Why start an Israel Committee?
Israel has been an important part of Jewish tradition. We might not agree what the concept of Israel has meant in the past or what it means for us today, but we as Jews have often used Israel as an expression of our identity. The very name of our own congregation, Temple Beth Israel (“House of Israel”), embodies certain aspects of that tradition. Beginning in 1948 the term Israel took on a new dimension with the creation of the state of Israel. American Jews overwhelmingly report that Israel is an important part of their Jewish identity. We believe that along with other important aspects of congregational life, such as ritual, social action, and education, Israel should be a matter of significance at Temple Beth Israel.
What does the committee hope to accomplish?
The committee seeks ways to educate, invigorate, and empower the congregation in its understanding and commitment towards Israel, and enable congregants to engage in discussions and respond to issues dealing with Israel. In coming months and years we will be working with the rabbi, cantor, and educator to develop a range of programs that will achieve these goals. This is the first installment of what we hope will be become a regular feature of the Kehillah. Each month a member of the committee will contribute an article about Israel. The contents of the articles will vary, and provide you with basic information about the country, reflections on recent events, resources where can gain more information, and personal reminiscences.
What is the position of the committee about Israel?
In recent years, Israel has become a contentious issue not only in political arenas, but in synagogues and Jewish organizations, on college campuses, and in Christian churches. We recognize that TBI members hold diverse perspectives on the nation and its policies. The committee wishes to remain an inclusive venue, and to provide ways for all Temple members to learn, express their views, and be benefit from the programs. While we recognize the legitimacy and importance of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with safe and secure borders, it is not the purpose of the committee to advocate for or against any specific policy. As members of the committee, we certainly have our own views, and hope that you will contribute yours as well.
The Israel Committee is publishing articles to help you learn more about Israel. Check out the following articles by clicking on:
If you would like to join the committee or if you have ideas for programs, please contact Gary Gilbert, chair of the committee.