The 36th WUPJ Biennial Conference 1 – 5 May 2013

The SAUPJ is delighted to inform you that the Connections 2013 web site and online registration are now open! Attached please find a letter and marketing brief regarding this conference.
We would like to have a significant presence at the conference.
Anyone interested in attending the conference, please advise the SAUPJ. There will also be tours before and after the conference, details of these will be forwarded as soon as more details are available.
For further info please contact Jacob Hurwitz, Executive Director, SAUPJ on 011 784 7145 or email:


Connections 2013 will include an inspiring and invigorating line-up of sessions, keynotes, site visits, music and entertainment.

We will update this page shortly with the schedule. Registration for specific sessions will be opened before the conference and can be done through the website using your registration details and account that was created when you registered for the conference.

As always, our program will be world class, with something relevant for everyone!


Connections 2013 will have an exciting lineup of influential and inspirational keynote speakers.
Honourable Professor Irwin Cotler, M.P., P.C., O.C.

David Grossman

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Ruth Messinger

Sunday, May 5 12:30 – 16:00
Tikkun Olam [repairing the world] has been a core value of Reform Judaism throughout its history.

Our responsibility for social action and social justice and our desire to heal the world continue to lead us forward into the future.

On Sunday afternoon, Connections 2013 will give you the opportunity for a few hours not only to hear and learn about Tikkun Olam, but to actually engage in hands on Tikkun Olam projects run by the IMPJ congregations, Tnua (IMPJ Movement) members and IRAC. Get prepared to be inspired by your WUPJ family in Israel!

In addition to these activities we will be offering a number of field visits that will allow us to experience and get involved, exploring various topics and issues in depth.

Get to know our host Congregations

The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) congregations will host delegates for a special Kabbalat Shabbat evening on Friday May 3, which will include Kabbalat Shabbat services and dinner.

Hundreds of delegates from across the world will have the chance to enjoy Shabbat in a communal Israeli reform setting. Take this wonderful opportunity to develop personal relationships, meet new friends, experience an uplifting shabbat service, and enjoy the company of old friends in the various communities.

Check back here soon to learn more about the congregations you’ll be visiting

Sunday, April 28
18:00 – 22:00 MC Seminar
Monday, April 29
09:00 – 21:00 MC Seminar
08:00 – 20:00 Discover new environments with KKL (day tour)
Tuesday, April 30
16:00 – 20:00 Registration / Information Desk
09:00 – 22:00 EB Seminar
16:00 – 22:00 Rabbinic Kallah
16:00 – 22:00 WUPJ 101 for newcomers
08:00 – 20:00 Sha’ar Hanegev (day tour)
Wednesday, May 1
10:00 – 20:00 Registration / Information Desk
09:00 – 12:30 EB Seminar
09:00 – 12:30 Rabbinic Kallah
09:00 – 12:30 WUPJ 101 for newcomers
13:30 – 17:30 International Assembly
19:30 – 22:00 Connections 2013 Opening Ceremony
22:00 – 23:00 Dessert Reception
Thursday, May 2
08:00 – 20:00 Registration / Information Desk
Regional Shuk
08:00 – 08:45 Shacharit Morning Worship
09:00 – 10:00 Keynote Address
10:30 – 12:00 SLOT A
12:15 – 13:45 Lunch
14:00 – 15:30 SLOT B
16:00 – 17:30 SLOT C
19:00 – 20:00 Dinner
20:30 – 23:00 Evening program
Friday, May 3
Regional Shuk
08:00 – 08:30 Shacharit Morning Worship
08:30 – 09:30 Plenary
09:45 – 10:45 Keynote Address
11:05 – 12:35 SLOT D
12:45 – 14:00 Special interest lunches
14:15 – 16:00 Plenary
16:00 – 18:00 Preparation for Shabbat
18:00 – 22:00 Shabbat at IMPJ communities
Saturday, May 4
08:00 – 09:00 Parashat Hashavua
09:00 – 11:45 Shabbat Service
12:00 – 13:30 Beit Midrash & study lunches
14:30 – 17:30 Jerusalem walking tours – hidden treasures with Beit Shmuel and Saltz
18:00 – 19:30 Oneg Shabbat
19:30 – 20:00 Havdallah
Free Evening
20:30 – 23:30 Donor Recognition Event – by Invitation only
Sunday, May 5
08:00 – 08:30 Shacharit Morning Worship
09:00 – 10:15 Keynote Address
10:30 – 12:00 SLOT E
12:30 – 17:00 Community in Action: visits and activities based on Tikkun Olam
17:30 – 19:00 Preparations
19:00 – 22:00 Gala Dinner evening and event closing
Monday, May 6
08:00 – 20:00 A Taste of Saltz: An intensive Israel & Jerusalem update seminar
07:30 – 16:00 Leo Baeck Haifa tour (day tour)
CONNECTIONS 2013 will include an extensive variety of educational, inspirational and entertaining sessions that touch on the matters of Reform Jewish living that affect us all – no matter where we live.

Please note: – All sessions will be conducted in English.
Topics and speakers are subject to change.
Registration for specific sessions will be opened before the conference and will be done through the website using your registration and account details that were created upon registration for the conference.
Below is a list of some of the exciting and inspiring topics we will deal with in “Being the difference”.

* How to use the community for social and environmental change
* The role of the family in Jewish education and Jewish continuity
* Changing the face of Israel from within – bringing Progressive Judaism to secular Israelis
* Digital Judaism
* The Inclusive Synagogue: How open can our tent afford to be?
* New models of Jewish education
* Building an Israel-engaged congregation
* New directions of Tfillah
* Engaging Youth and Young Adults through Tikkun Olam activities
* Ethical, legal and social challenges to mitzvoth
* Advocating for Israel
* Coexistence; Minorities and everything in between
* Saving our planet
* Partnerships for a better world
* Greening our synagogues
* Making change through music
* Teaching a Fish or Giving a Fish: Tzedek or Tzedakah
* Refuge to refugees or refuge from refugees- a global dillema
* Technology as a vehicle for social change
* Caring communities
* Pikuach nefesh
* Social protests
* Teaching Tikkun Olam
* Prayer as a means of tikkun atzmi
* Zionism as a force for Tikkun
* Text studies


CONNECTIONS 2013 offers the opportunity to hear from some of our most prominent and inspiring speakers from around the world.
Keynoters and Special Profiles
The Honourable Professor Irwin Cotler, M.P., P.C., O.C.

Irwin Cotler is a Member of the Canadian Parliament, Emeritus Professor of Law at McGill University, and former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. He is Vice-Chair of both the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, and is Justice and Human Rights Critic for the Liberal Party.

A constitutional and comparative law scholar, Prof. Cotler has extensively litigated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – including landmark cases in the areas of free speech, freedom of religion, women’s rights, minority rights, and war crimes justice. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his work in peace and human rights, including the Order of Canada, for his pioneering work in peace law and human rights advocacy. He is Co-Founder and Honourary Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Antisemitism and previously led the Canadian Delegation to the Stockholm International Forum on the Prevention of Genocide.

At present, Prof. Cotler is Co-Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Group for Human Rights in Iran, International Chair of the Responsibility to Prevent Coalition regarding the Iranian four-fold threat; Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Forum of the Community of Democracies – Chair of its Working Group on the Arab Awakening – and Chair of the All-Party Save Darfur Coalition. He has represented political prisoners all over the world, including Andrei Sakharov and Natan Sharansky in the former Soviet Union, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Jacobo Timmerman in Argentina, Kamal Masmoudi in Tunisia, Prof. Kunlung Zhang in China, and Professor Saad Edin Ibrahim in Egypt. More recently, he represented Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil – one of the architects of the Tahrir Square revolution, who was imprisoned for his criticism of Egyptian repression by the military. He is also a member of the International Legal Team of two Chinese political prisoners – 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo, and Gao Zhisheng – and also leads the Iranian Dissident Awareness Program with US Senator Mark Kirk (Illinois). For his work representing political prisoners, he was characterized as “counsel for the oppressed” by Canada’s national magazine, Macleans.

Prof. Cotler has testified as an expert witness on human rights before Parliamentary Committees in Canada, the United States, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Italy, South Africa, and Israel, and has lectured at major international academic and professional gatherings in America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. He is the recipient of ten honorary doctorates, including from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Haifa University and Bar Ilan University, and is an Honourary Fellow of the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzliya.


David Grossman

Born in Jerusalem in 1954, David Grossman is a leading Israeli writer of his generation and his work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He is the author of eight internationally acclaimed novels, and two powerful journalistic accounts, as well as a number of children’s books, a children’s opera and a play. Grossman has been presented with numerous awards including Chevalier de l’Ordre des Artes et des Lettres (France), Prix Eliette Von Karajan (Austria), The Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation (UK), the Buxtehuder Bulle (Germany), the Sapir Prize (Israel), the Premio per la Pace e l’Azione Umanitaria 2006 (City of Rome/Italy), Onorificenza della Stella Solidarita Italiana 2007, Premio Ischia – International Award for Journalism 2007, the EMET Award 2007 (Israel), the Geschwister Scholl Prize 2008 (Germany), the Albatros Prize, awarded by the Gunter Grass Foundation. Grossman was the recipient of the prestigious Peace Prize of the German Booksellers Association in Frankfurt 2010 and in 2011 was awarded France’s Prix Medicis for translated literature.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Rabbi Rick Jacobs is the fourth president of the Union for Reform Judaism. Previously he served as spiritual leader at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY, where, during his 20-year tenure, he reshaped communal worship, transformed the congregation into a community of learners, and strengthened WRT’s commitment to social justice and inclusion. Prior to his service at WRT, Rabbi Jacobs served the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, where he founded the first synagogue-based homeless shelter in New York City.

Ordained in 1982 by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in New York, Rabbi Jacobs received an honorary Doctorate of Divinity, also from HUC-JIR, in 2007. Deeply committed to Israel, Rabbi Jacobs is a senior rabbinic fellow at Jerusalem’s Shalom Hartman Institute, where he has studied for two decades. A product of the Reform Movement, he has held numerous leadership posts within its institutions, as well as in Jewish communal organizations, including AJWS, UJA-Federation of New York, and Synagogue 3000.

Devoted to global social justice, Rabbi Jacobs visited Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake. He also has observed the plight of refugees in the Chad-Darfur border area, and has participated in an annual conference of Muslim and Christian leaders to build understanding between the West and the Muslim world.

Rabbi Jacobs lives in Scarsdale with his wife, Susan K. Freedman, and their three children.

Ruth W. Messinger

Ruth W. Messinger is president of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), an international development organization that supports human rights for marginalized people around the world. Ms. Messinger assumed this role in 1998 following a 20-year career in public service in New York City. Considered a national leader in the movement to end the genocide in Sudan, Ms. Messinger has been called upon several times to advise President Obama about creating a sustainable path toward peace in that country. She has also served on the Obama administration’s Task Force on Global Poverty and Development and currently sits on the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group.

Ms. Messinger has received honorary degrees and awards from four major American rabbinical schools and awards from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Women’s Funding Network and the American Jewish Committee. In recognition of her leadership she has been named among the Forward’s “50 Most Influential Jews of the Year” for the past decade and, in 2011, was on the Jerusalem Post’s “World’s Most Influential Jews” list. Ms. Messinger is an active member of her congregation, the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, and has three children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Pre and Post Conference Tours
Connections 2013 will be offering inspiring pre and post conference tours.
Discover new environments with Keren Kayemet Le’Israel day tour (April 29, 2013)

For 110 years, the KKL has been the operational arm of the Zionist institutions and the State of Israel, in building the country and leading the way to a better, healthier and greener environment.
In the last few decades, KKL has been in the forefront of major environmental issues in Israel – land conservation, water recycling and preservation, environmental planning, education and more.
Join a dedicated group of KKL professionals, chaired by Menachem Leibowitz, Deputy Chair of KKL, to experience first hand some of the most cutting edge and impact-making environmental projects KKL has to offer today. Discuss issues of land, water, forestation, politics, economic development and more, on the ground where it all happens.
To join this tour, please check the “Discover new environments with Keren Kayemet Le’Israel day tour” box on the registration form.
* Please note, this tour is provisional and dependant on a minimum number of registrants.

The Israel Movement’s work in action on our Gateway to the Negev day tour (April 30, 2013)
Here is your chance to see the IMPJ in action. Come and visit one of the IMPJ’s newest communities, a growing congregation who leads a pluralistic approach to Judaism in Israel’s southern periphery.

In addition, take the opportunity to learn more about the security issues facing this region of Israel and the implications on daily life as well as national politics. Visit a lookout point that overlooks the Gaza Strip and gain a bird’s eye view of the unique security issues that residents of the area face.
Visit the newly opened Isaac Shavit High School where over 1200 students and staff members are able to learn and work in a fully protected campus.
Enjoy an authentic kibbutz lunch and meet with top regional leaders including the head of the regional council.
Join us! Show your support to the community of Sha’ar HaNegev, and learn about the extraordinary challenges of the area.
To join this tour, please check the “The Israel Movement’s work in action on our Gateway to the Negev day tour” box on the registration form.
* Please note, this tour is provisional and dependant on a minimum number of registrants.

Haifa and The Leo Baeck Education Center day tour (May 6)
This year, the Leo Baeck Education Center in Haifa is marking its 75th Anniversary since its establishment. The year 1938 saw Rabbi Dr. Meir Elk open a small kindergarten for 18 children of Holocaust survivors. Today, we see how the Leo Baeck community flourishes and serves every over 2500 students in all its schools, centers and varied community programs. Towards 2013, Leo Baeck continues to touch the lives of over 25,000 families in west Haifa.
In order to see this work first hand, we invite you to visit the Leo Baeck Educational Center inHaifa on Monday, May 6.
In addition, the tour will take in several of Haifa’s most renowned tourist attractions, including the world famous Baha’i Hanging Gardens.
The visit will include greetings by Dani Fessler, Director of the Center and an exciting musical presentation by children from the center. This will be followed by workshops that will focus on the different programs that are carried out at Leo Baeck, a festive worship session, and lunch. The workshops include:
* Pluralistic Judaism – a meeting with children in our “Am Israel” program
* Multi-Culturism – a glimpse to the lives of Ethiopian Israelis and a meeting with Ethiopian students
* Coexistence – a meeting with participants in Leo Baeck’s “Coexistence” project that brings together teens from different cultural and religious backgrounds
* Every Day is a Mitsvah Day” – a glimpse into Leo Baeck’s unique Tikkun Olam projects where teens volunteer and develop Tikkun Olam initiatives.
Following a light lunch, the tour will take you to view points in Haifa, as well as the Bahai Hanging Gardens.

To join this tour, please check the “Haifa and The Leo Baeck Education Center day tour” box on the registration form.
* Please note, this tour is provisional and dependant on a minimum number of registrants.
A Taste of Saltz: An intensive Israel & Jerusalem update focusing on current events & issues
Post-Conference day seminar
Monday 6 May, 9:00 – 16:00
The Anita Saltz International Education Center is the educational arm of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. We work with people from all over the world – providing a global forum for Reform Jews to engage in serious, high quality Jewish study in Israel and abroad.
Over its years of existence the Saltz IEC has nurtured hundreds of alumni who have learnt, developed, discovered and enriched themselves and their organizations and communities. Our global family around the world praises our alumni for increasing involvement in their synagogue and taking on leadership, educational and inspirational roles.
The objectives of the Saltz Center seminars are to explore critical issues to Israel and the Jewish People. Participants connect with individuals and organizations in Israel addressing these issues – learning of their challenges and successes in order to be more effective in addressing these issues in their own communities around the world. The international makeup allows participants to experience Progressive Jewish Peoplehood. Programs improve skills for seasoned and emerging Jewish leaders; enhance pedagogic skills for educators; and enables those working in Tikkun Olam to be more effective.

Our Brand name seminars include:
• Beutel Seminar for Progressive Jewish Leadership
• The Roswell Social Justice Seminar
• Bergman Seminar for Progressive Jewish Educators

If you are a Saltz graduate and want the opportunity to immerse yourself, even for a day, with cutting edge quality education, or if you have not yet had the chance of participating in a Saltz seminar – but would love a taste – this is your opportunity.
Join us for a 1-day “Taste of Saltz – Israel education seminar”
Monday, May 6, 9:00 – 16:00
Study and discover with Professor Paul Liptz and Rabbi Steve Burnstein, as we look, in-depth, at “hot issues” in Israel today.
We’ll explore current social and political issues challenging Israel including topics like:
• Socio-Economic issues and the Social Protest Movement in Israel
• Gender Segregation
• Religious Pluralism
• Israel-Diaspora Relations
• The “Other” in Israeli Society
• Zionism
• Prayer & Spirituality
• Jewish texts from the Bible to contemporary literature
Cost: $30

For more information please contact:
Rabbi Steve Burnstein
Saltz Director
World Union for Progressive Judaism
Tel: 972-2-620-3622
Fax: 972-2-620-3525

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