Monthly Archives: December 2017

IMPJ wishes you a Happy Chanukah

Dear friends,

As we mark the second night of Chanukah, we light the Hanukiyah. We do so, traditionally, to celebrate the miracle of the oil, which lasted for eight days – much longer than expected. But in lighting the Hanukiyah and adding a candle every night for eight nights, we are also helping increase the light in our life and in the lives of those who surround us.

Just last week, three Israeli couples wed at Temple Emanu-El in New York in the presence of 1,500 guests, all calling for freedom of choice in marriage in Israel. The three couples either cannot, or will not, get married in Israel under the Chief Rabbinate. Just as the breaking of the wine glass reminds us that the whole cup is comprised of thousands of shards – we know that bringing the light of equality, pluralism and religious tolerance will be achieved first and foremost by the daily efforts of our Rabbis in Israel together with a growing number of Israelis who are willing to take a stand.

Last week we also had the pleasure to participate in the Union for Reform Judaism’s Biennial in Boston. In attendance were 6,000 Reform Jews from across the United States and the world, committed to enhancing the light of Reform Judaism, among them a delegation of around 40 IMPJ Rabbis, staff, lay leaders and youth. The Biennial took place during a time when tensions between the state of Israel and Diaspora Jewry are at their highest, following the freezing of the Kotel Resolution, the push for the Conversion Bill and increasing incitement against the Reform Movement in Israel. Despite these tensions, a bright light shined as we all came together to celebrate liberal and progressive Judaism in Israel and worldwide.

In recent months, we have unfortunately seen continued and even enhanced incitement and discrimination against our movement in Israel. As we enter the holiday of miracles and light, we are reminded of the famous story of Rabbi Yisroel Salanter, who when coming by the house of a shoemaker who was still at work late into the night, learned a great lesson – as long as the candle is lit, there is still time to repair. May we take this lesson and work together toward a brighter, more tolerant Israel.

On behalf of the entire IMPJ, I want to wish you and your family a Happy Chanukah!

Chag Urim Same’ach,

Rabbi Gilad Kariv

2017-12-14T12:17:22+11:00December 14th, 2017|News|

Victory for the Women of Bet Shemesh

We won!
“There will be no segregation of women in any city in Israel.” So said the Israeli Supreme Court during Monday’s hearing on modesty signs in Bet Shemesh.

Monday was a big day in court for IRAC and the women of Bet Shemesh, and all women in Israel. The three-judge panel ruled that ALL modesty in Bet Shemesh must be removed by December 18. In addition to their removal, the Court ruled that there will be an increased police presence in the area to ensure that the signs are removed and stay down.

This ruling was the momentous conclusion to five years of fighting for the rights of the women of Bet Shemesh. We have been representing this brave group of Orthodox women against the Bet Shemesh Municipality for five long years of back and forth to court about the removal of these signs which put these women in danger. During our last hearing, the municipality claimed that it was too dangerous for them to remove the signs, but these women were in constant danger. This ruling will change their lives.

In the words of our own Orly Erez Likhovski, director of our legal department, this “decision will be precedent-setting. It sends a clear message to the radicals that things are going to change, that women’s rights to walk freely in the public sphere will be protected and that the rule of law applies in Bet Shemesh as anywhere else.”

This is a major victory, but the battle is not over. We continue to fight for the rights of women throughout Israel to ensure that this ruling is applied not only in Bet Shemesh, but in all cities and towns in Israel. As the Court said – “there will be no exclusion of women in any city in Israel.”

As we approach the end of the year please support our struggle towards equality and pluralism in Israel.



2017-12-08T10:14:51+11:00December 8th, 2017|News|

Three Weddings and a Statement

Yesterday more than 1500 people joined together with us at Temple Emanuel in New York City to celebrate the love of three Israeli couples denied the right to marry in their own way in their own country. One was denied for being a same sex union, one for being a reform convert, and another for having the conviction to say no to the ultra-Orthodox monopoly on marriage in Israel.

The couples’ vows express the importance and meaning of this event more eloquently than we can.

Ori Berwald Shaer said: “I know that in 40 or 50 years, we will tell our grandkids that back in our day, it wasn’t so easy to be us. How we had to get on a plane and come here to be ourselves. But why? I have no idea. I love you and I love tradition and I refuse to choose between the two.”

Gali Geberovich said: “The moment we decided to get married, we knew it wouldn’t be a regular process. As a couple, we insist on having a respectful and equal relationship. We could not accept the idea of getting married through Israel’s Chief Rabbinate. We refused to have a Chuppah ceremony that would not reflect our core values and beliefs, and was harmful to the basic idea of gender equality. Moreover, we decided that we don’t want any connection to an institution that does not respect the rights of other loving couples to get married in their own state.”

This day was so much more than a beautiful event celebrating the love of three wonderful couples. It was a statement of our resolve to give these young Israelis, and hundreds of thousands like them, the right to love who they choose how they choose.
We want to thank Elizabetha Komkov and Valentine Boldovskiy, Alona Livneh and Ori Berwald Shaer, Gali Geberovich and Alon Sela and wish them years and years of happiness. We also want to thank our gracious hosts and partners at Temple Emanu-El.


Anat and Noa

Watch the video on the link below

2017-12-05T09:41:34+11:00December 5th, 2017|News|
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