The Conservative Movement Takes on the "A" Word
On Wednesday, February 11th, a program on aliyah and klitah was launched by the Israel-based Conservative/Masorti Forum on Aliyah which was established by the Masorti Movement in Israel, MERCAZ Olami, Israeli Rabbinical Assembly and chaired by the United Synagogue's Israel Commission director, Rabbi Paul Freedman.
The event was held at the Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center and "A Call-to-Action" for aliyah was distributed by the Forum. The Conservative Movement took on the "A" word -- Aliyah, and the night featured a lecture on Aliyah as a Mitzvah, as well as a power point presentation.
The night opened with words from Rabbi Gilah Dror, vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly and rabbi of Rodef Sholom Temple in Hampton VA, and greetings from Eli Cohen, the Director-General of the Aliyah Department of the Jewish Agency in Israel. The auditorium was filled and welcomed Mr. Cohen's expressing the Jewish Agency's strong connection to the Conservative movement worldwide.
One highlight of the evening featured a terrific halakhic discussion by Rabbi David Golinkin, president of the Schechter institude of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He lectured on why it is a mitzvah to make aliyah and why it should be praised. Rabbi Dror responded with great enthusiasm too, adding that Aliyah does not happen in one day, and those who remain abroad should not feel as if their Judaism is in question. There are many ways to support Zionism and Aliyah.
The second highlight of the night was a power point presentation created by 4th-year Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies student Adam Titcher, aimed to encourage rabbis of our greater movement to educate more on aliyah and encourage strengthening our synagogue agendas to think more about aliyah and Zionism.
Rabbi Tzvi Graetz, Executive Director of Masorti Olami and MERCAZ Olami presented the program on behalf of all participating forces including, Nefesh BNefesh, The Aliyah Dept. of the Jewish Agency, the Israel Commission of USCJ, MERCAZ Olami, MERCAZ USA, the Masorti Movement in Israel, Masorti Olami and the World Zionist Congress. Lots of positive feedback and praise was given for the evening and there is now a lot of exciting in the air with the promotion of Conservative Aliyah and the strengthening of the Masorti community in Israel.