Oct 29, 2010

An Urgent & Time-Sensitive Message: "It's Time to Educate Federations About Religious Pluralism in Israel"

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the masorti (conservative) movement in israel - promoting religious pluralism and building community through inclusive, traditional, egalitarian Judaism
 
It's Time to Educate Federations About Religious Pluralism in Israel
 
 
Dear RA Colleague,
 
In early November, the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America ("JFNA") is taking place in New Orleans. Regrettably, its diverse agenda does NOT place any priority on "religious pluralism in Israel." This is despite the sending of 60,000 emails to Prime Minister Netanyahu protesting the proposed Rotem Bill; the arrest of women holding Sifre Torah at the Kotel; and the outrageous statements by "Chief Rabbis" against non-Orthodox Jews, against non-Jews in general and against Arabs in particular.
 
Why is religious pluralism being omitted from discussion? We are told that JFNA is not persuaded that this issue is a priority either to major donors or to the grassroots of American Conservative Jews. In short, they do not think that our rabbis and lay leaders truly care.
 
Yet without keeping religious pluralism "front and center," there is diminished pressure to:
 
1. Continue to lobby against the Rotem Bill and its plan to augment the power of the Haredi Chief Rabbinate
 
2. Create a "level playing field" by having local Federations actively support both Masorti and Reform projects and programs in Israel [NOTE: at present more than $450 million annually in Israeli government funding is given to Orthodox rabbinic salaries, synagogues, religious youth movements, etc. in contrast to a total of less than $100,000 for Masorti and Reform counterparts combined.]
 
3. Build bridges between grassroots non-Orthodox American Jews and religious counterparts of all ages within the Jewish State - thereby strengthening the identification of the next generation of US Jews with Israel and Israelis!
 
We need your help to drive home the prioritizing of religious pluralism within the JFNA national and local agenda.
 
Please arrange a telephone or in-person conversation with each member of your community who will be attending the GA - to educate them to the urgency of this issue. Please also urge them to send an email to the lead executive of your Federation advocating the prioritizing of religious pluralism allocations and advocacy, with a cc: to the office of Jerry Silverman, President and CEO of JFNA. It would be helpful if you would also send a copy of any email or letter to the Masorti Foundation office (to the attention of David Lissy).
 
Beyond the General Assembly, it is important you let your Federation professional and lay leadership know that our commitment to religious pluralism and to Masorti in Israel is not an ephemeral matter. We do care deeply and in a sustained manner.
 
With gratitude and solidarity,
 
Alan Silverstein, Chair of the Masorti Foundation
Gordon Tucker, Past Chair of the Masorti Foundation
 
Stuart Altshuler                                       Aaron Brusso                                   
Menachem Creditor                                Elliot Dorff
Scott Glass                                              Joshua Gruenberg
Amy Wallk Katz                                      Paul Kerbel
Adam Kligfeld                                         Harold Kravitz
Shalom Lewis                                          Michael Pont
Joel Rembaum                                         Neil Sandler
Benjamin Shull                                        Michael Siegel
Seth Sternstein                                        Gerald Skolnik
Jeffrey Wohlberg                                    Robert Tobin

 
The signers are members of the Board of the Masorti Foundation and/or participants in one of the Masorti Foundation missions to Israel during 2010.
 
 
To learn more, please contact:
Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 832
New York, NY 10115-0068
(212) 870-2216; 1-877-287-7414
http://www.masorti.org/; info@masorti.org



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Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Rabbis for Women of the Wall  ||  menachemcreditor.org 
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This Shabbat! "Davening Lab" led by Hannah Dressner

CNS "Davening Lab" led by Hannah Dressner

Four 90 minute sessions, every other Shabbat

Oct. 30, Nov. 13, 10:30 - 12:00                  

 

This "davening lab" is meant to hold a container for experimentation with the Shabbat morning davening, for the purpose of further vitalizing our personal experiences of  prayer.  We hope that skills and insights gained in this smaller context will, ultimately, enhance the larger Netivot shabbat morning service. To keep us in sync with the main service, the Slim Shalom siddur (and a transliterated siddur) will be used as a basis for this investigation, augmented by other sources.  Modes and enhancements of prayer to be explored will include: becoming comfortable with traditional nusach and its riffs, the usefulness of chant, the place for silence, davening in translation, and creation of privacy within one's tallit, and, of course, some new melodies.


Each session will take the form of an abbreviated service, with study of at least one prayer or psalm within that context.  Please come with a tallit (even if taken for the Netivot supply) and an open heart.  Please leave all writing and recording instruments behind, as we are learning while doing, and Shabbat does not traditionally include these activities.  And be prepared to re-integrate with the full community by staying for kiddush!  If you especially enjoyed Hannah's service leadership style during Yamim Nora'im, you will really enjoy this new window to prayer. Please join her on Saturday Oct. 30 and Nov. 13 at 10:30 upstairs for an alternative service.


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Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Rabbis for Women of the Wall  ||  menachemcreditor.org 
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MSNBC.com: "Suspicious devices on cargo jets trigger terror alert" White House cites possible threat; Chicago synagogue, Jewish center were intended recipients, source says

MSNBC.com: "Suspicious devices on cargo jets trigger terror alert"
White House cites possible threat; Chicago synagogue, Jewish center were intended recipients, source says

NBC News and news services
updated 3 minutes ago
BREAKING NEWS

Two suspicious packages were found on U.S.-bound cargo flights from Yemen overnight, the White House said Friday, triggering searches of other cargo flights that had landed in the U.S. and an investigation into whether al-Qaida was behind a new terror plot.

Sources told NBC News that both packages contained toner cartridges with wires and white powder.

    1. Devices on cargo jets trigger terror alert

      Two suspicious devices, toner cartridges that had wires and white powder, were found on U.S.-bound cargo flights from Yemen overnight, the White House said Friday. Full story

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"The president was notified of a potential terrorist threat on Thursday night at 10:30," the White House said in a statement.

Homeland Security said in a statement it was taking new measures, "including heightened cargo screening and additional security at airports."

The devices were found aboard U.S.-bound cargo planes in Britain and Dubai.

A law enforcement official told NBC that the two packages were addressed to a synagogue and a Jewish community center in Chicago.

One U.S. official said authorities are investigating whether the incident was a dry run for a plot to send bombs through the mail delivery system.

Yemen is the home of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the offshoot branch that claimed responsibility for an attempted bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner last Christmas.

Information about the Dubai device was not available, but test results for explosives were negative on the cartridge found in Britain, one law enforcement official said. The UPS cargo flight had been bound for Chicago but was at a British airport during a routine stopover when the cartridge was spotted.

Officials found the suspicious item during basic security screening. 

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In Chicago, synagogues were warned to be on alert Friday.

"We were notified this morning that synagogues should be on the alert," Linda Haase, associate vice president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago, told Reuters. "We are taking appropriate precautions and are advising local synagogues to do likewise."

TSA issues alert 
The Transportation Security Administration earlier said that cargo flights that landed safely at Newark and Philadelphia airports were being searched after "reports of potentially suspicious items onboard."

Fact file: UPS

"Out of an abundance of caution the planes were moved to a remote location where they are being met by law enforcement officials and swept," TSA added.

Two jets in Philadelphia belonging to UPS were searched. A federal law enforcement official told the AP that nothing suspicious was found.

The flight that landed at Newark, N.J., also was a UPS cargo jet. After the jet was searched, officials gave the all clear.

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In New York, a UPS truck was searched and then cleared in Brooklyn.

Al-Qaida active in Yemen 
The United States has stepped up its training, intelligence and military aid to Yemen after the failed Christmas Day plot, for which the Yemeni wing of al-Qaida claimed responsibility.

The accused Christmas Day bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, has told U.S. investigators he received the explosive device and training from al-Qaida militants in Yemen.

Yemen has been trying to quell a resurgent branch of al-Qaida, which has stepped up attacks on Western and government targets in the Arabian Peninsula country.

The Associated Press and Reuters, as well as NBC's Pete Williams and Robert Windrem, contributed to this report.

"

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Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Rabbis for Women of the Wall  ||  menachemcreditor.org 
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