Remarks from the President

I have been the president of the Canadian Foundation for Masorti Judaism for many years. I have remained at this post for so long because I believe in the Masorti/ Conservative Movement around the world and in particular, Israel. I believe in the idea of conserving and celebrating our historic traditions - Shabbat, the Hagim with their rituals and an awareness of Kashrut with their meanings. I believe in recognizing the relevance of modernity in our lives, and therefore the necessary modification of religious practice. I believe in a governing religious body that credits both majority and minority opinions, permitting our rabbis to choose the correct rulings for his or her shul. I believe that the blending of old and new with a pluralistic approach to Jewish religious practice is consistent with our people’s history, survival and continuity.

I also believe in the specific tenets of the Conservative Movement including Zionism, the belief that Israel is our eternal homeland and the place we can go when in need or want and be welcomed without question.

But Israel is not yet that place.

Ultra-Orthodoxy’s mandate continues to maintain a stranglehold on government religious policy narrowly defining “Who is a Jew.” The internal issues that Israel struggles with today – overseeing of religious sites (e.g. the Kotel), marriage, status of rabbis, adoption and more all flow from this fundamental question. The Masorti Movement in Israel is a force working for compromise instead of extreme positioning. The greater its influence with members of the Knesset, the more likely ultra-Orthodoxy’s hold will weaken and Israel’s internal conflicts will dissipate.

Conservative Judaism is arguably the largest Jewish religious stream in Canada, but its financial support for Masorti in Israel does not reflect its size and potential. Why is it we, as Conservative Jews, are not more passionate about supporting our Movement and its solutions in Israel?

If you know someone who has been adopted, if you know someone who converted or is the child of a convert, if you support an open, welcoming and modern approach to Judaism, if you know that Israel is the only place in this world that you or Jewish friends or family members may not be welcomed as Jews, you must generously support Masorti Judaism.

Our office in Canada is small, two people both working part time. As such, over 80% of your donation goes to Israel to strengthen Masorti. You will of course receive a tax receipt for your entire gift.

Masorti’s 40 year growth trajectory as listed is impressive.

  • Almost 80 Kehillot across Israel
  • The Schechter Institutes for Jewish Studies, Rabbinical School, and TALI Education
  • Over 300 TALI Schools across Israel bringing Jewish education to Jews
  • The Conservative Yeshiva
  • Kibbutz Hannaton and the Hannaton Educational Centre including Institute for Jewish Leadership, Pre- and Post-Army programs, and educational programs for Diaspora teens
  • Marom Young Adult and Student Organization
  • NOAM National Youth Movement
  • Garinim: Garin members devote a year to serving the community. The Garin members also have their own educational program, overseen by experienced NOAM staff.
  • Jewish Pluralism Watch
  • Adraba: Shirley Lowy Centre for Children & Youth with Disabilities
  • B’nei Mitzvah for Children with Disabilities
  • Camp Ramah-NOAM with year-round programs
  • Women’s Study Days
  • Religious Affairs Bureau
  • And More...

With your support and that of Conservative Jews everywhere we will continue this growth. With greater numbers we will obtain government support for pluralistic religious practice and make Israel a place that all Jews are welcome.

Please join those already committed. As a Conservative Jew, you owe it to yourself, your Movement and every Jew not treated equally under the law in Israel.

Toda Raba!

Best,
Ron

Ron Hoffman
President, Canadian Foundation for Masorti Judaism