Monthly Archives: January 2020

UIA Progressive Appeal

The role of the Progressive Jewish Movement world wide in supporting the Progressive movement in Israel is fundamental to the recognition of Progressive/Reform Judaism in the State of Israel, our Jewish homeland.

This has been brought home with the recent IRAC announcement that for the first time in Israeli history, the Israeli government will fund Reform and Conservative rabbis in cities and metropolitan areas.

While sadly the salaries allocated to Progressive and Conservative Rabbis is only a portion of what the Israeli Government pays individual Orthodox Rabbis, it is still a step in the right direction and establishes a very hard fought principle.

Through the amazing and persistent work of the Israel Reform Action Centre (IRAC) and Rabbi Miri Gold, the official Israeli policy which only recognized Orthodox Rabbis as being able to be paid and provide religious services ended. This opened the door for all Progressive Rabbis to serve in regional council areas.

In the wake of the success of this precedent, IRAC continued to fight for recognition of the provision of services by Progressive Rabbis in urban neighborhoods. This has now been achieved and is celebrated by the entire Progressive Jewish World.

Despite these achievements the Progressive Movement in Israel still faces unequal treatment. This is why the Australian Progressive Movement has been the greatest financial supporter of the Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism, the work of IRAC and other Progressive causes in Israel through the annual UIA Progressive Appeal.

ARZA Australia (the Australian Reform Zionist Association) will be representing the Australian Progressive Zionist movement in Israel at this year’s World Zionist Congress in October.

As President of ARZA Australia, I will be your delegate along with other colleagues, representing you to vote for the equal treatment and recognition of the Progressive/Reform Movement in Israel.

The more members we have through your membership of ARZA Australia, the larger will be our voting block and the greater will be our success in this endeavor.

ARZA Australia, urges all members of the Progressive Jewish community to strongly support this year’s UIA Progressive Appeal and give a very warm welcome to our special guest Rabbi David Saperstein. Rabbi Saperstein is the current President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and was President Obama’s Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.

Rabbi Saperstein will be speaking in Melbourne on March 12 and Sydney on March 18. Details will be available in the Australian Jewish News.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

2021-03-01T20:25:46+11:00January 23rd, 2020|News|

ARZA Updates

As Australia suffers the tragedy of bushfires, we know that we are not alone. Help has come from all over the world, including from our brothers and sisters in Israel. This proves that while we have been there for the State of Israel since its inception, Israel is also there for us.

A beautiful article today talked of an Israeli Australian, devastated at the sight of our severely injured native Australian wildlife said to have impacted half-a-billion animals. Her name is Risby Raz and she is the international relations manager at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem.

As an expert in the field, she knows how animals need to be treated for burns, so she launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to purchase what is needed and had it sent directly to rescuers on the ground. Apparently her campaign went viral, raising thousands of dollars to bring relief for Australian wildlife.

Many other expats in Israel are holding fundraising events to send money Down Under to Australian bushfire appeals.

At home, Australians, including Jewish groups and philanthropists, are digging deep to render financial assistance to those who have suffered and to help rebuild our nation. Australians are banding together as one with the help and support of nations throughout the world.

Rabbi Dan Moskovitz wrote recently: “As we prepare to enter the year 2020 with all of its symbolism of clarity of vision, we would be forgiven for looking back on the first two decades of the 21st century and focusing only on the great suffering, destruction and discord human beings have waged against each other on our planet. And yet the Jewish view is to say ‘What can we learn from this?’ The experiences of our past can shape and inform our future if we find meaning in them. That is the eternal challenge and also the opportunity presented  to us.”

In order to make sure that ARZA Australia, as a Progressive Zionist organisation, remains strong and resolute to achieve an Israel that is inclusive, democratic and pluralist, we need you and every Progressive Jew over the age of 18 to join ARZA Australia as part of your synagogue subscription, and to be prepared to vote for ARZA in the event that elections need to be held in Australia.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey, President

2021-03-01T20:26:15+11:00January 15th, 2020|News|

Passing of Rabbi Brian Fox

ARZA Australia joins with the Union for Progressive Judaism, all the members of the Assembly of Rabbis and Cantors of Australia, New Zealand and Asia and the entire Progressive Jewish world to express our sadness and mourn the passing of Rabbi Brian Fox AM z”l.

Rabbi Fox was a leading light in the Australian Progressive Jewish community.

Prior to serving as Senior Rabbi at Emanuel Synagogue for 20 years he served the congregations of the Leo Beck Centre and Temple Beth Israel. He subsequently served a congregation in the United Kingdom and made Aliyah in his latter years before returning to Australia to be with his family.

With his passion for our youth and education he was one of the founding rabbis for the King David School in Melbourne, the Emanuel School in Sydney and the Netzer youth movement.

ARZA Australia always appreciated his kind and strong support and love of Israel as the Jewish Homeland. He will be sadly missed.

We offer our deepest sympathy to his wife, Dina, and to his children Ben, Mim, Shira and Mishi.


Issued January 10, 2020.
Helen Shardey
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President

2021-03-01T20:26:42+11:00January 10th, 2020|News|
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