Help Wanted: Religious Pluralism in Israel
We are seeking a volunteer web master or programmer to assist / join our team:
During the first Wexner Summit last year, a group of us chose to address the need for Jewish religious pluralism in Israel as a basic building block and tenet for strengthening the relationship between Israel and North American Jewry.
The Summit was entitled “Stronger Together: [Re] Imagining the Israel-North American Jewish Community Relationship”. Within our group of American and Israeli alumni, it was easy to agree that the State of Israel must be more than a modern country serving the practical needs of its population. Israel must serve and represent in some way the global Jewish People.
For many Jews in Israel, there is a prevailing sentiment that living in Israel, speaking Hebrew and creating a Hebrew culture is sufficient Jewish identity. These factors are important, but fall short of serving Jewish Peoplehood. This limiting view of Israeli Jewish identity is counterproductive to sustaining a mutual Israel-Diaspora identity.
Within our group we agreed that Jewish religious knowledge, practices, beliefs and spirituality are central to a sustainable notion of Jewish Peoplehood.
The exclusive nature of Israel’s institutional Orthodox Judaism is non-accommodating to other streams of Judaism (Reform, Conservative, etc.).
A growing non-Orthodox population in Israel and a growing section of North American Jews feel distanced and disenfranchised by Israel’s exclusive institutional Orthodox Judaism and Israeli policies regarding Jewish practice.
In view of Israel’s political climate it would seem that a fundamental policy shift is probably a long way down the road.
Thus, the promotion of Israeli Jewish pluralism is served mainly by grassroots activity and NGOs.
To support this, our Wexner Summit working group has embarked on an initiative to assist in “spreading the word” of Inclusive Jewish Pluralistic options to the Israeli public. (“Inclusive” is used here to differentiate from the “exclusive” nature of current Israeli Institutional Orthodox Judaism.)
Our goal: To increase the number of Israelis actively engaged in inclusive Jewish frameworks.
Our Summit Group adopted the following assumptions:
• A substantial portion of Israel’s Jewish population would be interested in engaging in other forms of inclusive Jewish religious practices and spirituality.
• The general Israeli population lacks awareness and/or knowledge with regard to the many frameworks and activities that practice and promote Inclusive Jewish religion and spirituality in Israel.
Our volunteer-based methodology includes:
• Continuous mapping of existing options and frameworks for inclusive Judaism in Israel.
• Pushing this information out to the Israeli public by means of a web site with an on-line dynamic database.
We are seeking a volunteer web master or programmer within our community of Wexner Alumni to assist us in creating a website and to advise us on best methodologies and practices.
Tuval Avishai, WIF Alum (Class 18)
Sue Borison, WHP Alum (Cleveland 05
Amy Bressman, WHP Alum (NY/Sidley)
Dalit Caspi Schachner, WIF Alum (Class 23)
Harris Devor, WHP Alum (Philadelphia 1)
Serena Eisenberg, WGF Alum (Class 9)
Bill Lipsey, WHP Alum (MetroWest)
Jennie Litvack, WHP Alum (Washington DC 13)
Tsachi Mushkin, WIF Alum (Class 14)
Mitchell Shore, WHP Alum (Philadelphia 1)
Ruthie Saragosti, WIF Alum (Class 26)
Isaac (Tsachi) Mushkin, WIF Alum (Class 14), is a co-founder and CEO of SenStation Technologies Ltd., a high-tech company that develops and sells state-of-the-art Passive Radar systems and solutions. If you are interested in helping out, please contact Tsachi at firstname.lastname@example.org.