News and 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|

Chag Pesach Sameach

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Chag Pesach Sameach
Happy Passover from ARZA and the UPJ!


At our seders, we will join with family and friends to retell the Passover story,
recounting the journey of the Children of Israel toward their spiritual homeland.

As we break the matzah
(and savour the resulting diverse shapes and sizes – and crumbs!),
we are reminded that there are many ways to be Jewish,
and celebrate how our Progressive community
embraces all “shapes and sizes”.

More significantly, we also remember that the world is broken today,
and in need of repair with our assistance.
We pray that our brothers and sisters in Ukraine
will soon be led to safety and return to freedom.

On behalf of the UPJ Executive Committee,
we wish you a joyous and fulfilling Passover.

May you and your family break matzah together
in unique and inspiring ways,
and may your cup overflow with goodness and happiness.

On behalf of the UPJ Executive Committee and ARZA board,

David D Knoll AM and Brian Samuel OAM
UPJ Co-Presidents

Helen Shardey OAM
ARZA President
UPJ Vice President

2022-04-12T16:20:20+10:00April 11th, 2022|News|
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