The Jewish Funders Network has released the latest edition of its Greenbooks, a series of guides written for funders to maximize the impact of their giving. The second volume is devoted to Hitchadshut Yehudit, (Jewish Renewal) in Israel.
The Greenbook comes at a time when more Israelis are seeking a deeper spiritual connection to Judaism while still living an essentially secular life.
“The issue of Judaism in the state of Israel is critical, because it will determine the character of the Jewish state. A quiet revolution is taking place by which Israelis are reclaiming their Jewish heritage that once was considered a fiefdom of the ultra-Orthodox establishment,” said Andrés Spokoiny, JFN President and CEO. “This guide will help funders understand this new field and make informed decisions. Smart funding is always important, especially in an area as critical and fraught as this one.”
As the Greenbook notes, self-identified secular Jews are increasingly taking ownership of their own Jewish identities, re-appropriating traditional Jewish texts, and incorporating them into non-Orthodox Jewish life. In addition, the boundaries of identity are blurring and being replaced by multiple, hybrid, Israeli identities, superseding the labels of ‘religious’ and ‘secular’ which have for so long polarized Israeli society.
Hitchadshut Yehudit refers to programs that offer Jewish Israelis opportunities for such activities as learning, cultural expression, identity exploration, and social action. All are explicitly based on Jewish values, texts and traditions, and infused with pluralism and autonomy.
Each Greenbook focuses on a specific funding area in the Jewish community, and outlines issues, strategies and approaches funders can use as they seek to effect lasting and meaningful change.
This edition highlights the multi-faceted emerging field of Hitchadshut Yehudit, which:
- Reflects the evolution of Jewish Israeli identities in the context of contemporary Zionism and Jewish sovereignty
- Encompasses hundreds of programs and organizations with diverse political and ideological commitments
- Raises a host of contentious questions, including what Jewish life and identity should resemble in Israel and how Jewish renewal can foster dialogue between Israeli and Diaspora Jews