Your Vote in the WORLD ZIONIST CONGRESS is Extremely Important
What is the World Zionist Congress? The WZC is the organization that enables elected delegates to exert ideological influence on both Israeli society and the global Jewish agenda. It also serves to allocate financial resources to various organizations – including the Reform Movement – in Israel. It is the only way that the Jewish people around the world have a voice in the Jewish State, and this election is our chance to have the Reform Movement’s voice and priorities heard in Israel.
Please take 5 minutes and vote. Here’s how:
1. Visit azm.org/elections, then follow these instructions:
2. Click the “Voter Registration” button.
3. Fill in your information and submit the form.
4. Check your email to receive your verification number and enter the number
5. Proceed to payment and hit submit. The fee to register and vote is $7.50,
which covers the administrative costs of running the election. (Voters age
25 and under pay $5.00.)
6. You are now registered to vote! In a few moments, you will receive a PIN by
7. To begin the voting process, enter the PIN found in your email from
8. Select the Reform slate (listed second); it will say “Vote Reform: ARZA
Representing the Reform Movement and Reconstructing Judaism.”
9. Submit your vote.
It’s that easy – so go vote now. Vote Reform and help change the world.
Monday marked the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The day was selected to coincide with International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and as Jews and non-Jews paused around the world, we were offered an opportunity to ask ourselves: Has anything changed since the horrors of the Holocaust that would give us hope for the future?
The following letter from David Harris (the CEO of the American Jewish Committee) provides us with a story of hope.This letter helps us see that while hate and anti-Semitism may continue to fester around the world, things have changed in some very important ways over the past seventy-five years. We will seek to embrace some of this hope through music and meditations during our Sabbath worship this Friday night.
75 years ago today, Soviet soldiers liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau and saw with their own eyes the worst of humanity. Today, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, as antisemitism again rears its ugly head around the world, I want to share a story of hope.
Last week, I was privileged to be part of a historic delegation convened by AJC and the Muslim World League (MWL) that visited Auschwitz. The MWL delegation was led by MWL Secretary General Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa of Saudi Arabia and included 62 Muslims, among them 25 prominent religious leaders, from 28 countries. AJC’s contingent included much of our organization’s senior leadership, as well as our top professionals engaged in strengthening Muslim-Jewish relations. Together we paid respects, reflected, and prayed.
This was the most senior Muslim leadership delegation ever to visit Auschwitz or any Nazi death camp. Many delegates came at no small amount of risk to themselves to be associated with us. But this is only the beginning: our engagement with the Muslim world will only strengthen and grow, buttressed by the historic Memorandum of Understanding signed between AJC and the MWL just a few months ago.
I wish you could have been there to bear witness to Muslim and Jewish leaders praying side by side at Auschwitz. We prayed for the victims of the Holocaust and pledged never to forget. Then the next day, we toured Jewish Warsaw and participated in Jewish and Muslim prayer services, which included a memorable speech by Dr. Al-Issa at Warsaw’s Nozyk Synagogue.
The road before us is not an easy one. Yet, in the place that witnessed humanity at its worst, we saw humanity at its best. And maybe, just maybe, we began to write a new chapter in Muslim-Jewish relations.
None of this would be possible without your support. Thank you for partnering with AJC in remembrance, in hope, and in action toward healing our fractured world.
AJC Chief Executive Officer
Edward and Sandra Meyer Office of the CEO
Every year on Martin Luther King Day, our nation sets aside time to remember and celebrate the legacy of a man whose life was dedicated to fighting for equality. From voting rights to criminal justice reform and beyond, King’s work had in imprint on how our country has evolved in regards to fair, equitable treatment of all individuals under the law.
Throughout the decades since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this commitment has been tested repeatedly, and it is our responsibility as a Jewish community to make sure our community and our nation continues along the right path. Historically, Jews have remained steadfast in the pursuit of justice, however, we cannot rest on our laurels. Racism is still as alive as ever, and we cannot afford to ignore or downplay this reality.
Our observance of MLK Day on Monday, served as a national reminder of the enduring value of King’s legacy and our responsibility to keep it alive. This work is ongoing, and each of us has a role in ensuring progress in the pursuit of equality for all people regardless of the color of their skin, how they pray and who they love.
Please join us this Friday night at Shabbat services, as we seek to honor the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through our Third Annual Gospel Shabbat. This special musical Sabbath seeks to ignite our passion for justice through the inspiring voices of the iEmerge Singers from The Church Without Walls.
Have you ever met a Chinese Imam? Join me for a unique class on February 13, and you will be enlightened by the wisdom Imam Abdur Rachman Chao brings through his teachings. Imam Chao and I have been paired up with Pastor Taylor Ince for a very special program comparing Jewish, Christian and Muslim concepts on “Original Sin.”
This program is the brainchild of our monthly multi-faith study group, which is playfully referred to as the Galleria Gang. We are a group of rabbis, imams and evangelical ministers who explore our differences and similarities by examining themes from our sacred scriptures.
In February, the Galleria Gang is holding a three-part series on the themes of creation. Our hope is to enable members of our respective communities to share the rewards that come from the kind of exploration we do together every month. Each faith is committed to bringing at least 10 members to learn from each other as we discuss our values and teachings.
This program promises to be an extremely rewarding experience. If you are interested in one or all of the classes, please RSVP to email@example.com.
Join us for Creation in Abrahamic Traditions
Thursday evenings from 7:00-8:30
February 6, 2020 | Six Days of Creation | Beth Yeshurun
How do our faith traditions inform our beliefs about living in a Created Universe. How old is the Universe and other questions about how we correlate science with Creation.
February 13, 2020 | Adam and Eve and “Original Sin”? | Church Location TBA
How do our faith traditions understand the story of Adam and Eve, eating the “forbidden fruit”? Are humans born in “original sin”? And if so, what does that mean? Was the Snake “the Devil”?
February 20, 2020 | Humanity Created in God’s Image |Turkish Center
How do our traditions interpret this concept and how does it relate to how we treat people of other faith traditions? What is the role of humanity in God’s Creation? What does God expect from humanity? What does God hope for humanity?
Sign up now for the most ambitious social event of the decade.
Broaden your connections to the HCRJ community in a fun and exciting way at our 2020 Progressive Dinner. Journey from appetizers to dinner to dessert and meet new faces every step of the way.
Our Progressive Dinner invites you to three separate venues with great food and new opportunities to learn about your fellow congregants. The event is free; the food will be fabulous; and the journey from one home to the next will be memorable.
When: Saturday Night, February 22
Begins: First House for Appetizers begins at 6:00pm
Ends: Dessert Reception at HCRJ will be the final destination
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, January 31 so we can map out your culinary adventure.
As 2020 begins,
may it unfold a
of blessings of
Prosperity, Health and Happiness
For you and your family.
Happy New Year.
Happy Chanukah! Today is the third day of Chanukah, and tonight we will light candle number four. From a religious perspective, Chanukah is often a missed opportunity for spiritual growth, as the giving and receiving of gifts can take center stage, especially with our children.
With a little effort, Chanukah can be an opportunity to celebrate the uniqueness of our faith, and when it falls during Christmas (like it does tonight), we have a beautiful way to share joy and bring light into the world in a way that compliments the Christian celebrations that surround us.
Eating latkes, spinning dreidels, lighting candles and reciting the proper blessings have long bonded us in our homes and our communities, but there is so much more to this holiday than these joyous customs. We must remember that real fight of the Maccabees was a fight against assimilation. Their fight was an aggressive attempt to eradicate a trend that had permeated Jewish society of that time – the gradual deterioration of the Jewish identity because of assimilation into Hellenist society.
When viewed through the lens of history, the celebration of Chanukah takes on many additional nuances which are important for us today. There is the nuance embedded in the historical narrative that we cherish and celebrate as we view Chanukah as a holiday celebrating liberation and religious freedom. There is the nuance which reminds us of the importance of maintaining a sense of who we are and what we value while living in a society dominated by values which may compete with our own. And there is a nuance which warns us against being too zealous in our beliefs.
Each of these nuances challenges us to understand this winter celebration in a way which is broader and more meaningful than the simple lessons taught to us in our youth. While the legend of the miracle of the oil may lift up our spirits and fill our souls during the dark months of winter, history provides us with a lens through which we may examine our present in light of the past.
Beckye joins me in wishing all of you a very Happy Chanukah!