Even though we are far from Israel, we always should strive to be connected, construct a Gesher Chai, a Living Bridge, to her. This has to be done in the most concrete way possible to ensure that we carry out the mitzvah of Ahavat Tzion, love of the Land of Israel.
The best way to know the land is through the people, of course. That’s why I am pleased that Jewish Nevada
(formerly the Federation) is helping us financially to bring Rabbi Yael Karie over for our Congregational Retreat. Rabbi Karie is one of the trailblazing Reform Rabbis in Israel. She has been serving Kibbutzniks down near the Gaza border, bringing creative programming that even joins her Jewish charges with Bedouin and Muslim
counterparts in the area. She is one of the new generation of Israeli born Rabbis who believe that the Reform Movement there will bring Israeli society to a new level. We will enter into a long term partnership with Rabbi Karie as part of the Domim/Alike program, which brings Israeli and American Reform congregations together. One of
the best parts of the program is that it is partially funded by the Israeli government, which understands the mutual benefits of bridge-building.
What will this partnership look like? On the most basic level, we hope Rabbi Karie can visit us from time to time. It might be possible to see her in her natural habitat as well. Jewish Nevada is looking to take a family mission to Israel in June of 2018. By that time, Yael will probably be in a new job with a different congregation (it’s not public yet, but a great opportunity). Between face to face visits, the two of us will also
design programs whereby we can learn jointly with her Israeli congregants and do shared projects over the internet, even working out one-to-one contacts.
There are exciting times ahead and I am pleased that we, as a congregation, will be
able to take some initial steps across The Living Bridge.
Rabbi Malcolm Cohen