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For the love of Israel, we need to say: The Reform Movement is Zionist

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The New York Times Magazine recently published a long article entitled “Inside The Unraveling of American Zionism.” The piece focused on 93 rabbinical and cantorial students enrolled in multiple non-Orthodox American seminaries who published a letter during the May hostilities between Israel and Hamas, harshly criticizing Israeli policies and actions. While the majority of students at our Reform seminary, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, did not sign the letter, fully 30 of our seminarians did.

Out of deep respect for the need to provide as much safe space for students to explore and express whatever is on their minds, I am reluctant to comment publicly on anything students say, even if they, themselves, want their views in the public domain. Students are in training and do not yet have the standing or responsibilities that leaders of the Jewish community bear. However, once The New York Times published an in-depth analysis that the students seemingly encouraged, the issue was no longer one of internal debate within the classrooms and clergy networks of our movement. The matter became one of public record both within the broad Jewish community, and the public at large.

Under these circumstances, it seems to me that we have a responsibility, even an obligation, to respond. The Reform seminarians identified themselves as students of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). The HUC-JIR even permitted The New York Times to take photos in the sanctuary of the New York campus for the story. We have a communal responsibility to clarify what it is that the Reform movement believes. What are our values and principles?

For the record, the Reform movement is a Zionist movement. Every single branch of our movement – the synagogue arm........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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