Advancing Religious Freedom in Israel

Israeli society is diverse. It includes Jews of all denominations. But the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate holds legally binding power over religious matters. Their near-total control affects marriage, divorce, kosher certification, and so many other areas of daily life. They also have a strong influence on broader issues, such as prayer at the Western Wall (Kotel) and conversion.

Recent polls show that the majority of Israelis want change. Federation is here to help them. Working to ensure Israel remains a place where every Jew — no matter how they identify — can feel at home.

Creating Change from the Ground Up

iRep — the Israel Religious Expression Platform — offers Federations a platform to work together to influence a range of issues to promote meaningful change to the religion-state status quo and advance religious freedom. iRep supports grassroots Israeli-based organizations and Reform, Conservative, and Modern Orthodox programs that tackle critical topics, such as expanding the range of marriage options, backing egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall, and encouraging equal status of open conversion initiatives.

See the latest iRep Pluralism Tracker (May 2020)

Bridging the Gap

Federation’s work on pluralism builds on longstanding relationships between North American and Israeli Jewry. Our leaders have testified at the Knesset more than 30 times since 2012, and our communities have hosted top Israeli officials on U.S. visits. Together, we’re moving toward greater awareness and respect for diversity of Jewish life and practice on both continents.