Reform Rabbi Wins Historic Recognition in Israel:
On May 29, 2012, Israel’s Attorney General announced that the state has agreed to pay the wages of Rabbi Miri Gold, a Reform rabbi serving Congregation Birkat Shalom in Kibbutz Gezer. The decision follows a hearing in the Israel High Court on the 2005 petition, filed by Rabbi Gold and the Reform Movement in Israel, demanding that the state pay non-Orthodox rabbis, just as it does some 4,000 Orthodox rabbis. This historic ruling paves the way for dozens of other Reform and Conservative rabbis in Israel to receive governmental salaries as well.
“This is a big step for religious pluralism and democracy in Israel,” Rabbi Gold says. “Israeli Jews want religious alternatives, and with this decision the state is starting to recognize this reality.”
The precedent-setting victory is due in large part to the Israel Religious Action Center, which has been championing Rabbi Gold’s cause, as well as tens of thousands of Jews in Israel and the Diaspora who signed an online petition and sent waves of emails imploring the Israeli government to act justly.
The Genesis of Girl Scouts: Mickve Israel Was There:
Mickve Israel girl scouts greet First
Lady Lou Hoover, Savannah, 1932.
Savannah’s Congregation Mickve Israel
is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Girl Scouts with an extensive exhibit, “The Girl Scouts—In the Beginning We Were There,” featuring photographs, uniforms, camping gear, handbooks, and of course cookies. Jewish girls were in Savannah’s first troops in 1912, and three of their patrol leaders (later troop leaders) were Mickve Israel members—Leonora Amram, Henrietta Falk, and, a year later,
Mildred Guckenheimer. She led the very first Girl Scout encampment, a 10-day excursion to a barrier island off the Georgia coast.
At a time when Jews were often excluded from groups and activities, Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low stressed diversity and inclusion as core values of the organization, and they remain so to this day. Low called on women, including the Jewish patrol leaders, to help grow the Girl Scouts, and Mickve Israel members were among those who rose to the occasion.
Sister Rabbis Milestone:
From L. to R.: Rabbis Mari Chernow, Ilana Mills,
Upon her ordination at HUC-JIR
in Los Angeles this past May 12, Ilana Mills became the third sister in her family to become a Reform rabbi.
Her oldest sister, Mari Chernow, ordained in 2003, serves as senior rabbi of Temple Chai in Phoenix. Middle sister Jordana Chernow-Reader, ordained in 2004, is director of Lifelong Learning at Temple Beth Torah in Ventura, CA. And Ilana Mills serves as a rabbi at Temple Solel in Paradise Valley, AZ.
The three sisters come from a Jewishly active family: Mother Arlene is a longtime URJ Outreach consultant and father Eli serves on the URJ Board.