September 15, 2017
Last night, Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ’s board of trustees approved support for a declaration, entitled “Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State,” initiated by Hiddush and signed by an impressive group of Jewish leaders, both in Israel and the Diaspora. The board also approved an additional $15,000 – above the $310,000 already allocated to organizations in Israel that are working on developing religious pluralism – to support Hiddush in their efforts to promote a pluralistic society in Israel and to sponsor education initiatives on the issue in Greater MetroWest.
By signing on to this unprecedented initiative, ours is the only Federation joining a group of rabbis, leaders, and cultural figures in the United States and Israel that are calling for far-reaching changes to ensure the State of Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic country. Signatories to the statement represent a broad spectrum of the Jewish People, belonging to the various religious streams and political movements.
Hiddush, is an organization that was established to promote religious freedom and equality in Israel. With this declaration, Hiddush has created a simple, well-defined vision that reflects the Jewish and democratic nature of the state of Israel. The initiators of this statement, Rabbi Uri Regev and Rabbi Marc Angel, have emphasized the need for far-reaching changes to the current system, a system that relegates total authority to a “religious monopoly,” that sharply limits freedom of religion and conscience for millions of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora.
Rabbi Uri Regev is one of the leading figures in religious pluralism arena and Rabbi Mark Angel is a leading modern Orthodox Rabbi. Our Greater MetroWest Federation was the only federation asked to support the distribution and the recruitment efforts of this declaration in Israel and the Diaspora. And at least two Greater MetroWest residents are among the signers, Murray Laulicht, past president of our Federation and its RP committee, and Rabbi Eric Yoffie, past president of URJ. To read the declaration and see the current list of signatories, click here.