Women’s League for Conservative Judaism joins the entire world Jewish community in celebration of the 50th Anniversary year of the establishment of the State of Israel.
With heartfelt joy we salute the people of Israel and all those who have participated in the transformation of our people’s ancient dream into a modern political reality, restored our people’s national identity and established an independent Jewish state.
We note with pride Israel’s establishment as the only modern democracy in the region. This is a time of celebration but also of reflection on the unfinished Zionist agenda. There remain many social issues that call for serious dialogue and remedy, gaps between rich and poor, religious and secular, Arabs and Jews, white and non-white, Sephardic and Ashkenazi, and Israel and the Diaspora.
In addition, we in the Conservative Movement/Masorti Movement look to the government to fulfill its promise of religiousfreedom for all.
We urge the entire North American Jewish community to join with the people of Israel in celebrating the Jubilee Year of the State of Israel, united in our hopes and desires for a strong and secure independent Jewish State at peace with its neighbors.
As it nears its mid-century milestone, Israel is achieving a state of security, sovereignty and a degree of normalcy. In such a changed environment, Israel’s dependency upon the United States will inevitably lessen. So, too, may its close ties to American Jewry.
For Israel, the challenge is how to maintain its Jewish character and Zionist purpose.
For the Diaspora, the concern is about maintaining a Jewish identity. Never have Jews had it s good – comforts are high, anti-Semitism is declining and Jews are accepted, even recruited, into almost every walk of life. With and, perhaps because of this, comes greater assimilation and the steady erosion of Jewish numbers as intermarriage rates are high and birthrate remains low.
Long on the back burner, the evolving relationship between Israel and the Diaspora, beyond fund raising and political advocacy, has moved to the forefront.
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, committed to the concept of klal Yisrael and recognizing the immediate need for a constructive response to the changing relationship between Israel and diaspora Jewry calls for:
Fundamentalism, which is gaining ground through much of the Muslim world, seeks to replace the secular state with rules based upon Islamic holy law. In some countries, the fundamentalists have resorted to force to achieve their aims, while elsewhere they have so far sought power through democratic means.
Much of the appeal of Islamic fundamentalism lies in the simplistic slogan that “Islam is the solution” to the problems that plague the Muslim world: dire poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy, in sharp contrast to the great wealth of the elites. It also has appeal as a “return to the roots” movement, similar to other religions, which reflect disappointment with the failures of secularism.
The peace process seriously challenges Islamic fundamentalism. The existence of a Jewish state in a Muslim region is viewed as incompatible with the tenets of Islam. This has manifested itself in the escalation of suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism in Israel and other locations around the world.
We know these adherents by a variety of names: Islamic Jihad, Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), Muslim Brotherhood and Hezbollah. We also know that they are heavily financed by Iran, Libya, Iraq, Sudan and Algeria, who have political agendas they wish to advance.
Governments in the Middle East and North Africa have to walk a fine line between restraining the violent activities of radical Islamic organizations (which threaten their stability) without alienating the millions of moderate observant Muslims.
A number of extremists have taken the holy war, or Jihad, against secularism, the West, the United States, and Israel to the global stage.
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, appalled by the outrageous acts of terrorism against innocents, and concerned for the future of peace in the Middle East and around the world, calls upon the nations of the world to:
The State of Israel was created to be the homeland for the Jewish people, no matter country of birth, religious commitment, physical vigor or means. After many years of limited aliyah, the Zionist dream is being realized. The collapse of the Soviet Union, the redemption of Ethiopian Jews, the beginnings of free immigration in Eastern Europe, with possibilities for free emigration in the Arab world as well, are enabling thousands of our brothers and sisters to come home. With blessings come added responsibilities. The State of Israel is carrying the staggering burden of having to meet the needs of this massive immigration.
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism urges Sisterhoods to:
“Let all witness with their eyes the reality envisioned by ‘the Psalmist, ‘This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes’.” – From 10th Anniversary Proclamation – by Itzhak Ben Zvi, President of the State of Israel
One of the goals of Judaism to which National Women’s League is dedicated, is to strive toward the redemption of Israel and all mankind. In the birth of the State of Israel, this process of redemption has begun, and in our support of Israel, we are part of this process.
In the brief span of its existence, the State of Israel has contributed impressively toward the ingathering of the homeless and oppressed Jews from all corners of the world. It has also played a major role as a pioneer of democratic principles in the Middle East. To the many new independent nations of Africa, the State of Israel has become a model to emulate. Israel’s cooperation and guidance extended to the underdeveloped nations, has brought her worldwide acclaim.
As Synagogue women, we are keenly aware of our responsibility not merely to build Jewish life in the United States, but also to do all within our power to help meet the spiritual, cultural and economic needs of the Jews in the State of Israel.
We affirm our support and active participation in the rebuilding of Israel. Again, we pledge our best efforts to build “spiritual bridges” between us and our fellow Jews in the State of Israel, to nurture the bonds of fellowship, cultural and spiritual kinship and mutual understanding.
Toward this end, National Women’s League urges every affiliated Sisterhood to set up an Israel Affairs Committee to:
This program should include, but not be limited by the following:
Resolution of Israel Affairs (1960)
“Rejoice ye with Jerusalem and be glad with her, all ye that love her”. – Isaiah 66:10
The birth of the State of Israel on the 5th day of Iyar 5708, corresponding to May 14th, 1948, represents to us and all mankind the beginning of the fulfillment of the great prophetic vision of Jewish and universal human redemption.
Since the beginning of the history of the Jewish people, Eretz Yisrael has been linked indissolubly with Jewish hopes for freedom and dignity as a people, and with Jewish aspirations to serve as a blessing for all the nations of the world. This concept has been a basic and fundamental thread strengthening the bonds of Kial Yisrael through-out the centuries and cementing the oneness of the Jewish people.
In the brief span of its existence, the State of Israel has contributed impressively towards the ingathering of the homeless and oppressed Jews from all corners of the world. It has also played a major role as a pioneer of democratic principles in the Middle East. To the many new independent nations of Africa, the State of Israel has become a model to emulate and Israel’s cooperation and guidance extended to the underdeveloped nations, has brought her world wide acclaim.
The creation of the State of Israel and its record of unparalleled achievement in its historic mission, could not have been accomplished without the collaboration of all Jews throughout the world. And the continuance of this collaboration remains imperative if Israel is to meet the many staggering problems which still confront her. Israel remains dependent on our aid is she is to follow her policy of free immigration for all Jews who need a home or the opportunity for a free life, and to serve as a center of human progress in the world community.
National Women’s League of the United Synagogue of America recognizing these truths has consistently reaffirmed its support and active participation in the rebuilding of Israel.
National Women’s League, therefore urges every affiliated Sisterhood to set up an Israel Affairs Committee, to conduct an expanding educational program to stimulate its membership in participation in the practical tasks of aid to Israel, and in strengthening our bonds with our ancient homeland. This program should include, but not be limited by the following:
Israel Affairs (1956)
“For from Zion shall go forth the Torah and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” – Isaiah 2:3
Throughout the ages, the Jewish people have kept alive the dream of an Israel reborn. Today, we are the privileged generation who are seeing this dream turned into a reality. Over one and one-half million Jews from all over the world have already found a home and haven in Israel and hundreds of thousands are waiting to come in. Many have given their lives to build this land where freedom of religion and culture may flourish. This, they have been forced to do with the plough-share in one hand and the weapons of defense in the other.
As American citizens and as Jews dedicated to fostering the growth of democracy everywhere in the world, the National Women’s League of the United Synagogue proudly hail Israel’s magnificent achievement and feels a close kinship with its people. We pledge to do all within our power to help Israel in her valiant efforts to build a democratic state based on the principles of social justice enunciated by our Prophets.
To give concrete expression to these sentiments, we urge Sisterhoods to pledge full support and cooperation to the two fund-raising efforts for Israel—the United Jewish Appeal and Israel Bonds.
Whereas: Palestine was, has always been and continues to be the spiritual home of Judaism, in addition to its historic importance to Jews everywhere, and
Whereas, now more than ever Israel stands in need of the moral encouragement, understanding and cooperation of American Jews, and that of all thinking people everywhere, in addition to economic help, and
Whereas, we look forward with anticipation and hope to an interchange of spiritual and cultural values between the Jews of Israel and the Jews of America, and
Whereas, as freedom loving citizens of a great democracy, we are interested in giving support and encouragement to the only democratic government in its geographic sphere,
Now Therefore Be It Resolved, that the National Women’s League of the United Synagogue, urge undiminished support of Israel in all areas of endeavor and the free exchange of inspirational cultural relations.