For the last two years, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations has participated in a coalition of five national and international Reform organizations which worked to secure increased funding for Reform programs in Israel from the Jewish Agency, the primary recipient of UJA and Keren Kayemet funds. This effort was undertaken to allow those in Israel whose spiritual search has taken them into a progressive religious path to have full and equal access to the resources of world Jewry.
Initiated by ARZA, the Reform coalition — consisting of the UAHC, ARZA, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the World Union for Progressive Judaism — was successful in obtaining a $1.6 million grant from the Jewish Agency in February of this year. Reform leaders view this grant as a significant first step in the creation of new funding patterns by the Agency. They anticipate that as Reform programs are successfully implemented, they will receive ongoing and increased support, and that additional programs sponsored by our movement will also become eligible for Agency allocations.
In this light, we commend the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion on the dramatic expansion of its Jerusalem campus; ARZA for directing the Jewish Agency grant project and sponsoring the newly-created Israel Religious Action Center; the World Union for Progressive Judaism for erecting its youth hostel in Jerusalem and for its support of the Israel Movement of Progressive Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis for returning to Israel this year, as it does every seven years, to lend strength to the Jewish State and to the Israeli Reform rabbis who work there; and the Israel Progressive Movement for developing new youth and outreach programs to meet the religious needs of the Israeli population. We view these efforts to promote the growth of an indigenous Progressive Movement in Israel as a critical factor in guaranteeing a religiously pluralistic and democratically-oriented future for the Jewish state.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of American Hebrew Congregations:
- Applaud the decision of our national institutions to maintain their coalition for the purpose of obtaining increased allocations from the Jewish Agency for Reform programs and institutions in Israel.
- Call upon the UAHC and ARZA to keep our member congregations fully informed of the progress of our programs receiving Jewish Agency grants, and of future decisions by the Agency on allocations to Reform programs.
- Express its thanks to the Jewish Agency leadership for responding to Reform concerns and priorities, and reiterate its strong support for the UJA/Federation campaign. Members of our movement are called upon to involve themselves actively in UJA/Federation efforts.
- Remind our members that Jewish Agency funding is only a partial answer to the financial needs of the Reform movement in Israel, and urge them to participate fully in fund-raising efforts for Reform institutions in Israel through the campaigns of ARZA, KADIMA, Progressive Judaism, and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.