Last week, an official joint project was launched between the Shalom Hartman Institute (SHI) created by the late Rabbi David Hartman, who passed away in February, and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). The project is “an Israel Engagement Initiative” for Reform congregations across North America, beginning with 30 selected congregations in what is being billed as the first stage of the initiative.
The Hartman Institute has been developing the "iEngage curriculum" for the past four years, and has brought it to more than 400 synagogues of various streams of Judaism, explaining the effort is meant “to respond to growing feelings of disenchantment and disinterest toward Israel among an ever-increasing number of Jews worldwide by creating a new narrative regarding the significance of Israel for Jewish life.”
Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, president of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, said the goal of the partnership with the URJ was “to help bring a quintessentially Jewish values-based vocabulary with which to articulate why Israel can and should be fundamental to their Jewish identities and lives." The program does so by taking a “Beit Midrash” study approach to the most troublesome issues in Israel, such as religion and state questions, prisoner exchanges, and settlements.
Read more at Haaretz.