Masorti Judaism

Yizhar Hess at SAMS

Location: St Albans Masorti Synagogue
Date: 26. March 2017, 3:00pm

Masorti Judaism UK and New Israel Fund are delighted to invite you to hear Attorney Yizhar Hess speak at an afternoon tea at St Albans Masorti Synagogue (SAMS) on Sunday 26th March from 3 – 5pm.

Yizhar, the Executive Director of the Masorti Movement in Israel, will be addressing the issues that will determine Israel’s future.

What are the critical challenges facing Masorti Jews in Israel today? How are attitudes towards progressive Judaism shifting? What opportunities for concrete policy changes around key life-cycle events such as marriage, divorce, and conversion does this create, and how does the battle for an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel form the symbol of this struggle?

The number of Jewish Israelis who define themselves as Masorti or Reform now stands at 500,000, around 7 percent of the Jewish population in Israel. This number has doubled in the last decade, and it is no longer a minority voice that can be ignored. The significant growth in Conservative (Masorti) congregations (around 80 at present) and Reform congregations (around 50) demonstrates how Jewish Israelis are increasingly taking ownership of their Jewish identity. We are in the middle of a Jewish pluralist renaissance In Israel and this renaissance is gaining momentum.

But much remains to be done. Orthodox Judaism remains the only stream of Jewish practice that is officially recognized and receives state taxes and funding. The ultra-Orthodox establishment that controls Israel’s civil sphere continues to delegitimize other streams of Judaism. Religious marriage and divorce are carried out under the sole auspices of the Orthodox Rabbinate, a reportedly corrupt kashrut system rules the supervision of Kosher food, there are limited conversion options and increased religious legislation around Shabbat that threatens the very fabric and character of secular life in Israel.

The Masorti Movement in Israel and NIF work tirelessly to give power to the progressive Jewish voice, push change, and re-configure the relationship between religion and state. We are proudly partnering on projects such as the Jewish Pluralism Watch that work towards the validation of progressive and moderate Orthodox Jewish options for marriage, divorce, and conversion in Israel, as well as striving for policy change that will enable non-Orthodox Rabbis and institutions to receive state funding.

Come learn about these critical issues and more and from Yizhar Hess at SAMS.

There is no fee for this event but please RSVP to olivia@masorti.org.uk for security purposes by Sunday 19th March if you would like to attend. 

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