URJ and Hartman Institute Launch Israel Engagement Initiative for Congregations

A new partnership between the Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI) and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) – an Israel Engagement Initiative for Reform congregations across North America – will launch in 2014. 30 congregations are expected to participate in the first stage of this initiative, which will be based on the SHI iEngage curriculum.

Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, President of Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, said, “The goal of this joint initiative with the URJ is to support and enhance Israel engagement work throughout the Reform Movement by creating a new narrative regarding the significance of Israel in Jewish life.”

“Probing beyond the political controversies of the day, the iEngage curriculum helps to reframe the relationship between the State of Israel and Jews worldwide,” Kurtzer said. “We are pleased and honored to partner with the URJ to help bring a quintessentially Jewish values-based vocabulary with which to articulate why Israel can and should be fundamental to their Jewish identities and lives.”

The Israel Engagement Initiative will enable participants to bring a more sophisticated discourse and enriched content into their communities, allowing them to experiment with new concepts, language, and skills for revolutionizing personal and institutional engagement with Israel.

Participants will have access to resources and experts from SHI and the URJ through a series of webinars, consultations and regional gatherings, where they will network with one another, sharing best principles, experiences, and ideas.