Aug 18, 2014

Conservative Movement Solidarity Mission to Israel: First Day Update

Conservative Movement Mission to Israel Update
August 2014 - Av 5774
Day 1 - August 18, 2014 (View Pictures)

Update from Rabbi Ashira Konigsburg: 
Over 50 people gathered at the David Citadel Hotel this evening to open the Conservative Movement Solidarity Mission.  Our delegation includes 15 rabbis, 2 cantors, several other synagogue professionals and many lay-leaders.  We're proud that such a large group has joined our mission with little notice. 
We opened tonight with greetings from Yizhar Hess, Executive Director of Masorti Israel, Laura Lewis, Executive Director of the Masorti Foundation, and Shueli Fast, the new Chair of the Masorti movement in Israel. Then our chairs, Felipe Goodman and Bob Slosberg facilitated a conversation where participants described how they came to be part of the mission and what they hoped to gain from it. Barbara Goldstein of Roslyn Heights, NY said "I came because I needed to be here." Many others echoed her sentiments. Some were here earlier in the summer, but felt they needed to come back now. 
After dinner, Felipe introduced our speaker, Hon. Professor Sholomo Avineri of Hebrew University. He spoke about the difference between what might have ideally happened between Israel and the Palestinians and what the reality is. He noted that the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians were stuck and have been for a while. His suggestion was that both sides look to build trust wherever possible rather than looking to resolve their conflicting narratives. By taking small steps, we can start to find our way out of the conflict. He said that partial solutions that deal with details rather than with resolving narratives are most likely to move peace negotiations forward. But he also noted that even gestures that build trust take sacrifice and political will. The group was left with much food for thought as we begin our first full day on the ground in Israel tomorrow. 
The RA expresses its thanks to Yizhar Hess for all of his help in planning this mission and especially for the last minute schedule changes.  He has worked tirelessly for the past week.
We go to bed tonight uncertain if there will be a ceasefire tomorrow or not. Either way, we will head to the South where we will visit with our kehillot in Ashkelon, Beersheva and Omer, visit an Iron Dome battery, and meet with soldiers. We look forward to the chance to hear from colleagues and community members and bring them hizuk.

Photos from today are posted on Facebook.
You can also follow @rabbiassembly and #CMinIsrael for live updates.