Orly Erez-Likhovski

Last Saturday IRAC’s executive director, Orly Erez-Likhovski had the privilege of speaking at the Jerusalem rally in front of thousands of protesters. (Facebook/IRAC)

Last week I received an email from Orly Erez-Likhovski, Director of the Israel Religious Action Centre (IRAC). Orly had been invited to speak at the Jerusalem protest rally in front of thousands of protesters. It was a very powerful experience for her, which is why she wanted to share some of what she had to say on that night. I will quote parts of her message.

“We, in the Reform movement , have been fighting for years for equality for all streams of Judaism, against discrimination and racism, against the exclusion of women and for LGBTQ rights. Just this week, we argued before the Supreme Court for equality for LGBTQ couples who want to adopt children.”

“Our motto has been Defending Democracy in the name of Judaism, because what the government is pushing is neither democratic nor Jewish.”

“We are fighting at the Knesset, in the courts, and in the streets. We are ‘praying with our feet’ as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said. We mark Havdalah every Saturday night right at the beginning of the weekly protests. We raise a tolerant Jewish voice, a voice that holds that ‘beloved is every human, for they were created in the image of God’ and believes in ‘you shall love the stranger’. A Jewish voice that cries out against the horrific and terrible events of the past weekend.”

“We are at a moment of crisis, but a crisis that presents an opportunity. Most Israelis reject extremism, support freedom of religion and equality, and oppose undermining our courts. This majority is saying that ‘we will not give up on democracy’.”

Orly went on to talk about the support from millions of Jews around the world who support the protesters and are Israel’s partners in defending Judaism and democracy. She also talked about us entering the month of Elul and quoted the poetic prayer ‘O child of Adam. Are you asleep?’. She said Since January, the Israeli public has awoken and risen up. This awakening is uplifting and moving. It is suffused with our power to change reality..

Watch Orly’s speech on Facebook

If you have the opportunity to support our Progressive movement in Israel through IRAC and the IMPJ (Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism) or through our world body the WUPJ (World Union for Progressive Judaism), please do not hesitate to give your financial support to protect freedom and democracy in Israel and Progressive Judaism world-wide.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President
WUPJ Executive Board