Stand Up for Reform Judaism in Israel!

by Maskil on September 22, 2008

The IRAC (Israel Religious Action Centre) of the Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism has prepared a petition which will be sent to President Shimon Peres. The petition calls for the State of Israel to officially recognize Rabbi Miri Gold, who serves as the Rabbi of Birkat Shalom congregation in Kibbutz Gezer.If you’ve no wish to read any further, please click here to be taken to the online petition. You can sign up for the interesting and informative weekly IRAC e-newsletter (The Pluralist) at the same time.

For those who want the complete story, here it is as per the official IRAC petition website. I think it’s important enough to be quoted in full:

Rabbi Miri Gold has served as the Rabbi of Birkat Shalom congregation in Kibbutz Gezer since her ordination as a Reform Rabbi by the Hebrew Union College in 1999. 16 other local rabbis serve the area of the Gezer regional council and receive a State salary. Rabbi Miri Gold, who serves the entire region, is not recognized by the State because she is a Reform rabbi. Out of the thousands of rabbis recognized by the State of Israel there is not a single Reform rabbi!

It is time for a change – it is time for recognition!

In 2005 The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism filed an appeal with the Israeli Supreme Court through the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), demanding that Rabbi Miri Gold is recognized by the State. The court has ordered the State to present the criteria according to which rabbis are recognized. To this day the State has not replied. This fall we hope that the State will present an equal and just set of criteria, such that is accepted by the Supreme Court.

Recognition of Rabbi Miri Gold by the State of Israel means a true breakthrough, a precedent leading to the recognition of hundreds of rabbis from liberal streams in Judaism. Please join the struggle and sign this petition.

We, too, are Jewish. We, too, deserve Rabbis

A call for the State of Israel to officially recognize Rabbi Miri Gold

We the undersigned believe the time is long overdue for our nation to recognize that there is more than one way to practice Judaism and to acknowledge the value and importance of supporting spiritual leaders of all denominations to the stability and growth of our communities and our quality of life.

Whereas

  1. Despite being the most popular and effective rabbi in the Gezer region, Rabbi Miri Gold is the only one who does not receive a salary from the State;
  2. Rabbi Gold is denied equal status solely because she is female and Reform;
  3. In 2005 Rabbi Gold, along with the Israel Religious Action Center, petitioned the Supreme Court for recognition, however the Court has repeatedly delayed making a decision.;
  4. Though only 17% of Jews in Israel identify as Orthodox and 12% as traditional, Orthodox rabbis are the only ones recognized, and therefore, funded by the government.; and
  5. The spiritual needs of 71% of Israelis are going unmet and even being denied, a form of brazen discrimination against liberal Jews.

Therefore – We urgently call on you to

  1. Recognize immediately Miri Gold as an official rabbi of the Gezer Community and
  2. Apply government funding to support the work of Rabbi Miri Gold and her peers, and to equally support all streams of Judaism in the spirit of Klal Yisrael, thereby fulfilling the religious pluralism and freedom that should be the hallmarks of the only Jewish and democratic state.

Even if you’ve never signed another online petition in your life, please sign this one!

IRAC – Petition

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