The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) is Israel’s liberal Jewish religious movement, and a constituent member of the World Union of Progressive Judaism. As such, the IMPJ offers a renewed expression of Judaism and Jewish identity.
A Progressive Approach to Judaism
The movement offers a progressive belief system encompassing traditional as well as contemporary values, such as a Jewish lifestyle that integrates rituals conducted in a fully egalitarian manner; the freedom, within the framework of Jewish culture, to choose and question; the centrality of Tikun Olam and the pursuit of social justice; and a revitalized commitment to Jewish tradition.
The IMPJ strives to offer a sense of belonging to a community, as well as a spiritual center for all ages, enabling its members to reclaim their inner Jewish identity while retaining the freedom to choose their individual lifestyles.
The History of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism
Judah Leon Magnes, a leader of the American Reform movement and one of the first Reform rabbis to settle in Israel, was the first chancellor of the Hebrew University, and its president between the years of 1935 and 1948. In 1938, Rabbi Meir Elk, a graduate of Germany’s liberal Breslau Rabbinical Seminary, established the Leo Baeck School in Haifa. Today it is one of the most successful educational institutions in the country. Israel’s first Reform synagogue, the Har El congregation in Jerusalem, was founded in 1958.
In 1973, the World Union for Progressive Judaism moved its headquarters to Jerusalem, establishing progressive Judaism’s international presence in Israel, a move that reflected its commitment to build a strong movement in the Land of Israel. Yahel, the first Reform kibbutz, was established in 1976, and Kibbutz Lotan was founded in 1983 – both in the Arava (40 miles north of Eilat). Har Halutz, a Progressive settlement in the Galilee, was inaugurated in 1985.
The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism Today
Today the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism has 30 congregations throughout Israel, including a presence in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa. The movement’s growing membership includes immigrants and native Israelis alike. Helping secure the future of the IMPJ is a network of schools, educational and community centers, a youth movement, Hebrew and English Beit Midrash study programs, and the degree-granting and informal programs at the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion.
New members are welcome to join the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism. For more information, call +972-2-620-3448.
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