Monthly Archives: November 2020

ARZA Annual Reports 2019 – 2020

ARZA logo

It is with pleasure that I report on the activities of ARZA Australia to the Annual General Meeting for the 2019-20 year, being held on November 17, 2020.

I was delighted to be elected President of Australia’s Progressive Zionist organization at its 2019 AGM, and at the same time also elected as Vice President of the Union for Progressive Judaism (UPJ).

My predecessor, Steve Denenberg had devoted more than a decade to ARZA Australia both as President and CEO. He has continued as the Immediate Past
President and been very active and supportive in that role. I thank him for all his support and assistance.

In building the new board, ARZA was fortunate that some experienced board members remained on the board providing expertise in financial reporting (thanks to Tony Leverton) and Membership list building (thanks to Philip Levy, who has also been a Vice President). We were also fortunate to recruit some new and young members to the Board, with 40% now being under the age of 35 years. We are most fortunate that the Netzer Mazkir, Lior Kalisse has joined our board as an Ex Officio Member along with the Netzer Shaliach Sefi Shalam. It has been a pleasure working with them. They have joined Sue Silberberg, our other Vice President in forming a sub-committee to look at ARZA Australia’s role in the community going forward. A new member of the board, Alex Knopoff from Adelaide took on the role of Secretary and has done a great job. Our thanks go to her.

As you probably know, ARZA Australia is the Zionist/political arm of the UPJ. At a planning weekend of the UPJ held in Sydney in February 2020, an agreement was made that moving forward, the UPJ, ARZA Australia and the Assembly of Rabbis and Cantors (ARC) would work together in mutual co-operation and communication. This was done to ensure that the Australian Progressive Movement as much as possible speaks in unison with one voice in support of Eretz Israel and our Jewish beliefs.

With the World Zionist Congress planned for October 2020, the Australian Progressive Movement hoped to maximize its voice in Israel in support of Pluralism and equality in the Jewish Democratic State. To this end ARZA Australia moved to encourage all Progressive Jews to join as members to ensure the four mandates held by ARZA at the 2015 World Zionist Congress would be maintained.

ARZA successfully participated in the Area Election Committee and maintained the current number of WZC delegates, with a 30% increase in membership numbers making ARZA the largest Zionist organization in Australia. It was disappointing that the congress could not take place in person, but through the hard work of our world body, ARZENU, we were able to participate in the proceedings and a wonderful pre congress program provided by ARZENU. We now look forward to a gathering in Israel in 2021.

Through the tireless efforts of Philip Levy, our retiring male Vice President from Sydney, ARZA now has a comprehensive membership list. This means we can provide a weekly communication to all ARZA members and members of UPJ Congregations.

It is published in the UPJ News and Drash and emailed to ARZA members. It forms the basis of regular posts to the ARZA website, Facebook and Twitter. Statements on key issues such as annexation, normalisation with Arab States, gender equality, equality in Israel for the varying streams of Judaism and other issues are published, often jointly with the UPJ and ARC.

ARZA Australia has now established a sub- committee which is in the process of examining our role in the community going forward. With an increased membership and good relations with Zionist roof bodies, such as the Zionist Federation of Australia, State based Zionist organizations, our world roof body ARZENU, the World Union of Progressive Judaism and the World Zionist Organization, we look forward to broadening programs of interest to our members.

We welcome any suggestions from our members in relation to what you would like us to consider providing and how you view our current communications. Currently our work is only done by volunteers as we decided to put a moratorium on fees until next June because of hardships caused by Covid 19. However we are grateful to our partner, the UPJ for including our weekly communication in the UPJ News and Drash.

Finally, I thank the ARZA Australia Board, our members, the Assembly of Rabbis and Cantors of Australia and New Zealand and the Union for Progressive Judaism for your ongoing support, assistance and encouragement in the continued growth of ARZA Australia.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

2021-03-01T20:00:38+11:00November 16th, 2020|Events, News|

Support the IMPJ and IRAC


Many believe that the world of politics is tiresome. However for the Progressive Movement to protect and stand up for its strongly held values and beliefs we should carefully monitor political activity in Israel today.

We are fortunate that the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) and the Israel Religious Action Centre (IRAC) exist to protect our Progressive values and beliefs. Both these organizations, one religious and the other a legal advocate, seek to both expand the Progressive Movement in Israel and advance pluralism and equality in Israeli society.


Two issues have emerged in recent days in Israel which are of note and concern. The first relates to the outcome of the World Zionist Congress. It has been reported in Israeli media that “leaders of the Reform/Progressive and Conservative movements on Monday urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to block the appointment of a Likud activist notorious for his racist views, to a high ranking position in the World Zionist Organization (as head of the Department of Diaspora Affairs). A role of vital importance to Progressive/Reform Jews world wide and in Australia.

“They also requested that the Attorney General (of Israel) Avichai Mendelblit, launch a criminal investigation against the activist Jacques Kupfer (from France) for incitement to racism and violence.” ( Haaretz media)

Fortunately his appointment still requires the final approval of the WZO Executive board, which meets this week. We hope the voice of our Progressive leaders are heard to block this appointment.

The second issue of concern in Israel is the reporting by IRAC of a direct quote from the Israeli Minister for Religious Services, Rabbi Yaakov Avitan. He is reported to have said I’m not afraid of the Iranian atom bomb, I’m afraid of the Reform Jews and assimilation. This comment reflects on Progressive/ Reform Jews in Israel and around the world.  This person is responsible for overseeing religious life in Israel, including the approving of budgets for religious facilities, supervising religious holy sites, organizing religious activities and more. He blames IRAC’s legal actions for preventing him from doing his job.

One has to ask, what level of discrimination would he wish to inflict as “part of his job” and the Eretz Israel of tomorrow?

We, in the Australian Progressive Movement should do all we can, both financially and by speaking out, to support the IMPJ and IRAC for the sake of our movement both in Israel and the Diaspora.

Donate to the UIA Progressive Appeal
ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President 

2021-03-01T20:02:33+11:00November 5th, 2020|News|

Notice of AGM 2020

ARZA logo

Notice is hereby given that in accordance with the provisions of the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012 (Vic) the Annual General Meeting of the Australian Reform Zionist of Association Inc. (ARZA) will be held at 6:00 p.m. AEST on Tuesday 17 November 2020 online via Zoom.


  1. Attendance
  2. Apologies
  3. Video Presentation from Gusti Y Braverman
    Head of the Department for Organization, World Zionist Federations, Israeli Communities Abroad and the Bialik Institiute and Publishing House
  4. Adoption of the minutes of the AGM held on Friday 8 November 2019.
  5. Matters arising.
  6. President’s Report.
  7. Treasurer’s Report.
  8. Membership Report.
  9. Appointment of honorary solicitors.
  10. Election of members to the Executive Committee (see below).

Dated: 29 October 2020

Any queries relating to the agenda should be directed to the Honorary Secretary

Please send RSVPs to

Alex Knopoff
ARZA Secretary


The Annual General Meeting of the Australian Reform Zionist Association (ARZA) Inc. will be held at 6:00p.m. on Tuesday 17 November 2020.

Rule 22.2… “Each officer of the Association will hold office until the second Annual General Meeting after the date of his or her election but is eligible for re-election provided that no person may be appointed to serve in the same office for more than two consecutive terms.”

Rule 23.2…”Each ordinary Committee Member elected will hold office until the Annual General Meeting next after the date of election but is eligible for re-election”.

The Rules provide that there will be a minimum of 2 members and nominations are sought for these positions.

Members are hereby invited to nominate people to fill the positions of officeholders and ordinary committee member. All nominations must be in the form of the attached Nomination Form and must be signed by the proposer and seconder as well as the nominated person.

Nomination Form 2020
Annexure B
Annexure C
2021-11-04T17:28:07+11:00November 2nd, 2020|Events, News|
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