Message from Gusti Braverman

Dear Helen,

It has been a very hard and challenging year for all of us.

I’m taking this opportunity, before the Jewish New Year begins, to personally thank you for all you did along the past year to strengthen the ties with Israel in general and with the Reform Movement in particular.

To this I would like to add a special personal gratitude for your support and friendship, it is deeply appreciated.

I would like to wish you and your family Shana Tova filled with lots of happiness, success and good health.

I’m proud to share with you the Newsletter below in which you will find a short video summarizing the Department activities during this challenging year.

Any comments & feedbacks will be highly appreciated.

Please feel free to share this video with others.

I wish us that next year we will meet in person in Jerusalem.

שנה טובה ומתוקה

Best regards,
Gusti Yehoshua-Braverman

WZO Shana Tova

Happy Rosh Ha’Shana!
We invite you to watch a short video going over the last year full of hard work and activities by the Department of Irgoon and Israelis abroad, and a special greeting from the head of the department, Gusti Yehoshua Braverman.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President

2021-09-13T20:57:04+10:00September 6th, 2021|News|

Tribute to Yusuf Nasr Al-Din Z’L

YUSUF NASR AL-DIN (left) speaks with Arieh Dulzin, then chairman of the Jewish Agency, in 1975. (photo credit: Courtesy)

YUSUF NASR AL-DIN (left) speaks with Arieh Dulzin, then chairman of the Jewish Agency, in 1975. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The following condolence letter is from Yaakov Hagoel, the Chairman of the World Zionist Organization to which ARZA Australia is a member through ARZENU. The letter pays tribute to the Chairman of the Druze Zionist movement, Yusuf Nasr Al-Din Z’L, after his recent passing.

It gives generous and appropriate recognition to the Druze community in Israel, who make up some 2% of the Israeli population. Most Druze in Israel live in the northern regions of Galilee, Carmel and the Golan Heights. They are a unique people whose tradition dates back to the 11th century and incorporates elements of Islam, Hinduism, and apparently even Greek philosophy. Their number are spread across Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.

In 1957 the Israeli government designated the Druze, Arab speaking community a distinct ethnic community at their request. They serve in the IDF and their members have attained top positions in Israeli politics and the public service.

I had the pleasure of visiting a Druze community some years ago. I found them to be extremely welcoming and supportive of Israel as a Jewish State.

The Condolence Letter

Elul 5781 August 10,                  2021 Yusuf Nasr Al-Din

With great heartache, we have received today, the sad news of the untimely passing of our colleague, our friend, and our brother Yusuf Nasr Al-Din. As Chairman of the Druze Zionist Movement, Yusuf worked to create the exemplary society that was spoken of in Theodor Herzl’s writings.

Yusuf worked until his last breath for the Zionist cause and to enhance the lives of the Druze community in Israel. He saw Israel as a diverse country where minorities could succeed. More than once I heard friends call Yusuf a man of vision who helped realize the development of the greater Carmel region and northern Israel.

Followers of the Druze faith believe in reincarnation and thus, it is not just an end but a new beginning as Yusuf is now starting on his next mission.

On behalf of the World Zionist Organization, I thank you, Yusuf, for your unwavering dedication and know that in the face of the challenges that lie ahead, your spirit will accompany us for many years to come.

I would like to offer our condolences to the Nasr Al-Din family. We will continue to stand by your side in all that is required for the fulfilment of the shared dream of Theodor Herzl and Zionism.

Yaakov Hagoel
Chairman of the World Zionist Organization

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President

2021-08-26T09:44:12+10:00August 26th, 2021|News|

Passing of Rabbi Dick Hirsch

Rabbi Dick Hirsch Z"l

Rabbi Richard (Asher) Dick Hirsch passed away in Florida this morning

Arzenu joins the Reform Movement in Israel and around the world in mourning the death of our inspirational leader Rabbi Richard (Asher) Dick Hirsch, who passed away in Florida this morning. Rabbi Lea Mühlstein, international chair of Arzenu, reflects: “A shadow has fallen on our world today as we mourn the loss of a true leader of our people and a tireless teacher of generations of proud Reform Zionists. Rabbi Hirsch challenged the global Reform movement to put Zionism and Israel at the center of our thinking and activism. He famously described Jerusalem as Broadway and the United States as off-Broadway. He was firm in his belief that  “Without Zionism, there is no Judaism!” and he lived that belief every day. His legacy is a thriving Reform Judaism in Israel and a global Reform movement deeply committed to Zionism. We extend our condolences to his family at this sad time.”

The IMPJ shared this moving tribute to Rabbi Hirsch:

Rabbi Hirsch, one of the architects of Reform Zionism, the World Union for Progressive Judaism and the Reform Movement in Israel, dedicated his life to the progressive Jewish community in Israel and around the world.

From 1962 to 1973 he founded the Religious Action Center – the legal and public arm of the American Reform Movement (URJ) and fought for the Civil Rights Act of the United States in 1964. In 1973, Rabbi Hirsch immigrated to Israel with his late partner Bella as president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and established the World Union headquarters in Jerusalem.

The Zionist act of transferring the headquarters of the World Union from New York to Jerusalem was perceived as one of the most significant decisions of Reform Judaism in the 20th century – and in its early years it was a major engine of growth for the development of the Reform movement in Israel.

In the same way, the Reform Movement continued to become a significant part of the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency for Israel and in other national institutions of Israel.

Rabbi Hirsch was a visionary, activist and builder of glorious institutions, a man of great passion and soaring ideas. His commitment to the Jewish people and to the State of Israel was unconditional and he believed that Reform Judaism in the Diaspora needed the State of Israel, just as the State of Israel needed Reform Judaism.

His memoir “For the Sake of Zion” describes his efforts to build the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism in Israel and its integration into the institutions of the Zionist movement.

“At a time when there are voices calling for the disengagement of the Jewish people from Israel, a leader has emerged who realized very early on that there is no future for the Jewish people and the Reform Movement without a strong Israel,” said Natan Sharansky, while serving as Chairman of the Jewish Agency in Israel. “While many believe that human rights and Zionism are pulling in opposite directions, here is a leader who proves that the struggle for Zionism and the struggle for human rights are one and the same.”

In 2010, the State of Israel honored Rabbi Hirsch’s Zionist work and he was invited to light a beacon at the 62nd Independence Day celebrations held on Mount Herzl.

Rabbi Hirsch was loved by his family, friends, members of the Reform communities in Israel and the Diaspora and of course the many employees and volunteers who were privileged to work with him and act in light of his vision.

Yair Lootsteen, Chair of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), joined by former Chairs Yaron Shavit and Reuven Marko, have expressed their deep sadness upon receiving the news of the passing away of Rabbi Richard (Dick) Hirsh Z’l, a monumental pillar of the worldwide Reform Movement.

“Even at his advanced age Rabbi Hirsh continued to show great interest in his beloved Movement in Israel, supporting it wherever he could and however possible, and was delighted with each advance, big and small, of its congregations and in its influence in the Israel public sphere.”

“We found in him a teacher, a rabbi and a friend,” said the chairs, “A man with whom we could seek good advice from, one who had intimate knowledge of even the most minute detail going back decades. We learned from him about leading and leadership, inspiration and vision, courage and wisdom. After decades of bountiful development of the infrastructure for a Movement, today a genuine Israeli Reform Movement flourishes, bustling with renewed Jewish life, and we hope that this shall be a comforting thought for the mourning family”.

Member of Knesset Rabbi Gilad Kariv added: “Rabbi Asher Hirsch has been one of the great leaders of Reform Judaism of all generations – a man of vision and fulfillment, learning and practice, who has had an impact on the arenas of Jewish and Zionist life for the past fifty years. Rabbi Hirsch was one of the founders Zionist Reform Judaism. His commitment to liberal and egalitarian Judaism comes with a deep concern for Klal Israel and a deep respect for every Jew and Jewish community, even in a reality of controversy. In Israel, we look back upon the scope of Rabbi Asher’s work and leadership and his deep commitment that continued tirelessly until his last breath. Today, we lost a teacher, a leader, a rabbi and a friend. May his memory be blessed.”

“There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have long been extinct.

There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world even though they are no longer among the living.

These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark.

They light the way for humankind.”

Hannah Szenes

Yehi Zichro Baruch – May his memory be blessed

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA Australia President
UPJ Vice President

2021-08-25T00:04:08+10:00August 18th, 2021|News|
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