2022 News from Masorti Israel
As a valued supporter of the Masorti-Conservative Movement of Israel, I wanted to share an update from our Israeli partners as Masorti embarks on a new strategic vision of service to the State of Israel. There’s much more than I can share in this note; I hope to reach out to you next week to get your reactions to these innovative plans for growing Masorti’s influence on Israeli society.
Key elements of Masorti’s vision include:
- A responsibility to serve the state of Israel and all Israelis, regardless of ideology or identity, in Masorti communities and everywhere Israeli Jews live;
- A commitment to create spaces throughout Israel for Jewish families to unite; that all Israeli Jews have a right to experience deep Jewish spiritual life, and that Judaism should be a source of unity not division;
- An embrace of true Jewish diversity, one that values the multiple Israeli Jewish experiences, and tirelessly fosters engagement in community and across ideological lines; and
- Responses to the massive trauma that Covid has wrought on individual and community life with a vision of resiliency throughout the community and country.
Masorti has already begun to put these essential values in action. Just two examples:
After painful disruption of Masorti services at the Egalitarian Family Kotel, instead of retreating into conflict, Masorti CEO Rakefet Ginsberg reached out in open dialogue to ultra-Orthodox leaders like Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, a leading West Bank-based rabbi and teacher. Masorti is working to promote Israeli unity, not through uniformity of belief or practice, but through open-hearted encounters across the Israeli religious and political spectrum.
Masorti also understands that vast numbers of Israeli Jews will never be reached simply by holding Masorti services at our kehillot. Jewish tradition belongs to everyone, and it’s Masorti’s responsibility to take Jewish life beyond synagogue walls, including through Purim in the Pubs where a festive Jewish celebration of Purim was offered on-site in eight pubs across Israel.
To fulfill this vision of service to Israel, the Masorti Movement is launching an ambitious agenda for Israel — brief descriptions of key initiatives are included below. I welcome your thoughts and questions on these plans and hope they pique your interest on ways we all can work together.
And as Masorti Israel prepares to boldly advance a future of service to the State of Israel, and to bring its love of the Jewish tradition to all Israeli Jews, we invite you to partner with Masorti in this crucial work. I will reach out to you in the next week or so to answer any questions on Masorti at this exciting turning point, and to discuss ways you might engage with Masorti Israel during this upcoming year.
Looking forward to connecting soon. Warmest wishes.
Gideon Aronoff, Executive Director
P.S. Please consider renewing your support for Masorti Israel today. Checks can be sent to The Masorti Foundation, 3080 Broadway, New York, NY 10027. Online gifts can be made securely at masorti.org/support-masorti/
Masorti Agenda — 2022 and Beyond
- Greatly expand the numbers of rabbis serving both congregations and offering community education and engagement programs throughout the country.
- Promote neighborhood egalitarian religious life to bring deep Jewish experiences to all corners of Israel.
- Respond to the trauma of Covid with new intervention programs for Israeli youth through the NOAM Movement.
- Provide training and support services for community rabbis to strengthen their ability to serve greater numbers of Israeli Jews.
- Unite young Israelis from secular, traditional and religious families in a new pluralistic afterschool program.
- Develop new pre-army gap-year programs to engage the next generation of leaders of diverse Israeli and Diaspora Jews in a spirit of respect and understanding.
- Expand common Israeli and Diaspora Jewish experience by integrating Israeli youth in the Ramah summer camping experience.
- Offer nationwide pluralistic Bar and Bat Mitzvah learning and celebrations to Israeli kids in all corners of the country.
- Ensure that the Bar and Bat Mitzvah rite of passage is open to all by growing the special needs ADRABA program and its unique accessible religious resources.
- Expand the Kesharim program, which brings Jewish learning together with physical, cognitive, and emotional services to older Israelis with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
- Create programming for staff of Members of Knesset through Masorti’s Jewish Pluralism Watch, to train rising Israeli political and community leaders on issues of religion and state.
- Recognize that the Egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel is an ever-more important site for religiously diverse Israeli Jewish families, expand opportunities for Jewish spiritual life and practice at the Kotel.
- Spearhead legal and religious services for gerim (converts) seeking to fully integrate into Israeli Jewish life.