UIA Progressive Appeal

Snapshot of the impact of your donation

"For such a time as this”, we are urged in the Book of Esther that we must step forward to do our best at moments of true crisis. 

Covid-19 has created urgent and immense challenges. One thing in Israel is absolutely clear: While millions of government dollars will go to support and sustain Orthodox institutions and communities in Israel, very little funding will come from the current Israeli government to the Progressive Movement.

Today, thanks in a very large part to you, the supporters of the UIA Progressive Appeal, just as many Israelis identify with the Progressive and Masorti streams as with the Haredi community, and we are reaching more people than ever before.

We thank you for your support in past years, and hope that in 2021 you will be able to do so again. You can read more about the Progressive Appeal and view a video of Rabbi David Saperstein's talk at Temple Beth Israel in Melbourne last year by clicking on this link.

David Knoll AM and Alan Obrart, NSW Co-Chairs
Brian Samuel OAM and Philip Bliss OAM, VIC Co-Chairs
Helen Shardey, ARZA President

In these difficult times, our support is having a real and positive impact on Jewish lives in Israel.
We provide a snapshot below.


Meet Melanie Wolfson
Melanie Wolfson is suing Easyjet for discrimination, in a case led by the Israel Religious Action Center (part of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism).

As Libby Purves summarised in The Australian (1 September 2020): “At Ben Gurion airport she paid extra for an aisle seat but was moved by cabin crew because two ultra-Orthodox male passengers objected to sitting next to a woman. She was insulted and humiliated . . . 'It was the first time in my adult life I was discriminated against for being a woman.' She was told that ultra-Orthodox men often make this demand and two months later it happened again.”

Anat Hoffman said: “Ultra-Orthodox extremists get away with demands that have nothing to do with Judaism. Humiliating women can in no way qualify as a religious act.”

Weddings – orthodox only?
The Jerusalem Municipality earlier this year offered couples marrying in Jerusalem to hold their weddings, free of charge, in outdoor sites where numbers during COVID-19 restrictions could be higher than at indoor venues.  However, only couples who marry through the Orthodox-controlled rabbinate were eligible to apply.

IRAC’s Orly Erez-Likhovski argued in the District Court that this was discriminatory and abusive.

After the municipality backed down, Orly said: “During the Coronavirus crisis at present, and especially in such difficult times - whether the circumstances are a security conflict or a severe health hazard - we must be doubly careful of disproportionate violations of human rights.”

Helping COVID-19 lay-offs

Legal Action Center for Olim (LACO), is continuing its work to aid immigrants who face discrimination accessing their rights to financial aid from National Insurance policies, and to apply for governmental assistance where needed – especially in cases where there is poor documentation in country of origin.

Tashoma, aged 51, Jerusalem, explained: “I work at a restaurant and I was fired when the quarantine regulations began, even though I have worked there a long time. I approached LACO and they listened to my story, explained the rights I can use and helped me fill out the relevant forms to receive aid. It is hard to find this kind of service in my native language, Amharic, so lots of people don’t even try”. 

(Name changed and no picture available due to privacy)

Assisting FSU immigrants during COVID-19

Progressive congregations for FSU immigrants in Haifa, Ramat Gan and Be’er Sheva are assisting Russian-speakers with Jewish services, learning, and community support for families, lone adults and elderly who are having a hard time being alone in isolation.

During Pesach, IMPJ hosted online workshops and events, reaching hundreds of families, including spiritual and practical preparation, disposing of Hametz and learning about its spiritual significance, learning the story of Passover from sacred sources, reading the Haggadah pre-Seder, learning what dishes to make and more.

On Seder night, hundreds of community members (20 per cent were newcomers), joined for an online real-time Seder. For many FSU immigrants, this was the first time in their lives that they had celebrated a seder independently in their own homes.

Attendees Ina and Vlad said: “We got to do our own Seder with the children this year ... who knew that Corona would bring such blessings?”

For further information, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 0416 700 613

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