The Reform Movement in Israel

by Rabbi Audrey Pollack, April 30, 2017

As we get ready to celebrate Yom Haatzmaut – Israel’s 69th birthday this week, we should be proud of all that our Reform movement is doing to promote equality, democracy, and religious pluralism in Israel.

It is truly amazing to see the growth of IMPJ (Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism – as Reform Judaism is known in Israel) schools, community centers, and synagogues. Reform/Progressive Judaism has also developed important partnerships through the work of IRAC (the Israel Religious Action Center), to build the moral, just, and spiritual society in our Jewish State as we are commanded in the Torah. IRAC’s dedication and perseverance has led to the historic Supreme Court ruling stating that gender segregation on public buses is discrimination, standing up against hate crimes, and working for equal benefits and protections for Progressive Judaism. Through the work of Keren b’Kavod – the Fund for Humanitarian Assistance and Social Responsibility, Progressive Judaism is working to protect the physical and spiritual well-being of the Jewish State. Our movement’s work of tikkun olam – social justice in Israel has changed attitudes, strengthened Israeli democracy, and shifted the political landscape.

The network of Reform/Progressive congregations, schools and community centers now includes:*

  • 50 congregations and community centers throughout Israel
  • 50 kindergartens, 5 elementary schools and two high schools
  • 100 Reform rabbis ordained in Israel
  • 120 Reform rabbis in Israel
  • 500 young people have participated in pre-army programs
  • 500 weddings a year performed by movement-affiliated rabbis
  • 1000 campers participate annually in summer camps programs
  • 1500 bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies were held during 2016 at Israeli Reform congregations
  • 12,000 families are affiliated with Reform/Progressive communities and educational institutions
  • 250,000 (4%) Israelis affiliated most with Reform Judaism based on data collected by the Israel Democracy Institute
  • 2.5 million NIS has been invested by the Israeli government in building Reform synagogues over the last 4 years

Where Progressive Judaism is thriving in Israel, democracy is being strengthened, and the hard work of our movement is showing promise in shaping the future of the State of Israel. Progressive Judaism is dedicated to pursuing freedom, equality, and peace for everyone in Israel and its efforts are leading many Israelis to see first-hand how Progressive Judaism is inspiring a vision of an Israel in which all streams of Judaism enjoy honour, equality, and respect. The promise of Jewish pluralism will allow all Jews to have equal access to our Jewish heritage, and to build a society based on justice, morality, and the prophetic teachings of our heritage.

Yom Huledet Sameach L’Yisrael!

Rabbi Audrey S. Pollack

* Statistics from

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