Tikkun Olam [repairing the world] has been a core value of Reform Judaism throughout its history.
Our responsibility for social action and social justice and our desire to heal the world continue to lead us forward into the future.
On Sunday afternoon, Connections 2013 will give you the opportunity for a few hours not only to hear and learn about Tikkun Olam, but to actually engage in hands on Tikkun Olam projects run by the IMPJ congregations, Tnua (IMPJ Movement) members and IRAC. Get prepared to be inspired by your WUPJ family in Israel!
In addition to these activities we will be offering a number of field visits that will allow us to experience and get involved, exploring various topics and issues in depth.
Ganei Haim - The IMPJ preschool at Beit Shmuel
Visit the IMPJ pre-school class, located in the Beit Shmuel–Mercaz Shimshon campus. The preschool opened a class for children of refugees and helps support the integration of these children into Israeli society. Take part in a hands-on activity with the children and hear from kindergarten staff and Kol Haneshama volunteers about the difficulties facing refugees and asylum seekers, the challenges in working with this population and how to integrate them into our own society. Experience how they are "Being the Difference" where very few dared to.
Keren B'kavod (Dignity fund)
Almost one fifth of Israel's population lives below the poverty line. Understand the reality behind the numbers and statistics whilst experiencing hands on the struggle many families have in making ends meet – plan, buy and pack food packages for needy families with Keren B’Kavod (Dignity Fund), the humanitarian aid program of the IMPJ. This project will help you understand some of the challenges facing Israeli society, how the Reform Movement in Israel is responding to them, and the challenges of poverty and hunger in Israel.
Siyyur Ve'siach - Tour and dialogue
Engage in the Arab Israeli conflict with Siyyur Ve’Siach (Tour and Dialogue), Beit Shmuel – Mercaz Shimshon’s unique training project offering Israel's Border Patrol soldiers and officers the tools needed to deal with the daily complexities and challenges resulting from the delicate political situation in the city.
Walk through a highly diverse neighborhood that lies on the dividing line between East and West Jerusalem. Among the neighborhood’s residents are Jews, Muslims and Christians, poor and affluent, religious and secular, Ashkenazim and Sephardim. Program participants will walk the neighborhood streets and engage with local residents and situations, then discuss issues of social values and diversity. In the process you will gain a greater understanding of the challenges facing our society and the complexity and fragility in piecing this together.
The Ethiopian journey and our challenge
Journey in the footsteps of our Ethiopian brothers and sisters and discuss the challenges we face as an Israeli society at Mt. Herzl and the Museum of Ethiopian Jewry. Mt. Herzl, the dramatic and moving site where many of Israel's leaders are buried, is also the story of Israel’s past and present. The museum is situated within the military cemetery which tells the story of our tears, fears and successes. It showcases the moving story of the Ethiopian Jews who suffered in Ethiopia and Sudan on their long and difficult journey to Israel – the Promised Land. The Ethiopian section recognizes these brave immigrants, telling their unique story in words and images. Even if this isn't your first visit to Mt. Herzl, this is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in society's challenges from a different perspective.
Travel on a "segregated" bus line, ensuring women's right to travel freely and equally. Meet Anat Hoffman, director of IRAC, and the IRAC volunteers to discuss the characteristics of this phenomenon in Israel. You will then ride to a neighborhood of northern Jerusalem to board a "segregated" bus. The bus ride itself should take about 45 minutes. The ride will be in groups of 8-10 passengers and will be accompanied by IRAC staff and volunteers. If you want to experience first hand the challenges, emotions and complexity of the battle for egalitarianism in Israel – this ride is for you.
Changing the face of Israeli society with Yozma
Meet the volunteers of Yozma (Modi’in) and their inspiring programs of volunteering at Eden House, a home for children who are developmentally challenged; share a “Shoulder for Families” – a program initiated by Yozma that offers support for single parent families, and learn about "Yazman" - a free tutoring center that aims to bring equal educational opportunities to underprivileged families and bridge the gaps between different sectors of society. Be inspired by local initiatives that help reshape a civic community!
Re-discover the meaning of giving at Mevasseret Tzion
Mevasseret Tzion is a community with a diverse range of programs that aims "to be the Difference". Experience Bank Hazman (the "Time Bank"), the community's groundbreaking flagship social action program where people from different socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds exchange services and their time, creating a human network of givers and receivers on the basis of equality. Take home with you the tools to revolutionize the way you look at giving and how you can "Be the Difference". Also meet the inspiring teenagers leading the unique Teens Teach Trope (TTT) in which teens become teachers for Bar/Bat Mitzvah youngsters – an innovative way to involve your teenagers in their synagogue and community, as well as attract the unaffiliated. In addition, discuss integration and learn how you can embrace the weaker amongst you in learning of the special program services and opportunities the community offers families of children with special needs. Engage with the "You & I" workshop participants. A joint passage to the world of womanhood, Judaism and inner discoveries, a meeting with mother and daughter: the passage from childhood to adulthood. Explore the special experience of a young girl (bat mitzvah) who is called to the Torah as well as the shared mother-daughter experience. Learn about a fascinating precedent: For the first time, a woman rabbi is amongst the members of Mevasseret Zion's Rabbinical Council – A meeting with Rabbi Alona Lisitza.
Separation and integration- a moral dilemma at Tzur Hadassah
Congregation Tzur Hadassah welcomes WUPJ conference participants to join us in a tour and project focusing on the issues of co-existence and ecology. Tzur Hadassah is located a half hour outside of Jerusalem in the forested Judean Hills and sits just within the green line, its closest neighbors being Beitar Ilit, an ultra-Orthodox city, and Husan, a large Palestinian village, both on the other side of the green line. We will meet with a representative of Friends of the Earth Middle East, a unique organization that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmentalists for cooperative efforts to protect our shared environmental heritage, who will lead us on a walking tour to understand the issues, and we will participate in a hands-on project to create objects/a structure that will promote co-existence and environmental appreciation and protection.