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Voices of Israel


In response to the terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, 2023, we have compiled resources to learn more and support Israel during this difficult time. 


Israel Solidarity Mission with Rabbi WENDI GEFFEN

Sunday, October 27 – Friday, November 1, 2024

Registration deadline: September 15, 2024


Join Rabbi Wendi Geffen for a solidarity mission to Israel. Along with partners at BJBE and Chicago Sinai Congregation, and led by our friend and expert educator Mike Hollander, we will engage in acts of service, pay our respects at memorial sites, and learn about Israeli resilience during this challenging time. Trip highlights include visits to Hostages Square in Tel Aviv, the Nova Festival memorial, and Magen David Adom headquarters, as well as hearing stories of resilience from members of Kibbutz Re’im, an Israeli Bedouin activist, and members of Brothers and Sisters in Arms, leaders of the 2023 protest movement. This mission is a special opportunity to share our empathy and find strength in solidarity.


Learn more and register:


Information session with Rabbi Geffen on Zoom

Monday July 8, 2024 , 8:00–9:00 pm 

Register for an information session to learn more about the Israel Solidarity Mission:

Israel at War: How Did We Get Here (Session 1)



Professor Paul Liptz unpacks history that preceded the October 7, 2023, attack on Israel, exploring the impact of the 1967 Six Day War and the October 6, 1973, Yom Kippur War on Israeli society; the history of the Gaza strip and development of Hamas; and Israel’s internal tensions in recent years.

Israel at War: How Did We Get Here (Session 2)



Professor Paul Liptz unpacks history that preceded the October 7, 2023, attack on Israel, exploring the impact of the 1967 Six Day War and the October 6, 1973, Yom Kippur War on Israeli society; the history of the Gaza strip and development of Hamas; and Israel’s internal tensions in recent years.

Conversation with Israeli Basketball Star, Jared Armstrong



Hear from Israeli professional basketball player Jared Armstrong about his experience in Israel during the Hamas attack on October 7th and the following week. This conversation took place on November 15th, 2023 at NSCI via Zoom.

The Issue of Reasonableness: For Israel and For Us



In her sermon from our Kabbalat Shabbat service on July 28, 2023, Rabbi Geffen shares reflections on the current situation in Israel and how we, Diaspora Reform Jews and Jewish families, might choose to understand and respond.

Darkness and Light



On October 13, 2023, Rabbi Wendi Geffen delivered a heartfelt sermon, “Darkness and Light,” in response to the situation in Israel, reflecting on the ways we can still bring light into this world.

Israel Update with Mike Hollander



Relevant Resources

Past Programming

ON-THE-GROUND Conversations about ISRAEL with Renowned Israel Educator Mike Hollander

The first two sessions look at how, in its early years, the State of Israel created sacred space on Mt. Herzl in Jerusalem as well as a series of three Holy Days to commemorate and remember the Shoah (Yom HaShoah ve'ha'Gevurah), the heavy price of our fallen soldiers (Yom HaZikaron), and to celebrate independence (Yom Ha'Atzmaut). The third session explores the Israeli political system is a fool-proof explanation of how the complicated, but different, Israeli political system works. The fourth session explores how, in ancient times, our prophets engaged in the four "W's" warning our ancestors. Today’s "prophets" create street art to communicate society’s issues.  This virtual tour will explore some of the neighborhoods of south Tel Aviv–Jaffa to explore the street art and gain an understanding of the issues in Israeli society.


Recordings: Session 1 Session 2 Session 3 Session 4

From Exile to Start-Up Nation: A Six-Part History of Zionism and Israel with Renowned Israel Educator Mike Hollander

This series is based on the premise that “Zionism is the most successful revolution of the twentieth century.” It begins with the precursors of Zionism in the second half of the nineteenth century, continues through the founding of Political Zionism at the First Zionist Congress in 1897, and then looks at the 50 years of building the pre-state Jewish community (Yishuv) in Palestine. The remaining sessions explore the major challenges, successes and failures, wars and governments of Israel through its 73 years of independence. 


Recordings: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6

The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream Has Obstructed the Path to Peace
Rabbi Greene in discussion with Dr. Einat Wilf

Listen to Rabbi Greene in conversation with Dr. Einat Wilf on her groundbreaking book, a bestseller in Israel that is now out in English. In The War of Return, Wilf and Adi Schwartz argue that for the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians to end with peace, Palestinians must come to terms with the fact that there will be no “right of return.” Schwartz and Wilf—both liberal Israelis supportive of a two-state solution—reveal the origins of the idea of a right of return, and explain how UNRWA—the very agency charged with finding a solution for the refugees—gave in to Palestinian, Arab, and international political pressure to create a permanent “refugee” problem. They argue that this Palestinian demand for a “right of return” has no legal or moral basis and make an impassioned plea for the U.S., the UN, and the EU to recognize this fact, for the good of Israelis and Palestinians alike.


Click here to view the recording.

Hinei Mah Tov: Israeli & American Jews' Views of Each Other and How Liberal Jewish Movements in Israel Have Made Progress, Faced Opposition, and Cooperated

With speaker presentations and speaker-led breakout groups following 

This innovative program features Rabbi Naamah Kelman and Prof. Elan Ezrachi who share their life journeys and talk about the change they have seen and made happen in Israel in their 45 years together as a couple and the progress made by Reform and Conservative Judaism in Israel, including collaboration with unconventional Orthodox leaders and institutions.


Click here to view to recording.


Rabbi Kelman, Dean of the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem, was the first woman to be ordained by HUC in Israel. Born in New York, she has lived in Israel since 1976 where she has been a leader in Jewish education and Progressive and Pluralistic Judaism for Israelis. Professor Ezrachi was born in Jerusalem and is a Jerusalem-based consultant in the areas of Jewish Peoplehood education and Israel engagement and the author of Awakened Dream: 50 Years of Complex Unification of Jerusalem. He has served in various executive and teaching roles in Israeli Jewish educational institutions.

First Reform Rabbi to Serve in the Knesset, Gilad Kariv, on American Jewry and Israel

Hear from Rabbi Gilad Kariv, the first Reform rabbi to serve in the Knesset. Previously, Rabbi Kariv was the President and CEO of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) and served as the Associate Director of the Israel Religious Action Center. MK Kariv spoke about the current state of the relationship between American Jewry and Israel.


Click here to view the recording.

Fri, June 21 2024 15 Sivan 5784