THE IMPJ WISHES ALL OUR FRIENDS AROUND THE WORLD A JOYOUS SIMCHAT TORAH!
Chag Simchat Torah Sameach from the IMPJ!
20 October 2019
21 Tishrei 5780
Moadim l’Simcha – I hope that you all are enjoying a festive Sukkot! All throughout Israel, our 52 IMPJ congregations and regional initiatives have been engaging in Sukkot services and activities, such as group meals in the sukkah and nights of learning. 65 of the IMPJ’s congregations and regional initiatives held Yom Kippur services in their areas. Meaningful services of Kol Nidrei and Neilah were attended by thousands of Israeli Reform Jews from throughout all parts of the country. Additionally, we hosted our Young Adult (Tlamim) retreat at Neve Shalom for the 5th time, in which over 200 of our Young Adult Leaders participated. During those two days, we prayed together, learned, talked and created a true sense of community.
This evening, we will begin Simchat Torah. Many of our congregations will be hosting egalitarian hakafot shniot in public places. Hosting public hakafot shniot is important for several reasons. We are bringing the faces of Reform Judaism into the public sphere, in many cases introducing to people and engaging them with an open, accepting stream of Judaism. This enhances the visibility and growth of the Reform Movemment in Israel, leading in turn to expansion and exposure to more and more Israelis. We will bring the joy of Simchat Torah to all who wish to share in it with us. Additionally, Orthodox celebrations of the holiday are typically gender-segregated – we will be providing many women, young and old alike, their first chance to truly participate in the festivities of the holiday.
The IMPJ kehillot that will be hosting public hakafot shniot include the following:
North: Kehillat Emet V’Shalom, Nahariya; Kehillat Yedid Nefesh, Carmiel; Kehillat “B’Rosh Pluralisti”, Rosh Pina; Kehillat Ohel Avraham/Leo Baeck Education Center, Haifa; Kehillat Ma’alot Tivon, Kiryat Tivon; Kehillat Sulam Ya’akov, Zichron Ya’akov; Kehillat Or Hadash, Haifa; Kehillat Shirat HaYam Karmel, Haifa
Center/HaSharon: Kehillat Ra’anan, Ra’anana; Kehillat Bavat Ayin, Rosh Ha’Ayin; Kehillat Shoham; Kehillat Achvat Yisrael, Rishon L’Tzion; Kehillat Birkat Shalom, Kibbutz Gezer; Kehillat Tefillat Ha’Adam, Caesarea; Kehillat Darchei Noam, Ramat HaSharon; Kehillat Brit Olam, Kiryat Ono
Tel-Aviv: Beit Daniel, Tel-Aviv; Kehillat Tefillat HaYam, Bat Yam; Kehillat Shirat HaGan, Ramat Gan
Jerusalem (and surrounding area): Kehillat Yozma, Modi’in; Kehillat Kamatz, Mevaseret Zion; Kehillat Har-El, Jerusalem; Kehillat Shir Hadash, Tzur Hadassah; Kehillat HaDror, Jerusalem; Kehillat Kol HaNeshma, Jerusalem; Kehillat Merchav Yerushalayim, Jerusalem
South: Kibbutz Lotan
Click Here for more information on specific kehillot (in Hebrew).
While rejoicing in the new year that has been brought upon us and with it, the conclusion of the reading of 54 Torah portions, we do not forget about the dangers around us. We must not forget that just days ago there was a horrific shooting attack outside of a synagogue in Halle, Germany. This Simchat Torah, the tying together of the Hakafot and singing with the “El Maleh Rachamim” memorial prayer, which we will recite tomorrow morning, has an added special meaning. As we dance, we will sing: “and the main thing to recall, is to have no fear at all” and “Am Yisrael Hai”; but also “He who makes peace in heaven, He shall bring peace upon us…” and “Od Yavoh Shalom Alyenu” – “may peace soon be upon us.”
To all of those blessings: amen.
As we continue in full force through 5780, we look forward to our goals: the continued development and strengthening of new Reform congregations, such as the ones in Kiryat Shmona and Givatayim; the powerful and impactful work being done on the ground by Keren b’Kavod, the Reform Center for Community-Based Social Activism; the continued development of meaningful Israel-Diaspora partnerships through the “Domim” project, and so much more.
On Simchat Torah, it is traditional to recite the first prayer for rain, in light of the changes of seasons and the hope for showers that are soon to come. As part of this prayer, we read the words from the Book of Ezekiel: “and I will cause the shower to come down in its season; there shall be showers of blessing… and they shall be safe in their land” (Ezekiel 34; 26). We pray that this year we will truly be granted showers of blessing and that peace be upon us and upon all who dwell on earth.
I wish you all a festive and meaningful Simchat Torah!
Rabbi Gilad Kariv
IMPJ President and CEO
Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism
13 King David Street,