The ninetieth anniversary of the World Union enables us to highlight our achievements. In 1973 we moved the international headquarters from New York to Jerusalem and built a magnificent cultural/educational centre there. We pioneered the development of a dynamic Reform/Progressive movement in Israel consisting of congregations, kibbutzim, an Israel religious action centre and educational, cultural and youth programmes. We became active leaders in the Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization. We established synagogues and educational programmes in the Former Soviet Union, Europe, Latin America and the Far East, thus fulfilling our mandate to perpetuate Jewish life wherever Jews live. We formulated an ideology of Reform Zionism as an antidote to the contracting Jewish identity induced by contemporary diaspora conditions. Whereas we encourage aliyah for Jews who want to live in Israel, we are adamantly opposed to those who advocate aliyah as a positive response to anti-Semitism. Instead, we demand that European democracies guarantee equal rights and full security to Jews as well as to all other groups in society.
Rabbi Richard G. Hirsch is the Honorary Life President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, whose international headquarters are in Jerusalem. From 1962 to 1973 he served as the Founding Director of the American Reform Movement’s Religious Action Center in Washington, D.C.