Israel Programming 2017-18

Theordor Herzl, a founder of political Zionism, famously said:

“If you will it, it is no dream.”

You are invited to join Rabbi Rachel Timoner and Rabbi Josh Weinberg, president of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (and CBE member), on a year-long engagement with Israel, its land, and its people. Together we will learn about the history of Israel, discuss current issues, and explore our views and concerns about Israel’s past, present, and future. During our year of study and discussion, we will dig into the nature of that dream…and the reality that is Israel today.

The year will culminate with a once in a life time congregational trip to Israel (July 11-23), during which we will engage with key issues facing Israel: seeking peace, religious pluralism, social justice, and democracy. We will also enrich our souls through prayer and study in Jerusalem, Tsfat, and Tel Aviv.

Participants are encouraged to attend as many study sessions as possible in preparation for our incredible trip to Israel!

Israel Dialogue & Study Series
Tuesdays from 7:30-9:30 PM

Our course, which will consist of three, four-week modules (November, January, and April), will trace the timeline of Israel’s history, and the Jewish people’s existence and presence in the Land of Israel from biblical times through today. We will explore the issues of religion, society, culture and identity in Israel, and Israel’s relationship to the Jewish diaspora. We will also listen and learn about Palestinians’ experiences and consider whether Israel has lived up to the aspirations of its Declaration of Independence.

This course will incorporate the Shalom Hartman Institute’s iEngage curriculum which creates a new narrative regarding the significance of Israel for Jewish life. This narrative serves as a foundation for a new covenant between Israel and world Jewry, elevating the existing discourse from a crisis-based focus to one rooted in Jewish values and ideas.

Each session will include an hour of dialogue and discussion led by Rabbi Timoner followed by an hour session of more formal learning led by Rabbi Weinberg. Background readings will be provided prior to each class.

Dates and Topics:
Module א: Israel and the Jewish People – Tracing Our Roots from the Torah to Modernity

Completed November 28

Session 1 – November 7: Our Roots in the Land, Becoming a Nation, and the Babylonian Exile
Session 2 – November 14: The Return to Zion and 2nd Temple Times
Session 3 – November 21: Israel from the Rabbinic Period Through the Middle Ages
Session 4 – November 28: Emancipation, Enlightenment and the Bridge to Modernity

Module ב: From Zionism to Statehood

Beginning January 16
Tuesdays from 7:30-9:30 PM

Session 5 – January 16: Introduction to Zionism
Session 6 – January 23: The Birth of the “New Jew”
Session 7 – January 30: The Yishuv and Mandate Palestine
Session 8 – February 6: What Is Reform Zionism? Issues of Religion and State

Module ג: “Statehood”

Module 3: Beginning April 10
Tuesdays from 7:30-9:30 PM

Session 9 – April 10: The 1948 War and its Aftermath
Session 10 – April 17: 1967 – The War that Changed Israel and the Middle East
Session 11 – April 24: Tying it All Together – Challenges and Opportunities in Contemporary Israeli Society
Session 12 – May 1: The Future – What Is Our Role?


CBE Member Registration  NON Member Registration


Congregational Israel Trip
Travel to Israel: July 11-23, 2018

On our trip we will continue to explore the themes and topics that we have studied and discussed during the year. We will travel throughout Israel to meet with thought leaders, journalists, politicians, and cultural and religious leaders as we engage with key issues facing Israel: seeking peace, religious pluralism, social justice and democracy. Our itinerary will include Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Galilee, Tsfat, and the Golan Heights. The trip will be coordinated through ARZA.

View Itinerary

Trip Highlights:
  • Praying at the Kotel with Women of the Wall for Rosh Chodesh services
  • Meeting with people living in the neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem
  • Traveling in the Palestinian Territories and the West Bank
  • Celebrating two Shabbats at Israeli Reform congregations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
  • Meeting with leaders of the Israel Religious Action Center and the Israeli Reform Movement
  • Studying at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem
  • Traveling in the Golan Heights and learning about current security issues due to the civil war in Syria
  • Exploring Jewish spirituality and prayer in Tsfat
  • Observing Tisha B’av (the Ninth of Av) in Jerusalem