Israel’s High Court backs Progressive Judiasm

May 21, 2009 by J-Wire Staff
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In a landmark decision, the High Court of Israel has levelled the Government funding programs for Orthodox and Progressive Jewry…and raising the possibility of Australian Progressive Jews planning a wedding ceremony in the Holy Land.

Steve Denenberg

Steve Denenberg

Up until now, the Israeli Government offered no funding to the Progressive movement. The building of synagogues and the employment of Rabbis had to be funded externally through the world-wide Progressive movement.

The Executive Director of Australia’s Union for Progressive Judiasm, Steve Denenberg, told J-Wire: “The decision of the High Court to offer the same funding to the Progressive movement as it does to orthodox Jewry means that Israelis who have embraced Progressive Judiasm are now recognised.”

In terms of funding, Denenberg added that the Australian Progressive movement would now be in a position to channel more funds through the UIA’s Progressive Trust for refugee causes. He said: “This decision has opened up a more authentic spread of Judiasm and will offer Israelis more options, hopefully including Progressive marriage ceremonies.”

Rabbi Yosse Feldman, President of the Rabbinical Council of NSW said: “Overall, I don’t believe it is a positive move. But let’s hope it means that Israelis will find religion less threatening and perhaps it might even represent the first step forward on the road to Orthodoxy for some.”

Rabbi Jeffrey Kamins, spiritual leader of Sydney’s Progressive congregation at the Emanuel Synagogue said: “When Israel was founded as a Nation, it was clearly stated that religious freedom was to be available to all…it’s nice to see this happening now albeit 61 years down the line.”

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