Am Echad weekly update for the week of March 27, 2022
Knesset speaker announced: we hug the Reform movement
Knesset speaker MK Mickey Levy, who is currently visiting the US, planned to visit on Shabbat Temple Emanuel in New York. Mickey, who is in the US since last Sunday, met with senior officials, politicians, community leaders, and paid an official visit to the Capitol Hill. Kan News reported that his visit to the Reform Temple was met with unpleasantness among members of Yamina but no word from the party leaders. In response to the article, Levy's office said that "Knesset Speaker will visit and meet with representatives from all the movements in the Jewish nation and sees importance in it. The State of Israel is the state of all the Jewish people and it's our duty to hug all of our brethren in Jewish communities."
Following the wave of terror attacks in Israel, Levy ended his visit unexpectedly and went back to Israel on Wednesday morning. (Kan)
Reform and Conservative seminaries for rabbis are shrinking
Back in December, the Conservative movement warned its congregations that many of them might find themselves without leaders, as there were not enough available rabbis for all the congregations searching. Now it turns out that the enrollment in their seminaries and to the Reform movement seminaries suffered steep drop-offs in the last decade. Earlier this month, it was reported that the board of directors of the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati would vote next month on a proposal to stop enrolling new rabbinical students, after 147 years. The proposal came following a drop in the enrollment as well as the rapidly declining revenue in the form of dues from Reform congregations.
In an attempt to draw more students, the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, one of 2 Conservative US rabbinical schools, decided to slash its tuition for the next year by nearly 80%.
(Forward, JTA, Times of Israel)
The Wester Wall Deal
Coalition Whip MK Silman: My goal is to keep the Kotel's Orthodox character
Coalition Whip MK Idit Silman rejected the Western Wall deal in an interview to Kan News, and spoke against the Reform movement's war on the site.
"There is a status-quo here that is not about to change," she said in an interview that was recorded at the Western Wall. "All of the attention around this is just demagoguery. This is a house of prayer. There’s a minority — a Reform minority — that is making a lot of noise as though it’s the majority. We need to say the truth: That’s not the case. This government and certainly us — or at least I — need to preserve the Orthodox character of the Western Wall." (Times of Israel)
Brandeis University severed it's ties with MESA over it's vote for BDS
Brandeis University announced this week that they will sever their ties with the Middle East Studies Association. Brandeis followed an array of academic institutions who already did the same, following MESA's vote to support the BDS against Israel. Brandeis announced they are taking this step "as a matter of principle" and because of the threat BDS poses to academic freedom. Following the decision, MESA took off their website the list of institutes who support them. (Algemeiner)