Good news for the Masorti Movement: an important survey conducted by the Jewish People Policy Institute shows a significant rise in support for Masorti (and Reform and other more liberal streams) among Israelis. The study has garnered wide attention in the Jewish press, including the Times of Israel, Haaretz and the New York Jewish Week, which interviewed Masorti Foundation Executive Director, Gideon Aronoff for its October 16th edition,
The JPPI study showed that 12-13 percent of Jewish Israelis (around 800,000 people) identify with the more liberal streams of Judaism. Five years ago, that number was around 7 percent. This represents a near doubling of support in a short period!
As well, the survey reflects the growing frustration with Israel’s ultra-Orthodox hegemony, and how Orthodox-mandated services are no longer a unifying force in the country. More evidence, as reported in a recent Times of Israel article that “a majority of Israelis are interested in weddings outside the Chief Rabbinate’s auspices, according to the 2017 Hiddush poll…and 2/3 support a separation of religion and state.”
The New York Jewish Week quotes Gideon Aronoff saying “that the movement towards employing non-Orthodox rabbis for life-cycle events shows “something of critical importance: Under the most adverse conditions possible — an ultra-Orthodox monopoly and millions of tax dollars going to build up Orthodox communities and institutions alone — Israelis are still tending towards more progressive options.””
It’s important to note that while the Masorti Movement and Masorti Judaism are distinct from both Reform and Independent Orthodox movements, we all work well together to promote pluralism and respect for different streams of Jewish practice. American Conservative Jewry can play a critical role, dramatically advancing the cause of pluralistic and egalitarian Judaism in Israel, with its generous support of Masorti Israel.