Shutafut, meaning “partnership” in Hebrew, is a project of the Joint Israel Commission (JIC). Its mission is twofold: to inform and to connect.
Shutafut seeks to inform Reconstructionists worldwide about remarkable organizations in Israel that may interest people in the movement. In addition, it seeks to identify ways that congregations, rabbis, and individuals across the movement can connect with these organizations if they wish.
The Joint Israel Commission of the Reconstructionist movement held its Shutafut launch event on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. A second Shutafut showcase event was held during the movement’s Convention in March 2022. Videos of both events are here below:
What kinds of organizations will be featured and who is selecting them?
Members of the Shutafut working group of the JIC have undertaken to research and select organizations. In addition to encountering these organizations through the movement’s various social media platforms and newsletters, you will also be able to browse all the selected organizations on the Shutafut web page of the Reconstructing Judaism website.
Shutafut seeks to highlight a variety of Israeli organizations, with special attention to those doing impactful work in the areas of arts and culture; ecology; peacebuilding; religious pluralism; human rights; and progressive Jewish religious life. The profile of each featured organization will include a summary of its purpose and work, as well as information about how rabbis, educators, and congregational leaders can connect or partner with them if they so choose.
What is the purpose of this project?
Israel is an intensely complex society of abundant activism, creativity, and innovation, much of which goes unnoticed and thus remains inaccessible to the diaspora Jewish community. Shutafut will help Reconstructionists get to know about some of the people and groups involved in these endeavors, and it will stimulate ideas for creative partnerships and programs in our movement’s congregations and in the various settings outside the movement where many Reconstructionist rabbis serve.
One important disclaimer:
Shutafut, the JIC, Reconstructing Judaism, and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association do not necessarily endorse any of the groups included in this project.
There may be aspects of featured groups that do not align perfectly with the beliefs and values of the Reconstructionist movement. You can be certain that any featured group has captured the enthusiasm of some members of the JIC, and that the JIC as a whole has approved its inclusion. Nevertheless, inclusion in this project does not equal endorsement.
Kehillat Mevakshei Derech was founded by students of Rabbi Mordechai Kaplan in 1962 in Jerusalem as an independent community (congregation) with an egalitarian and open approach to Judaism. In 1999 the Kehillah joined the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism. Our community has a deep belief in Jewish religion and tradition, and a commitment to humanistic and democratic values.
The TALI Education Fund provides Jewish curricular resources, professional development for teachers, and experiential education programs to over 65,000 students and 3,000 educators in over 300 secular public schools and pre-schools all over Israel. TALI fills a critical gap in Israeli public education, guiding teachers and principals in their roles as Jewish Educators in a secular public school system, nurturing a pluralistic Jewish identity in Israel’s next generation. Direct engagement with the whole community to create larger circles of impact is at the heart of TALI’s current strategic effort to meet changing needs of school communities and of Israeli society at large. TALI does this by providing additional Jewish Education resources for the families and communities.
BINA: The Jewish Movement for Social Change is an Israeli-born movement combining Jewish pluralism and social action. BINA aims to advance democracy, pluralism and justice in Israel and the Jewish world through limud (Jewish study), ma’ase (social action) and kehilla (community-building), emphasizing Jewish culture and values of tikkun olam (repairing the world). BINA designs and implements social and educational programs including volunteer and study programs, workshops and seminars, life cycle ceremonies and public events, reaching over 100,000 individuals each year, empowering them to take ownership of their Jewish identity and to make a positive difference in their local community, in Israeli society, in the Jewish world and beyond.
An Israel-Diaspora partnership, Hiddush is committed to the advancement of “freedom of religion and conscience” and “full social and political equality without distinction on the basis of religion”, as promised in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Hiddush believes that fully realizing the promise of religious freedom will strengthen Israel both as a democracy and as a Jewish state and will bolster Jewish Peoplehood and Israel/Diaspora relationships.
AJEEC-NISPED works with communities in transition in Israel and abroad to create equal, inclusive, and flourishing societies. The organization operates in the strategic directions of: Youth (aged 15-25) Leadership Development, Arab-Jewish Partnership, and Community Resilience and Strength. Our 200 employees, 80% from the Negev Arab-Bedouin society, and over 1,500 youth volunteers promote socio-economic development and shared society as a team.
The Sulha Peace Project brings Israelis and Palestinians together in face-to-face, heart-to-heart meetings. We create a Safe Space, fostering humanity, solidarity and dignity which counteract the painful socio-political reality of separation, fear and hatred.
The Hinam Center is a non-political organization seeking to promote social tolerance among all ehtnic groups and sectors of Israeli society. It was awarded the Jerusalem Unity Prize from the President of the State of Israel in 2019.
Peace and Justice
Leket Israel, Israel’s National Food Bank, rescues 40,000,000 lbs. of surplus, high-quality food annually, that otherwise would go to waste, from hundreds of farms, hotels, corporate caterers and IDF army bases. Leket provides the rescued food to over 240 non-profits (NPOs) feeding 200,000 Israelis of all backgrounds each week throughout Israel, including families in need, Holocaust Survivors and the elderly, immigrants, youth at risk, the newly unemployed, and many more.
Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran soldiers who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories. They endeavor to stimulate public debate about the price paid for a reality in which young soldiers face a civilian population on a daily basis, and are engaged in the control of that population’s everyday life. Their work aims to bring an end to the occupation.
Standing Together is the grassroots people’s movement in Israel. It works to bring together Jews and Arabs around an alternative vision for the Israeli society, grounded in the principles of peace, equality, and social justice. We put forward a holistic worldview that identifies the interrelation between the ongoing occupation of Palestinian territories, growing social and economic disparities within Israeli society, the threat of climate change, and attacks by the government on democratic freedoms and Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Women Wage Peace (WWP) was founded in the aftermath of the 2014 Gaza War/Operation Protective Edge and is currently the largest grassroots movement in Israel. WWP exists to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with the inclusion of women from diverse communities within Israel, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The movement is non-partisan and does not support any one particular solution to the conflict; instead, it empowers women from the left, center and right, religious and secular, Jewish, Arab, Druze and Bedouin, young and old, center and periphery, to unite and take the future of this small place into our own hands.