Israel Connection

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Useful Links
ARZA Canada: www.arzacanada.org
ARZA:  www.arza.org
ARZENU: www.arzenu.org.il
IMPJ: www.impj.org.il
IRAC: www.irac.org
URJ: www.urj.org
WUPJ: www.wupj.org
CIJA: www.cija.ca
JFNA: www.jewishfederations.org

ISRAEL – NOW IS THE TIME!
An ARZA Canada Resource for Israel Engagement  In Your Reform Congregation

So… why does ARZA CANADA believe Israel engagement is so important?

Engagement with Israel

  • Plays a significant role in enhancing and sustaining one’s Jewish identity, particularly important for our Jewish youth
  • Recognizes Israel as a core element of Jewish historical and current experience
  • Inspires a sense of connection and belonging to the Jewish people
  • Inspires a sense of collective investment and responsibility
  • Inspires deepening knowledge and commitment
  • Accepts both a loving and a criticizing relationship with Israel
  • Encourages helping to shape Israel to be a Jewish, pluralistic, democratic society.

We’re here… contact us:
ARZA Canada, The Canadian Association of Reform Zionists,
email: info@arzacanada.org, phone 416.630.5089
President: Miriam Pearlman
Vice-President: Cheryl Englander

Let’s get started… where is your congregation now?

  1. In what ways has your congregation connected with Israel?
  2. What is the best way your congregation has connected with Israel? What else is working well?
  3. What do your congregants know about Israel? What do they want to learn?
  4. In what ways do your congregants want to deepen their engagement with Israel? What’s standing in the way?

Build your Israel team… some ideas

  1. Advocate for your lay leaders and professional staff to make Israel a priority in your own congregation.
  2. Identify a key person in your congregation to be the “champion” for Israel Engagement.
  3. Invite a member of ARZA Canada Board to meet with your Board, present to a group or speak at a service.
  4. Develop a relationship with a mentor/coach from ARZA Canada.

Next steps… some suggestions to kick off your Israel engagement initiative

  1. Conduct an on-line survey of your congregants (try for example SurveyMonkey) regarding what and how much they think about Israel.
  2. Survey the current status and profile of Israel among the various groups of your congregation such as the Board, committees, sisterhood/brotherhood.
  3. Develop a vision for Israel Engagement for your congregation.

Now let’s do it… ideas for programs and resources
Given that congregations have their own unique size and character, what works in
one may not work in another. The suggestions here are organized around education,
celebration, advocacy and travel.
ARZA Canada can help your congregation plan and implement them. Call us or email
us. We’re here for you.

Education:

  • Plan Israel programs for different age groups.
  • Integrate Israel engagement into all aspects of congregational life including prayer, study, social action.
  • Learn about Israel’s history, politics, culture, domestic and foreign challenges.
  • Learn about Israel through Israeli music (both folk-dancing and popular).
  • Share personal Jewish identity journeys and connections with Israel stories. “What does Israel mean to you?”
  • Develop relationships with Israeli congregants.
  • Invite shinshinim (Israeli youth ambassadors).
  • Partner with Israeli Reform congregations.

Celebration:

  • Yom HaAtzmaut, day of unbridled celebration
  • Yom HaZikaron, day of reflection re challenges for fulfilling the dream
  • Israel Film Festival, arts and culture

Advocacy:

  • Take action, volunteer, speak out.
  • Equip volunteers to know and be able to present truthful information wherever public opinion is formed.
  • Be informed about “religious pluralism”, “peace process”
  • Connect with IRAC, Israel Religious Action Centre
  • Connect with CIJA, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

Travel:

  • Plan a congregational trip to Israel. We can help!
  • Encourage congregants to visit Israel, engage with Israelis, make Israeli friends.
  • Visit Reform congregations in Israel and Reform kibutzims Lotan and Yahel.
  • Connect with ARZA World: Israel Tours.