Hiddush – Freedom Of Religion for Israel

by Maskil on November 19, 2009

Hiddush logo

In a couple of posts back in March 2008, I mourned the demise of Shinui at a time when it was needed more then ever. I also suggested that the political scene could benefit greatly from the founding of a “single issue” NGO to address the Haredi threat to Israeli society.

What I referred to as the Haredi Golem appears to have gained even more ground in the interim. One of the few bright spots on the horizon, however, has been the launch of Hiddush (For Religious Freedom and Equality), whose vision is as follows:

Hiddush – For Religious Freedom and Equality – strives to fulfill the promise of freedom of religion and conscience, promised in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Hiddush -Hebrew for innovation and renewal – works to raise public awareness of matters of religion and state in Israel, and rallies the support of both Israelis and world Jewry, to join together in promoting religious freedom and equality, so that Israel can achieve its full potential as a free and flourishing Jewish democracy.

Hiddush was founded and is chaired by Stanley P. Gold (President and Chief Executive Officer of Shamrock Holdings, Inc.). Rabbi Uri Regev is President and CEO of Hiddush, as well as its (less well known) educational and advocacy Israel-Diaspora partnership, “Freedom Of Religion for Israel”. Rabbi Regev is the immediate past president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (a global umbrella organization of the Progressive, Reform, Liberal and Reconstructionist movements), as well as the founding chair, and later executive director and legal counsel of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC). Shahar Ilan (senior journalist and commentator on Haredi issues) serves as vice president of research and information.

My sense is that the non-Orthodox streams of Judaism have now begun to realise that Israel has become the battleground in the struggle for religious parity and pluralism in the Jewish world. Israel needs to be freed from the burden of religious discrimination both for its own sake, and because these alternative visions of Judaism will steadily lose ground in the Diaspora unless their status in Israel is secure. I have no way of knowing, but I’m guessing that Rabbi Regev was freed up from his responsibilities at the WUPJ specifically to head up this initiative. To me, that gives some idea of the level of commitment the Conservative/Masorti and Progressive streams are making. (Let me stress, though, that Hiddush is not affiliated with any particular Jewish denomination).

Support Hiddush

Here’s a few ways you can show support for Hiddush and the ideal of Freedom Of Religion for Israel:

The Hiddush website:

Hiddush, for religious freedom and equality in Israel

The Hiddush Facebook (Fan) Page:

Facebook | Hiddush – for Religious Freedom & Equality

Hiddush on Twitter:

Hiddush (hiddush) on Twitter

Sign up for the Hiddush e-newsletter:

Sign on to the Hiddush Vision

The Hiddush website also includes a secure PayPal donation badge, for those who are able to support their activities financially:

Support Hiddush – Donate Now

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