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Jacob Kraus

Often, peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians have gotten stuck on the status of Jerusalem. Debates over the future of this holy city are often informed by deeply held views of history, religion, and politics. We are left wondering whether or not a compromise can be made that will take into account the political desires of both Israelis and Palestinians and safeguard the freedom to for people of all faiths to visit their holy sites.

For millennia, Jerusalem has been a focal point for Jewish life. At Passover seders, Jews around the world intone, “Next year in...

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Jerusalem's Skyline

This is the fifth in a series of posts outlining some of the core issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Reform Movement’s positions on these issues. Click here to read the introduction to the series, click here for a post on Israel’s security needs, click here for a post on borders and click here for a post on refugees.

Often, peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians have gotten stuck on the status of Jerusalem. Debates over the future of this holy city are often informed by deeply held views of history, religion and politics. We are left wondering...

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Large crowds of worshipers gathered at the Western Wall

Three times a year – on Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot – tens of thousands of men gather at the Western Wall to hear Birkat Kohanim, the priestly blessing. This triannual gathering is one of the most visible traditions associated with the three pilgrimage holidays, filling the Kotel’s plaza with worshippers. It is also a reminder of how central the Western Wall is to Jewish life, and therefore the importance of making the holy site a place where all Jews can pray according to their custom.

Women of the Wall worked to raise the profile of this important issue as Pesach approached by...

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Israeli Flags

This Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day – May 11-12), there is so much to celebrate. We celebrate the 68th birthday of a thriving, Jewish and democratic state in our historic homeland. We celebrate Israel’s people: renowned for their tenacity, innovation, intellect and creativity. We celebrate Israel’s achievements: in science, technology, scholarship and culture. We celebrate the fact that Jews around the world, no matter the dire straits in which they may find themselves, have a place where they can call home.

Yom HaAtzmaut does not just commemorate Israel’s founding, though...

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Starting in the evening on Tuesday, May 10, Israelis and supporters of Israel around the world will mark Yom HaZikaron, the Day of Remembrance for Israeli fallen soldiers and victims of terror. This national holiday, intentionally placed the day before Israel’s Independence Day, Yom HaAtzmaut, is a somber reminder that the existence of a vibrant Jewish state does not come without its costs.

On Yom HaZikaron, a special Israeli TV channel shows the name of every soldier and terror victim who has died since Israel’s founding. We know, all too well, that the station is not at a loss...

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