Engagement with Israel

Resolution Adopted by the CCAR


Adopted by the 116th Annual Convention

of the Central Conference of American Rabbis

Houston, TX

March, 2005

"We stand firm in our love of Zion." These words at the end of the CCAR.s "Reform Judaism & Zionism: A Centenary Platform (1997)," serve both as a clear statement of the contemporary Reform rabbinate.s commitment to Israel as well as an urgent reminder of the many sacred tasks to which our love of Zion continually calls us.

While we affirmed in 1997 "that the renewal and perpetuation of Jewish national life in Eretz Yisrael is a necessary condition for the realization of the physical and spiritual redemption of the Jewish people and of all humanity," for too many, the Land of Israel, the People of Israel and the State of Israel have become secondary concerns or worse. Since the eruptions of renewed violence in 2000, fewer Jews from North America have visited Israel, thus missing many opportunities to strengthen the bonds of connection and mutual responsibility.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that, in addition to the commitments we have taken upon ourselves in the resolution, "Encouraging Pilgrimage to Israel Among Reform Jews" (5765), and as an expression of its continued love of Zion, the Central Conference of American Rabbis reiterates and renews its Engagement with Israel by calling on its members:

  • To visit Israel at least once every two years,
  • To continue their ongoing Torah study in Israel and/or through Israeli institutions
  • To intensify their efforts of providing the necessary financial support that Israel needs through the various non-profit organizations which provide for, safeguard, improve, and deepen the physical and spiritual lives of Israel.s citizens.
  • To increase their efforts to raise funds through ARZA, the World Union for Progressive Judaism, and the URJ "Hineni" Program for the institutions of Progressive Judaism in Medinat Yisrael in order to sustain and enhance "Reform Judaism’s synthesis of tradition and modernity and its historic commitment to tikkun olam [repairing the world], [which] make a unique and positive contribution to the Jewish state." (CCAR Platform on Reform Judaism and Zion, 1997)
  • To increase their support of our Reform colleagues in Israel through the CCAR.s Rav l.Rav Fund,
  • To intensify education in our communities about Israel, its peoples, its history, its culture and the importance of Israel within Jewish life
  • To serve as ambassadors of information on Israel, especially its ongoing security needs, both to their own constituencies as well as within the communities in which they live,
  • To work with our Reform Movement, i.e., ARZA, ARZA.s Israel Matters, the URJ, NATE, and the IMPJ, as well as other Jewish organizations to develop educational and promotional materials which engender positive engagement with Israel – Land, People and State . and which inspire and encourage both pilgrimages to and extended stays and study in Israel.
  • To be tireless advocates both for social justice within Israel and for the rights of non-Orthodox forms of Judaism in the Jewish State by supporting ARZA, IRAC and other like organizations.
  • To participate in strengthening Israel.s democracy and the rule of law as partners in the continued building of Eretz Yisrael, in partnership with Israeli amutot (NGO.s/non-profits/advocacy groups) committed to social justice for all of Israel.s citizens, as illustrated in Israel.s Declaration of Independence.
  • To give spiritual and material support for the ongoing absorption of new "olim" through organizations such as the United Jewish Communities or the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry
  • To find ways to encourage the purchasing of Israeli products as a means both to create a positive and personal connection to Israel as well as to support the Israeli economy.
  • Through ARZA and the World Union, to find ways to connect life cycle events with Israel, e.g., Bar/Bat Mitzvah. twinning with Progressive Jews in Israel and/or the FSU
  • To encourage Reform Jews to learn modern Hebrew and engage with the culture of Israel.
  • To encourage aliyah as an expression of Jewish identity and personal involvement with and commitment to the land of Israel.
  • To find and nurture opportunities to create community-to-community and people-to-people links between North American and Israeli Jews, including ongoing connections with IMPJ congregations.
  • To actively support Israel, each in accordance with his/her own understanding and conscience, in its ongoing efforts to live in peace, justice and security with its neighbors
  • To work to bring the day when Torah will again come forth from Zion, the word of our God from Jerusalem, when a new light will shine forth from Zion, and we will all merit to see its splendor
  • I have set watchmen upon your walls, O Jerusalem, who shall never hold their peace day nor night; you who make mention of the Lord, take no rest. And give him no rest, until he establish, and until he makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth. Isaiah 62:6-7