Guest Columnist

The Voice of Israel
By
Lauri Fenton

Do you want to show your support for the State of Israel but don’t know how. Are you looking for ways to help the State of Israel but don’t know where to start?

The answer is joining the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA), part of the Reform movement. ARZA’s mission is to strengthen and enrich the Jewish identity of Reform Jews by ensuring a connection with Israel. ARZA supports the Reform movement in Israel and promotes a Jewish, pluralistic, just and democratic society there. ARZA also represents United States Reform Jews in national and international organizations.arza2

By joining ARZA, you can be a voice for Reform in Israel. For example, when women were forbidden from wearing a tallit (prayer shawl) when praying at the Western Wall, advocacy by American Reform Jews turned the situation around. Where previously women were being arrested for wearing a tallit, now the police protect them against protests by the ultra-Orthodox. One of ARZA’s missions is fighting for religious rights for Reform Jews and civil rights for Israelis. With your support, Reform can grow in Israel.

Joining ARZA is just one way to help. The other way is by going to the polls. In the fall issue of Reform Judaism magazine, Josh Weinberg, the President of ARZA, has an article on page 65 encouraging all of us to vote for delegates to the World Zionist Congress. This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity. Ten years ago, the Reform movement went to the polls, winning 56 delegates that secured much-needed funding to promote political influence in Israel. On January 15, 2015, the polls will open again online. By voting, you can promote change. Give yourself a voice by registering to vote at votereformjudaism.com. 

Annual dues for ARZA are $45.00. Over one-third goes directly to the Israel Religious Action Center and Israel’s Reform Movement. The remainder goes to ARZA’s work to support connections between Jews and Israel. To join online, go to www.arza.org. You can also contact ARZA directly at (212) 658-4280. What a great way to start the New Year!!

Thank you for your support and dedication and for being The Voice of Israel.