Dear Mr. Azoulay,
Your statement regarding the legitimacy of Reform Jews was deplorable and has widespread negative consequences for World Progressive Jewry, a movement of which we are proud to be members, as well as the greater global Jewish community. We are saddened that someone representing our homeland would propagate ideas that we are illegitimate as Jews and unworthy of our own religious beliefs.
We, as the youth leadership of the Reform Movement of North America, condemn your actions and implore you to consider reflecting on your words and the implication of your statements. You are promoting a culture of intolerance.
Together, we as Jews have been a part of history as it has unfolded for our people. Together, we have endured persecution and genocide, and together we celebrated and rejoiced in the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. We are one people and we feel the negative and positive effects of being Jewish, in modernity, together.
Israel is our homeland. Hearing that we would be considered “not Jewish” by a government official, in a place that many of us think of as home, is infuriating. We love and support Israel and we expect to be treated as Jews, no matter where in the world we go.
Israel needs us as much as we need Israel. As the Movement who sent the largest number of teens to Israel this summer and last summer, we go to learn to love the land from a Jewish and Israeli perspective. This includes our deep commitment to the pluralistic nature of all the Jews who live there and who consider it home. We take pride in discovering our Jewish identity through Reform Judaism AND through our connection to Israel.
We as Jews share the same values, wrestle with the same God, and uphold the same faith. As young Reform Jews we look to the future to continue to explore a more tolerant and accepting Israeli society.
– The 2015-2016 NFTY North American Board
As Reform Jews, we are always striving to learn more and to know more and to understand as much as possible. These sources teach about the longstanding history and origins of the Reform Movement in Judaism and the conscious choice of Jews to adhere to the tenants of this Movement:
- Learn more about the history of Reform Judaism: History of Reform Judaism and a look ahead In search of belonging
- My Jewish Learning: Reform Judaism
- Jewish Virtual Library: The Origins of Reform Judaism
Strong voices of support from the Reform Movement:
- From URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs: Rabbi Rick Jacobs Responds to Israel’s Religious Services Minister’s Comments About Reform Judaism
- We cannot call you “Minister” by Rabbis Ken Chasen and Yoshi Zweiback
- From ARZA President Rabbi Josh Weinberg: Netanyahu needs to pay for his minister’s damage