It is possible now to reconnect with the dreams of Israel’s founders

Representatives of the Israeli governing coalition and their counterparts from the opposition are meeting now with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog in the wake of the government’s proposed radical legislation impacting fundamental judicial policing and civil rights within Israel and the occupation of the West Bank. That proposed legislation has provoked hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy Israeli protesters to take to the streets in peaceful demonstrations.

Surely we in the international Reform Movement and all who share our core values hope that this moment of deep crisis, even as Israel prepares to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its founding, will provide exciting and forward-looking opportunities to strengthen Israel as a Jewish and a democratic state.

There is a growing chorus of calls for Israel to undertake the challenges of writing a Constitution based upon the principles and aspirations articulated in its Declaration of Independence from 1948. If we are to join in efforts, even from afar, to support this undertaking, we need to reconnect with the dreams of Israel’s founders; and now it is possible to do so.

In 2020, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, through the CCAR Press, published Deepening the Dialogue: Jewish Americans and Israelis Envisioning the Jewish-Democratic State (edited by Rabbi Stanley M. Davids and Rabbi John L. Rosove) with essays by 18 diverse American and Israeli thought leaders (written in English and Hebrew) that address the core challenges confronting Israel as it struggles to be both a Jewish and a democratic state. That vision was embraced clearly and forthrightly within the soaring aspirational language of Megilat HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

As the government of Israel struggles to preserve its democratic and Jewish character, this volume will help us to join the conversation and clarify for ourselves and for others the many complex challenges facing Israel today while offering a clear path forward.

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About the Author
John L. Rosove is Senior Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles. He is a national co-Chair of the Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet of J Street and a past National Chairman of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA). He serves as a member of the Advisory Council of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism. John was the 2002 Recipient of the World Union for Progressive Judaism International Humanitarian Award and has received special commendation from the State of Israel Bonds. In 2013 he was honored by J Street at its Fifth Anniversary Celebration in Los Angeles. John is the author of 3 books - "From the West to the East - A Memoir of a Liberal American Rabbi" (2024), "Why Israel Matters - Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to the Next Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove" (Revised edition 2023), and “Why Judaism Matters – Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove” (2017). All are available at John translated and edited the Hebrew biography of his Great Granduncle – "Avraham Shapira – Veteran of the Haganah and Hebrew Guard" by Getzel Kressel (publ. by the Municipality of Petach Tikvah, 1955). The translation was privately published (2021). John is married to Barbara. They are the parents of two sons - Daniel (married to Marina) and David. He has two grandchildren and he lives in Los Angeles.