Monthly Archives: April 2022

Rabbi Gilad Kariv to bring message of hope to Australian Progressive Community

Lapid and Stilman

Yair Lapid, center, and Yamina MK Idit Silman (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)

On Sunday May 8, at 7pm, Rabbi Gilad Kariv will be speaking live to the Australian Progressive Jewish community for the first time since his election to the Knesset as part of the Coalition to assume government in Israel in 2021. This zoom meeting has been arranged by the UPJ (Union for Progressive Judaism) and we are delighted to be able to welcome Rabbi Kariv. Of course, there are many issues we may wish to raise with him,so I thought I would suggest just a couple for those of you who have registered to join the zoom.

It was recently reported in Israeli media that the number of Israelis seeking conversion to the Progressive/Reform movement has risen substantially. The report claims that “a year after the landmark High Court ruling, the Reform movement in Israel has enjoyed a 63 percent increase in participants to its conversion programs”.

One wonders. Is this because people who are converted to Judaism in Israel under the High Court ruling can now seek Israeli citizenship? In fact has the Knesset passed legislation to support this ruling? Are there many Israelis who fall into this category who may wish to apply for citizenship? Or has the mere publicity from the High Court ruling convinced Israelis that Reform/Progressive Judaism is now accepted in Israel?

The next issue for Israeli politics has been the resignation of MK Idit Silman from the Coalition to return to Likud, thus threatening the future of the current government and the possibility of Yair Lipid becoming Prime Minister in 2023.

However, Yair Lipid has claimed that “If we work correctly, this government will be here next Passover and the one after. It won’t be simple, but it will happen. This is an excellent government, and we will do everything to make sure it continues”. Ynet 14/4/2022.

Finally, the attitude of the Coalition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Does the Israeli government need to be careful about expressing opposition to the invasion? Does the Israeli Prime Minister think he has a role to play in any negotiations? What is the public view by the Russian population now living in Israel?

We know the IMPJ and the WUPJ are working in partnership to support the Ukrainian refugees and Olim coming to Israel and those still in Europe fleeing their homeland to other European countries. We would like to have some idea of the number who have come to Israel from Europe during this time and how the UIA Progressive Appeal from Australia can assist financially?

Click to Register for May 8, 7pm with Rabbi Gilad Kariv

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President

2022-04-26T18:56:58+10:00April 26th, 2022|Events|

The World Union for Progressive Judaism President, Rabbi Sergio Bergman visits Europe over Pesach to see the Ukraine refugee crisis firsthand

Student Rabbi Kovtun and Rabbi Bergman

During his Passover trip to Europe World Union President Rabbi Sergio Bergman (right) met with Student Rabbi Alex Kovtun (left).

My last message to you was about the Olim and refugees who have fled Ukraine to Israel. I talked about the amazing work being done by the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) in partnership with the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), working together to bring immediate assistance on the ground in Israel to those who have arrived from Ukraine prior to Pesach. I asked for your continued support to ensure spiritual solace with Passover Seders could be brought to those who have had to flee their homeland.

Rabbi Bergman’s visit to Europe tells us firsthand about the response of the Progressive communities in Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic to the Ukraine refugee crisis.

Rabbi Bergman reported that he visited several Jewish welcome centres, particularly in Germany with Progressive Jewish leaders Sonja Guentner, chair of the European Union for Progressive Judaism and Irith Michelsohn, General Secretary of the Progressive Juden in Deutschland. At these centres refugees receive food, clothing, and social services, connecting them to the German state support system.

He also reported meeting student Rabbi Alex Kovtun who he says is doing incredible work travelling across Germany delivering food, translating, and offering help to thousands of Ukrainian refugees. Rabbi Kovtun apparently spends hours on railway platforms greeting refugees with water and helping translate what train workers are telling him and helping refugees to determine how to continue their journey.

Rabbi Bergman is quoted as saying “Student Rabbi Kovtun’s work is inspiring and a model for us all. The WUPJ is proud to support his incredible efforts and those of many Progressive Jews and communities across Germany”.

The WUPJ supports all refugees with a Jewish identity wherever they choose to live and have a good future. Countries like Germany are welcoming refugees and helping them settle, making sure there is the infrastructure available to help with education, language, and religious support.

Finally, the Progressive Movement is working with the Jewish Agency and the IMPJ to give refugees the option of making Aliyah to Israel.

It is believed that over 4 million Ukrainians have fled their homeland. With the Russian attack on Donbas under way, there will no doubt be many more fleeing the terror perpetrated on a people seeking to protect their freedom and democracy.

Your continued support for the UIA Progressive Appeal is needed now more than ever.


ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President

2022-04-26T18:56:30+10:00April 21st, 2022|News|

ARZA Australia and Progressive Judaism Victoria Join to Support Refugees and Olim Fleeing Ukraine to Israel

On Israeli Ground2

April 2022 | Nisan 5782

Dear ARZA and PJV members

“At this moment in history, there is no more urgent need, nor sacred opportunity, than to help those who are fleeing from the designs of a modern Pharaoh.”
– Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin, Temple Israel, West Palm Beach, Florida.

They have escaped and arrived in Israel. What now?

We are hoping that Passover this year will have special meaning.

With thanks to the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism and the World Union for Progressive Judaism, working together, immediate assistance on the ground in Israel has been launched to respond to those arriving from war-torn Ukraine and Russia.

Now, with the holiday of Passover and all its symbolism of freedom, liberation, and the strength of the Jewish people on the horizon, we turn to you to join us in expanding our efforts and abilities to provide pastoral counselling, spiritual solace, and community life – including Passover Seders and Women’s Circles – to the many Olim and refugees who have escaped to Israel.



Philip Bliss OAM
PJV President

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President

2022-04-12T16:34:41+10:00April 11th, 2022|News|
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