“Involvement. That’s the key to everything.” 
Rabbi Max Weiss

The Rabbi and I were speaking the other day about Life, the Universe and Everything, when he said something very profound. He said,”Involvement. That’s the key to everything.” As with many things, the Rabbi and I are on the same page.

A week later, I briefly joined Alan Fox, our Israel Chair for ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists of America), and two representatives from ARZA regional and national. When I mentioned our desire to support the 26 Progressive Judaism congregations in Israel (that’s what Reform congregations are called in Israel), I was corrected that the number is now 36! Two years ago, Rabbi Corrie Zeidler of our Echad al Echad sister congregation Ma’alot Tivon in Kiryat Tivon had informed me of the small number (26) of Progressive Jewish congregations in Israel. In the largely Orthodox controlled country, being a Progressive Jew has been an uphill battle. But, through the ‘involvement’ of Reform Jews in the United States, including the many ARZA members here at Oak Park Temple, Israel and throughout the world, progress is being made. In two short years, the number of Reform congregations in Israel has grown 38%. And, on May 29, 2012 Israeli Reform Rabbi Miri Gold learned on the radio that she will be the first non-orthodox Rabbi to be paid by the State of Israel, under a ruling by the Israel Attorney General. When she heard this historic news, Rabbi Gold said, “This is a big
step for religious pluralism and democracy in Israel. Israeli Jews want religious alternatives and with this decision the State is starting to recognize this reality. There is more than one way to be Jewish, even in Israel.”

At Oak Park Temple, too, there are many ways to be Jewish. Our congregation is composed of people from a variety of backgrounds with many different interests. Our congregation offers a veritable cornucopia of ways to express our communal and individual Jewishness. Whether it is through worship, formal and informal study opportunities, social action initiatives, music, art, havurot, Sisterhood, Bagel Boys, engaging in dialogue about pressing issues of the day, sharing our joys and sorrows, or just schmoozing on Sunday mornings, Oak Park Temple is a community that encourages us to be actively Jewish.

Get connected. Join in the activity. Become a part of the energy. The connections are not in your living room. They are here at Oak Park Temple. All you have to do is show up and get involved. Rabbi Weiss says that that’s the key. I agree with him. 

May you be inscribed for a wonderful, involved New Year.  L’shanah tovah tikatevu…


Jeff Blaine

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