Established in 2003, our Israel Committee has organized and hosted various exciting and educational activities:
- Sponsoring annual Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) Shabbat services and special Onegs;
- Organizing and running a highly successful campaign for the World Zionist Organization Congress election (TBS cast the second highest number of votes among all congregations in Virginia in 2005-2006, resulting in a resounding victory for the Association of Reform Zionists in America (ARZA), a URJ affiliate that represents the Reform movement at the World Zionist Congress, which debates and takes positions regarding religious rights and equitable funding for the Reform Movement in Israel (see www.arza.org); Hosting “Herzl: Up Close and Personal,” an exhibit celebrating the life and legacy of Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, and presenting educational sessions on Herzl and the exhibit to all grades in the religious school; and
- Holding other events, including discussion groups on current topics relating to Israel; presentations by outside speakers regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a multi-media show by an Israeli photographer about the land, peoples and cultures of Israel to religious school classes and adult members of our congregation.
The Committee is very proud that since its inception the Temple’s commitment to Israel-related activities has expanded significantly. These activities include:
- Congregational trips to Israel led by our rabbis;
- Creating and maintaining our relationship with our sister congregation in Jerusalem, Kehilat Har-El;
- Several Israeli Reform rabbis visiting our congregation as scholars-in-residence; and
- Taking action to support equal religious rights for women in Israel, especially their right to pray at the Western Wall (including sales of Women of the Wall tallit and “bricks” on the “Western Wall” display in the Social Hall to raise funds in support of this cause; leadership and rabbinical letters to Israeli officials; and participating in the campaign to send to Israel photographs of our women wearing their Women of the Wall tallit and reading from Torah).
We partner with Kehillat Har-El in Jerusalem as part of the DOMIM-aLike project, the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism‘s Israel-Diaspora relations program. DOMIM-aLike was established with help from the Israel Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, and fosters partnerships between Reform and Progressive congregations in Israel and around the world.
We also take great pride in the July 2010 opening of the Rabbi Amy and Gary Perlin Israel Religious Action Center offices on the Jerusalem campus of the URJ’s Hebrew Union College.