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Reconstructionist Judaism has long viewed Israel as an essential element of Jewish peoplehood. 

Collection of contemporary images from Israel

Starting with little, what Israelis have achieved in just a few generations is astonishing. Israel has absorbed millions of Jews seeking refuge; revived the Hebrew language; shared breakthrough agricultural, medical, computer science, and communications technologies with the world; created the freest press in the Middle East; and maintained a parliamentary democracy with peaceful transitions of power from one election to the next. This small country provides a safe haven for Jews in a world that, 75 years ago, was often either hunting them or else denying them entry as refugees. 

Many of us living in Diaspora Jewish communities have spent time in Israel and have a visceral connection to the people, the land, and the society. Many of us also have family and friends there. Collectively, we’ve grown up with Israel, followed its triumphs and tragedies, felt both pride and disappointment in its actions, and tracked the news from Israel day to day. Israel can be complex, raw, engaging, controversial, maddening, and inspiring – sometimes all in the same day. Home now to about half the world’s Jews, Israel is deep in our hearts.  

Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (1881-1983), the founder of Reconstructionism, supported a Zionism grounded in three core values: Jewish survival, Jewish cultural and religious renaissance, and Jewish ethical nationhood. He promoted a vision in which two vibrant centers of Jewish life – Israel and the North American diaspora – would productively and fruitfully support, shape, and when needed, give feedback and critique to each other. Today the Reconstructionist movement includes congregations in Europe and South America as well, but the basic principles remain the same.  

Finally, we are a movement of people who welcome the complexities, questions, concerns, dilemmas, debates, and critiques that come with the territory of caring deeply about a country and its society. Our love for Israel has not blinded us to the Israeli Occupation, to its daily impacts on the Palestinian people, or to the need for a just and lasting peaceful resolution to the conflict. For several decades now, the primary central organizations of the movement have advocated for a peace agreement that will protect Israel’s right to a secure existence, and that will also fulfill the legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian people and guarantee the human and civil rights of all involved.  

We hope you’ll explore the Israel section of our website with eyes that are open to both Israel’s wonders and its flaws, and with an appreciation of our tradition’s love of presenting multiple viewpoints. Also, be sure to visit the Israel/Palestine section of our website, Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations

Israeli Jewish Renaissance

Recently in Israel, there has been an exciting new trend toward Jewish engagement among Israeli Jews who do not identify as Orthodox. This movement strives to connect a renewed interest in Jewish learning, celebration, and community building with values like democracy, tolerance, diversity, pluralism, and general concern for Israeli society and its future. We call this the Israeli-Jewish Renaissance. This Facebook community is the first stage in a larger project sponsored by RRC that will bring the sounds, words, images and ideas of the Israeli-Jewish renaissance to progressive North American Jews, and create a gateway for further understanding and collaboration between these two important groups.

Gathering of tour group in Israel

Israel Experts

Plan an Israel tour that goes beyond the basics with Israel Experts, in partnership with the Reconstructionist movement!

More on Israel

News and Blogs

The Impossible Dream? Reconstructionist Rabbi Works to Make Israeli-Palestinian Peace a Reality

Rabbi Donna Kirshbaum has never been one to shy away from a challenge. She has operated a dairy farm in the Missouri Ozarks, eked out a living as a classical cellist, enrolled in the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in her 50s and started a new life in Israel in her 60s. Now a member of Israel’s largest grassroots movement, she is pursuing a goal that’s eluded the world for a century: a negotiated political settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

News and Blogs

Pride Month, Israel, and Us

A personal message from Rabbi Deborah Waxman

News and Blogs

Joint Israel Commission Meets at Convention

The Joint Israel Commission gathered in person at the Reconstructing Judaism convention. Rabbi Maurice Harris reports on their activities and next steps. 

News and Blogs

Israel Mission Trip, March 2018: A Travelogue

When we began our Israel journey together in Tel Aviv on March 7th, we were 25 people representing 11 Reconstructionist communities who travelled there on the promise to go places and meet people that even veteran Israel travelers hadn’t visited or met. And on that promise, the Reconstructing Judaism Israel Mission Trip delivered.


Israel at 70: State of Hope, Conflict, and Possibilities

Reflections on Israel as it turns 70

News and Blogs

Remembering How To Listen: A Reconstructionist Trip to Israel

Jennifer Ferentz recently returned from the first-ever Reconstructionist Birthright trip to Israel. She reflects on her experiences. 


Pregnant in Israel

During her first pregnancy, Rabbi Amy Klein shared this reflection on the experience of pregnancy in Israel.

News and Blogs

The First Reconstructionist Birthright Journey

A participant on the first Reconstructionist Birthright trip reflects on her journey.


Lekh Lekha and the Promised Land: Text Study

This text study, prepared by Rabbi Nina Mandel, contains pairs of passages examining biblical and contemporary notions of what “Promised Land” means, and how it has been interpreted by Jewish thinkers over the millennia.


A Zionism Worth Reconstructing

Klein examines how experiencing the contradictions of Israeli life can help young North American Jews feel connected to Israel.


Where Next?

This 2004 report of the movement’s Israel Policies Task Force emerged from a movement-wide process that solicited thoughtful input from Reconstructionists across the country. While much has changed over the past decade-plus, most of this earlier report’s framework and recommendations are still compelling and sound.


Values, Middle East Politics and the Future of Israel

Robert Prybutok critiques an idealistic approach to Israel's negotiations with its neighbors, and argues for tough-minded pragmatism in the service of ideals.


Finding a New Narrative

Rabbi Toba Spitzer describes two competing narrative frames about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the need for new thinking to transcend them. 


On Occupied Ground

Rabbi Rebecca Lillian reflects on the moral hazard posed by Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.


A History of Reconstructionist Zionism

Rabbi David Teutsch reviews an 80-year span of Reconstructionist approaches to Zionism and the State of Israel.


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