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Reform movement says short dollar is killing its growth in Israel

The Reform Movement today sent out a mass email appeal seeking $500,000 to help make up a shortfall in its budget for Israeli program.

The movement has lost 30 percent of its budget because of the falling dollar, said the email signed by the Reform hierarchy – and is soliciting one-time gifts of $500.

Here’s the email

July 23, 2008 | 20 Tamuz 5768

As leaders of Reform Jewry we need your help to save the future of the Reform Movement in Israel.

With the dramatic fall of the U.S. dollar in the last few months, the IMPJ, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, finds itself in a financial crisis. Through no fault of its own, the IMPJ has 2 million fewer shekels than originally budgeted, representing more than 30% of its funding. To stay afloat, the IMPJ has had to lay off half its staff and has drastically cut back on its operations.

The timing could not be worse. Never before in Israel’s history has the Reform Movement been so strong and vibrant. With almost thirty congregations now flourishing in Israel, its own Reform youth movement, two kibbutzim, the Har Chalutz community in Northern Israel and its own Religious Action Center, the Reform Movement has become, according to a recent Israeli survey, the movement that 34% of all Israelis identify with the most (compared to 23% for the Orthodox).

This is why we need your help. Unprecedented in our Movement’s history, every major North American Reform organization is working together to save the IMPJ. As chairpersons and presidents of these organizations we have pledged to raise $500,000 over the next six weeks to help the IMPJ over its immediate financial crisis.

As someone equally concerned about our Reform Movement in North America and throughout the world, we are asking you to quickly respond to this email with your own gift that will be immediately sent to underwrite IMPJ’s budget and to alleviate IMPJ’s financial crisis.

Please consider a one-time gift of $500. Please take a moment to make this gift online at our secure site: www.urj.org/israel/impj. Canadian residents click here for a tax receipt form. Together, we can secure the years of hard work and the solid foundation that has been laid for the Reform Movement in Israel.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Peter Weidhorn
Chairman
Union for Reform Judaism

Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie
President
Union for Reform Judaism

Barbara Friedman
Chair
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institue of Religion

Rabbi David Ellenson
President
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institue of Religion

Rabbi Peter Knobel
President
Central Conference of American Rabbis

Rabbi Steven Fox
Executive Vice President
Central Conference of American Rabbis

Steve Bauman
Chairman
World Union for Progressive Judaism

Rabbi Uri Regev
President
World Union for Progressive Judaism

Rabbi Robert Orkand
President
Association of Reform Zionists of America

Rabbi Andrew Davids
Executive Director
Association of Reform Zionists of America

Joan Garson
President
ARZA Canada

Rabbi Sharon L. Sobel
Executive Director
ARZA Canada

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