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Reform Rabbi Recognized by Israel

Israeli Reform Rabbi Miri Gold will be the first non-Orthodox Rabbi to be paid by the State of Israel, under a ruling by the Israel Attorney General on May 29.  Rabbi Gold, who first heard the news on the radio said, “This is a big step for religious pluralism and democracy in Israel.  Israeli Jews want religious alternatives, and with this decision the State is starting to recognize this reality.  There is more than one way to be Jewish, even in Israel.”

“Miri’s success is success for all of us.  With patience and perseverance, we will build an inclusive democratic Israeli society,” said Rabbi Daniel Allen, Executive Director of ARZA; The Reform Israel Fund.  ARZA is the major American Reform Movement funder of the Israel Religious Action Center, an arm of the Israel Reform Movement that brought the case to court six years ago.  “Israel’s Declaration of Independence guaranteed religious freedom; it has to be that this freedom is for all Israelis, Jewish as well as Christian and Muslim.  This decision brings us closer to the day where this will be the reality in Israel rather than the ideal.”

The ruling in this case follows other successes by the Israel Religious Action Center including the placement of a Reform Rabbi in Mevasseret on the Religious Council there, the finding that forced gender segregation on public transportation is discrimination and prohibited and the allocation of pre-fab units to non-Orthodox congregations for synagogue buildings.

Declaring it another step towards Jewish unity, Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel has released the following statement on the decision by the Government of Israel to recognize Reform and Conservative rabbis and community leaders:

“The government’s decision to recognize Reform and Conservative leaders gives official recognition to these dynamic community leaders and rabbis who work tirelessly to build strong and vibrant Zionist and Jewish communities throughout Israel,” said Sharansky, whose organization is the only platform where all the streams of Judaism and Jewish organizations from around the world sit together at one table with the Israeli government—a table where the positions and views of community representatives and the various streams are expressed and influence issues facing the Jewish world and Israel.

“I believe this decision has both practical and symbolic importance, Sharansky added. “It contributes significantly to the strengthening of the relationship between Diaspora Jews and Israel. The Jewish Agency sees this decision as a bridge and as another step towards bringing unity to the Jewish people.”

Quilt Guild Show To Be Held at Soka U.

The Beach Cities Quilt Guild Quilt Show will be held Saturday, June 2, and Sunday, June 3.  More than 350 handcrafted quilts, wearable art and dolls will be on display.  Some may be available for sale.

On Saturday there will be a quilt auction with more than 50 quilts available for bidding.  There is a raffle for a magnificent hand-made, king-size quilt and raffles for wonderful gift baskets.

The show is at the Soka University in Aliso Viejo from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.  Vendors will be there selling food, fabric, machines and sewing supplies for the sewer or quilter.  Often there are special deals for the show only.

Tickets are $9 and available at the door.  For more information or directions to Soka University, go the Beach Cities Quilt Guild web site, www.beachcitiesquilters.com.

Artist to Exhibit at JCC

On June 11, the Slutzky Gallery at the Merage JCC of Orange County will feature an exhibition of Erella Teitler’s work.  Last year her work was featured in the gallery as part of a four-woman show, “Sacred Places of the Heart.”

Teitler is a Jewish, Israeli artist who was born to Sephardi refugees forced out of Egypt.  She has lived and worked in six countries, in the Far East, Africa and North America.  Her show is called “I AM” and will feature her work, her identity and her heritage.

For more information, visit www.ErellaArt.com or call (818) 605 9000.

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