This week, the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey conducted a community-wide conference call addressing local concerns about recent actions by the Israeli government that impact pluralism in Israel – in particular, prayer at the Western Wall and religious status of Jews from every background.
Being at the forefront of Federations across North America, and at the center of the Jewish community in Monmouth and Greater Middlesex counties, the Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey organized the conference call in accordance with its ongoing role helping our Jewish community understand issues affecting us and engage in constructive responses, all while strengthening unity among the Jewish people locally and globally -- and in particular, forging meaningful bonds with the people and land of Israel.
This week’s conference call complimented the work of our parent organization, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), which has played and continues to play a pivotal role advocating for diversity and inclusion in Israel.
While the recent actions of the Israeli government pose an obstacle in the path toward greater pluralism in the Jewish state, much progress has been gained – and remains – in large part through JFNA’s involvement with the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), and with Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform religious streams’ governing bodies over the course of several years.
History shows us progress, in anything, rarely takes place in a straight line. More often it comes in a form resembling three steps forward, two steps back. This Federation and this Jewish community are not deterred by this setback.
Our Federation, others, and JFNA have expressed deep disappointment to the consul general of Israel and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu concerning the recent government actions. In addition, we are redoubling advocacy work at the highest levels of Israel’s religious and civic leadership to achieve greater pluralism in Israel.
Meanwhile, the needs of vulnerable people in Israel persist. Our financial contributions to Israel must continue to fill the socio-economic gaps in order to feed the hungry, rescue children who are living on the street, provide medicine and socialization to the elderly who are alone, living below the poverty line, and much more.
We may be angry at the government of Israel, but we will not turn away from the people of Israel. Our regular Federation contributions are as crucial as ever to care for the vulnerable among our extended Jewish family, whether they live in our area or in Israel.
At the same time, many Federation donors have expressed a desire to invest more deeply in pluralism efforts, enabling the Federation to intensify its advocacy work. These donors recognize the Federation’s singular ability to unite Jews worldwide, and they wish to empower continued progress like the three steps forward we helped bring about before the recent two steps back. If you wish to invest in pluralism, thank you for contributing to the Federation’s newly established PLURALISM FUND.
The Jewish Federation is proud to provide platforms for our local Jewish community to grapple with global or national issues affecting us personally, such as pluralism in Israel. Recently, similar issues have included the Iran Nuclear Deal and the 2016 Presidential election. We thank our donors, partners, and volunteers for making it possible for us to advance the concerns of all Jews within the Jewish community and the civic arena, while caring for the vulnerable and addressing the biggest problems in Jewish life.
To learn more about the Federation's approach to helping those in need in Israel and overseas, CLICK HERE.
To learn more about the Federation's response to to recent government actions in Israel, CLICK HERE.