3 Av 5770
July 14 2010 / 3 Av 5770
Now is the time to act – for your sake, for the sake of your children and grandchildren. In a place in which all Jews should find safe haven, Israel, our legitimate rights as modern Jews are being threatened by pending legislation in the Knesset. A small minority of ultra-orthodox Jews are threatening to delegitimize all forms on non-ultra orthodox practice by changing the laws of conversion. We need you to make your voice heard and tell Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he must act to prevent a potential rift between Israel and the Jews throughout the world. Please send the attached letter to the Prime Minister (for a pdf version of the letter please click here; for a word version please click here). We would also appreciate if you would send a letter to your local Israeli Ambassador.
MK David Rotem’s bill could be brought before the Knesset in the next several days, unless we can get the Prime Minister to stop it. Rotem’s bill would place responsibility for supervising all conversion courts on the Chief Rabbinate – effectively making conversions performed by Reform and Conservative rabbis (and other non Ultra-Orthodox rabbis) within and outside Israel illegitimate. Further, this bill would require all converts to accept “the yoke of the mitzvot according to Halacha (Jewish Law),” i.e. to live an orthodox lifestyle. For detailed background information, please click here.
The majority of the world’s Jews are not orthodox; we cannot allow our religious rights to be abrogated by a small minority.
Next week, Jews around the world will commemorate Tisha B’Av, a day of great sadness. On that day, the Temple that once stood in the heart of Jerusalem was destroyed. While history records that the destruction occurred at the hand of our enemies, our tradition teaches that our enemies were able to prevail because the Jewish people were consumed by sinat chinam – baseless hatred. Factions and disagreements within the community made us vulnerable to attacks from without. Today, history seems poised to repeat itself, unless we ACT.
The World Union for Progressive Judaism has been actively involved in this issue from the outset, alongside our partners from URJ, CCAR, IMPJ, IRAC, ARZA, ARZENU and others, and we are proud of the fact that our regions and communites around the world have already sent powerful messages. This is not just an issue for the Progressive / Reform community - we are joined in this campaign by Conservative, Masorti, Reconstructionist Jews and Federations around the world. Now is the time for every individual Jew to make a difference and be heard.