The desert stroll from freedom to law marches on with day 16 of the Omer!

As we approach Yom Ha’atzma’ut I’ll continue my series on things that suck in Israel with something that sucks, but is improving. As many of you are probably aware, the situation for non-Orthodox Judaism in Israel is not particularly good. From the blog Jews By Choice, comes this story from Haaretz of things looking up for a Reform community in Modi’in, which I visited once. They’re very nice.

Israel’s Reform Jews dedicated the first non-Orthodox synagogue to receive state funding on Monday, after a long court battle that accented the rift among streams of Judaism in Israel.

The Reform Yozma congregation fought for the better part of a decade for state funding equivalent to what Orthodox congregations receive. After arguing their case twice before the Supreme Court, they got what they wanted: a prefabricated, two-room building on a plot of land in the center of Modiin, a new town between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

“This is a substantial step in recognizing different streams of Judaism in the state of Israel,” said Rabbi Kinneret Shiryon, who leads the 240-family congregation.

The government has long funded Orthodox synagogues, even paying rabbi’s salaries.

The Orthodox establishment dominates Jewish life in Israel and hotly opposes recognition or assistance to the more liberal streams – Reform and Conservative Judaism.

Compared with the United States, where more than a third of Jewish adults consider themselves Reform, Israel’s 25 Reform congregations are struggling for recognition.

The rest of the article is here, at Haaretz and the post at Jews by Choice is here.

One Response to 16

  1. Harold May 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm #

    I saw this article in Haaretz yesterday. I was really happy to see it. I hope the Yozmeh congregation is the first of many.