As the Canadian branches of the Reform Movement, we express great relief that Prime Minister Netanyahu has finally paused the government’s plans for judicial reform. We note that this is in response to the tremendous demonstrations for democracy in Israel, which many of us have had the opportunity to support. We join the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), and American Conference of Cantors (ACC) in offering cautious optimism for coming days; no doubt, we continue to have deep concerns. Please read their response here.
There are concrete steps that we can take:
1. Be informed. Read, watch, and understand what the issues are. Some resources include:
2. The Reform Movement in Israel is under threat of losing financial support so we must help. An emergency campaign is now underway and any donation you can make will be extremely helpful. Please donate here.
3. As Abraham Heschel said when he participated in marches for civil rights in the US, we must “pray with our feet”. Apart from the demonstrations across Israel, rallies continue to be held around the world in over 50 countries. The diaspora initiative is called UnXeptable and is organized by Israelis currently living in countries outside of Israel, including across Canada. If you attend, bring an Israeli flag, or make a sign that says ‘Save Israel’s Democracy’. Note that we attend as Progressive Zionists.
4. Write to the various embassies and consulates of Israel across the country to express your deep concern. One easy way to do that is to use the write-in form provided by the Israel Religious Action Center.
Soon we will gather at our Passover tables. We traditionally conclude with the blessing, “L’shana ha’baah biYerushalim” – “Next Year in Jerusalem”. Recognizing this troubled time in history, let’s consider also adding from a place of love the refrain, “Next year in a free and democratic Israel.”
Len Bates, President, Reform Jewish Community of Canada
Lee Weisser, President, ARZA Canada
Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg, Chair, Reform Rabbis of Canada