Forward Thinking

A Call for Jewish Tolerance

By Nathan Guttman

Robert A. Cumins/JFNA
Rick Jacobs

Calling on the federation system to join synagogues in a fight against religious discrimination in Israel, Reform leader Rabbi Rick Jacobs aimed to engage the broader Jewish community in the struggle for equality of non-Orthodox Jewish denominations in Israel.

Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, described Israel as “the only democracy that legally discriminates against the majority of Jews who are in the non-Orthodox streams.”

He also spoke out against Israel’s decision not to allow women full access to the Western Wall, its refusal to recognize marriages performed by non-Orthodox rabbis and the discrimination against religious institutions affiliated with the Reform and Conservative movements.

“It is time to end this discrimination once and for all,” Jacobs declared.

While this call for arms is not new in the Reform discourse with Israel, his effort to enlist the federation system in the struggle does represent a new phase in the battle against the Orthodox denomination’s hold on Israel Jewish institutions.

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