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Israel Discourse Policy

How do we talk about Israel at Judea Reform Congregation?

Called to make the synagogue a model for discourse about Israel and Palestine, Judea Reform Congregation’s Board of Trustees established an “Israel Discourse Policy.” Adopted in April, 2017, the policy affirms in part, that

[w]hile Judea Reform Congregation may choose not to host or sponsor speakers or programs that depart from [our core] values, our instinct is toward listening to ideas even when we may disagree with them, and even when they represent a viewpoint to the right or left of our Movement’s position.

Read the policy statement in its entirety here.

From 2017 to 2020, Judea Reform Congregation's Board of Trustees established an ad hoc Israel Discourse Advisory Committee (IDAC) to interpret and assess the Congregation’s Israel Discourse Policy. The committee’s charge (which may be read in its entirety here) was to serve as a clearinghouse for all Israel-related programming in the synagogue, and other Israel-related matters. The ideologically diverse body evaluates proposed programs, classes, speakers, etc., ensuring that nothing presented in JRC’s name advocates violence, antisemitism, or Islamophobia, and that the entirety of our programming presents a variety of viewpoints.

In 2019, the Board of Trustees of JRC voted unanimously to renew the charge and tenure of the Israel Discourse Advisory Committee for another 18 months. This ad hoc committee has ably served JRC in partnership with rabbinic leadership as we continue our congregations Israel-related programming and engagement. IDAC has served an important advisory role to the President and has had some important, meaningful conversations about our work in this area. We are proud that The Union for Reform Judaism sees our policy and committee structure as a prototype for this important topic of great debate in Jewish life. Our model demonstrates our dedication to civil discourse in all matters, particularly as it relates to a topic of potentially great divide in our community. The Committee has recommitted to uphold the JRC Israel Discourse Policy and will continue to be a model for other discussions in our community. 

As the Committee completed its second 18-month term in 2020, the leadership of Judea Reform Congregation agreed that IDAC would cease functioning as an ad hoc committee and through our various other committees, we will design programming within policy guidelines that furthers the work of IDAC. Guided by the IDAC experience and the example it provided of careful deliberation, Judea Reform leadership and the Board of Trustees will exercise their best judgment concerning other Israel/Palestine-related matters that come before the congregation. JRC leadership also commits to regular review of this Israel Discourse Policy, like all Board policies.

 

 

Thu, October 28 2021 22 Cheshvan 5782