Latest news:

Updated Weekly
Please check back here for new articles!


Sunday 25 November 2007

Diaspora not giving enough to Reform

'Diaspora not giving enough to Reform'

The Diaspora's single largest financial supporter of the Reform Movement
in Israel said Tuesday that a lack of familiarity with the Jewish state
has prevented his peers abroad from donating as much as they should.
"I am disappointed with people in the movement for not giving more to
building up Progressive Judaism in Israel," said Gerald Daniel, who
practically single-handedly built both North Tel Aviv's Temple Beit
Daniel and Jaffa's Mishkenot Ruth Daniel center - named after Daniel's
wife, who died last June - for a total of $12 million.
"But I believe that a lot of people who could do a lot for the movement
don't, because they have never really been to Israel, at least not for
an extended period," he said.
Daniel, born in Germany, lived in Israel between 1935 and 1947 before
moving first to France and then to the US, where he made his fortune
from the production of fiber filters for industrial use. He sold his
business in 1986 for "between $10m. and $100m.," according to Daniel.
The 90-year-old philanthropist, who grew up in a modern Orthodox family
in Hamburg, said he had never felt connected to Orthodox rites.
"But to this day, I won't eat anything that is a sheketz [crawling
creatures, such as lobsters and crabs, which are not kosher]."
Rabbi Meir Azari, who heads the Beit Daniel community center and
congregation, pointed out that the Reform Movement in Israel has 26
congregations across the nation, but only six of them own a building.
The rest rent or make temporary arrangements for prayer due to a lack of
"If there were just one or two more people like Mr. Daniel, we would be
able to transform Reform Judaism into a real force in Israel," said
Azari. "As a community leader, one is severely limited without a
permanent building."
Daniel, who served as president of the World Union of Progressive
Judaism between 1980 and 1988, believes that the best way of reaching
members of the Reform Movement in the Diaspora is through their
children, who come to Israel via programs such as birthright-Taglit and
"Hopefully, the children will come from Israel and teach their parents,"
he said.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home