Greeting of the Co-Chairs of CONNECTIONS 2017
It is an absolute honor and pleasure to welcome you back to Jerusalem for CONNECTIONS 2017, the international conference of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. For thousands of years, the Jewish people have returned to Jerusalem to further their holy work and this conference is no exception.
The theme of this CONNECTIONS is “Milestones & Innovation,” which seeks to look back at numerous accomplishments of our movement and the Jewish people while simultaneously celebrating innovation in our communities, against the backdrop of “start-up nation.” 2017 is an important year for us. It marks 200 years since the foundation of progressive Judaism in Germany, 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, 90 years since the establishment of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, 50 years since the Six Day War, and 20 years of the TaMaR young adult movement, just to name a few. The conference will elevate new progressive congregations around the world, innovative models of engagement, developments in our important work in Israel, and much more.
CONNECTIONS will focus on three facets rooted in the long-term strategy of the World Union for Progressive Judaism: Reform Judaism & Reform Zionism, Community Building & Leadership Development, and Engaging the Next Generation. We also recognize we live today in an unusual global political climate. We are welcoming experts who will bring to the forefront how Jews around the world react to a quickly changing world.
We are excited that this conference is already proving to be one of the most diverse conferences yet with representatives from over twenty countries, students from each progressive seminary, an unprecedented number of young leaders, and a record number of first-time CONNECTIONS attendees.
Whether this is your first CONNECTIONS, or tenth, we look forward to seeing you in Jerusalem as we come together to celebrate global progressive Judaism through extraordinary gala events, high-level think tanks, eye-opening panels, hands-on workshops, interactive site visits, and meaningful worship.
Sonja Guentner Andrew Keene Yair Lootsteen
Co-Chair, Germany Co-Chair, USA Co-Chair, Israel