOLVED, that the CCAR calls upon its members to encourage members of

their communities to participate in one of the missions to Israel to

other Jewish communities being organized by ARZA/WORLD UNION in

cooperation with the UAHC and other institutions of the Reform

movement, and to participate in such missions themselves.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the CCAR reaffirms the resolution

adopted by its Board of Trustees in June 2001, encouraging each member

congregation of the UAHC to adopt a congregation-wide program to

promote membership in ARZA/WORLD UNION, particularly through the

“check-off” system of membership.


that the CCAR reaffirms its pledge to assist ARZA/WORLD UNION in

raising funds in our congregations for the Israeli Progressive

movement and for Progressive congregations worldwide, to foster

personal relationships between the congregations and organizations we

serve in North America and the institutions of Progressive Judaism in

Israel and throughout the world, and to continue our work in support

of the College-Institute in Israel.