This week, the World Union for Progressive Judaism’s global conference, Connections 2021, will take place online.
Hundreds of clergy, lay leaders and members of Reform and Progressive Jewish communities around the world will join us for panels and discussions on how to advance our causes and our values.
I will be installed as President of the World Union at the event. I assume the leadership at a critical time, not only for Progressive Judaism, but for our global Jewish family in every place around the world and especially, right now, in Israel.
Much of the planning and work for Connections, our first global gathering in four years, was done long before this month and the start of this current war.
All of that content and vision is still relevant, compelling and important … but it is now no longer enough. That is why we have spent the last week adding programming and prayers to address the current situation and all of its reverberations.
Put simply: at our conference, we will stand with Israel and Israelis.
Every day we absorb the news, and the pain of this war, and we are deeply concerned for the future.
I am currently in Jerusalem and, like everyone here, including our many members and staff, I am scared and fearful of what each day will bring and of what lies ahead.
And in the Diaspora, our members are also suffering. We are seeing an increase in antisemitism in our cities around the world. In the last couple of weeks alone there have been anti-Jewish protests and attacks in London, Paris, Berlin, Toronto, New York and elsewhere.
But how can we, as a global community of Reform and Progressive Jews, respond and react? How can we help in that elusive search for peace and healing?
The answer is that no one person, or one community, has all the answers. We must work together.
At Connections, through live Zoom rooms and the use of other cutting-edge technology, we will have an open space to share experiences, observations and ideas. We will discuss how we can respond and how we can assist each other.
Most of all, we will discuss how Progressive Judaism can be a voice of reason and peace at this time.
We are one, we never give up and, od lo avdah tikvateinu, we never lose our hope.
Rabbi Sergio Bergman is President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. To find out more about WUPJ and the Connections 2021 event, please visit www.wupj.org/connections