Dear Friends of IRAC,

Amazing news. We just learned that the Conversion Bill will not go to vote this Wednesday – a huge success! You deserve a gigantic thank you. Because of your overwhelming opposition, MK Rotem realized that he did not have the support to pass the Conversion Bill at this time. Thank you to all of the organizations and movements worldwide, to all who sent thousands of letters, faxes, and phone calls, and to all who spread the word to your friends, family, and congregants about the dangers of this bill. It was an incredibly important fight, and the government listened to us – nothing demonstrates the power of global grassroots efforts and advocacy more than this success.

I would also like to thank by name the IMPJ/IRAC staff members who worked tirelessly these past two weeks – lobbyist Loren Puris, attorney and Legal Aid Center for Olim Director Nicki Maor-Center, Attorney Riki Shapira Rosenberg, Media Liaison Yuli Goren, Associate Director Noa Sattath, and all of IRAC’s communications and administrative staff. I would especially like to thank the director of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, who led this entire effort.

Although it is cliché, we have won the battle, but not yet the war. When Knesset reconvenes after the High Holy Days, the fight will start all over again, as the bill has only been postponed, not defeated completely – but we know we can count on you to mobilize and stop the bill when the time is necessary.
And, believe it or not, in spite of this bill, we have been busy with other things here at IRAC. This past Tuesday, we organized a special conference in the Knesset about the Western Wall (Kotel), addressing the steadily growing strictness imposed by the ultra-Orthodox over the Wall itself as well as the surrounding area. Through our efforts, members of Knesset and Progressive Jewish leaders spoke in favor of greater tolerance and pluralism at this sacred site that is so important to men and women from all Jewish streams. Be sure to read the article about this groundbreaking day in Knesset.

While we are incredibly busy, the Jewish calendar does not stop, and tonight marks the beginning of Tisha Ba’av. For a beautiful teaching on how the struggle over the Conversion Bill connects to Tisha Ba’av, please be sure to read ARZA Executive Director Rabbi Danny Allen’s moving D’var Torah. Though we succeeded in stopping the bill, Rabbi Allen’s teachings remain applicable as we continue our fight for religious pluralism and tolerance in Israel and around the world, and for a unified Jewish people.
Thank you again for your tremendous efforts. Your work has paid off.
Anat Hoffman

The Israel Religious Action Center is a department of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism.