The World's Reform Rabbis, the Largest Group of Jewish Clergy, Meet in Jerusalem February 24 - March 1 for the 120th Annual Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR)

Convention Open to Media: Advance Notification Required

To Attend CCAR Convention or Schedule a Discussion With a Leader of the Reform Rabbinate, Please Contact Itay Engelman at 212-255-8386 or

JERUSALEM and NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - February 17, 2009) - Over 300 Reform rabbis from North America and around the world will convene in Jerusalem for the 2009 Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), which begins Tuesday, February 24, and ends Sunday, March 1, 2009. The CCAR is the representative organization of nearly 2,000 Reform rabbis, the world's largest group of Jewish clergy.

The rabbis will gather to strengthen the Reform movement's bond with Israel, build bridges to its religious and secular communities and participate in programs that take an in-depth look at Israel.

The Convention is open to media who provide advance notification. In addition, CCAR President Rabbi Peter S. Knobel and President-Elect Rabbi Ellen W. Dreyfus are available in advance and on the scene for conversations.


  • Arab-Jewish Relations. The CCAR will examine the complicated conflict that affects the daily lives of Israelis and examine potential measures that can lead to a peaceful resolution and relationship among all residents of the region.

  • Post-Election Politics. Several politicians will be speaking to the CCAR about the current status of Israeli politics -- what the results of the 2009 election mean for Israel's future and its relationship with the rest of the world.

  • Creating Dialogue Within the Faith and With Others. The CCAR will explore issues within the faith and with other religions, as well as political topics.

  • The Reform Movement and Jewish Life. The convention will advance approaches to empowering Reform rabbis to provide religious, spiritual and organizational leadership.

  • Pluralism. The convention will underscore the value of mining the truth and lessons in other Jewish movements and religions.

  • The Question of Reform Judaism in Israel. The convention will examine the advancement of the Progressive movement in Israel and what strides it must take to continue to grow.


Some of this year's unforgettable events include:

  • Jews and Arabs in Jerusalem. A meeting with political commentators and academics providing a view into the complex realities of daily life in Jerusalem focusing on the Seam Zone, demography and possible directions for the future.

  • First-of-its-Kind Intra-Religion Study Session. A pluralistic Judaic-study event with the CCAR's Reform Rabbis and members of Israel's secular, Conservative, Reform and Orthodox Jewish communities.

  • Installation of New Officers. The new leaders of the CCAR will officially begin their tenure, led by President-elect Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus.


The Convention will cover and include:

  • Arab/Jewish Unity Walk: A tour of Tel Aviv by two guides, one Arab and one Jewish.

  • Bedouin Issues in Southern Israel: A visit to officially recognized Bedouin villages to meet with local, spiritual and political leaders. Issues to be discussed include the role of women, community empowerment and volunteerism, as well as employment and economic challenges.

  • Rabbis for Human Rights; A Look at the Security Barrier and a Palestinian Neighborhood: A tour of the security barrier around Jerusalem and outlying areas where suicide bombings took place and a visit to the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan.

  • A Dialogue with Muslim Clerics and Christian Leaders: A dialogue with Lutheran Bishop Younan, the American Archbishop of Jerusalem and Muslim clerics.

  • The Education Revolution: Meeting with Jewish educators who teach Reform curriculum in secular public schools in Tel Aviv.

  • Israel and the Environmental Challenges: An exploration along the Yarkon River to learn about the river and water issues in the Yarkon and Israel in general, and a visit to the Metropix Pipeline, which is one of the main polluters of the Lachish River, located near the city of Ashdod.

  • Tours of Jerusalem: A guided visit through the Old City, including the Western Wall, Temple Mount and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.


Scheduled to appear at the convention are:

  • Nir Barkat, the Mayor of Jerusalem.

  • Ron Huldai, the Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yaffo.

  • Former-MK Colette Avital, a member of the Labor Party, served on the Knesset between 1999 and 2009.

  • MK Ophir Pines-Paz, a member of the Labor Party, has served on the Knesset since 1996. Also served as the Internal Affairs Minister from 2005 to 2006, Minister of Science, Culture and Sport in 2006 and was a member of Ehud Olmert's Foreign Affairs and Defense cabinet.

  • Rabbi Miri Gold, a Reform Rabbi living in Israel and fighting to be recognized by the Israeli government as the rabbi of Congregation Birkat Shalom on Kibbutz Gezer.

  • Gidi Greenstein, Founder and Head of the Reut Institute, an Israeli think-tank that provides long-term strategic decision-support to government agencies.

  • Professor Menachem Ben Sasson of The Mandel Institute of Jewish Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

CCAR's annual convention takes place once a year in various cities, with Jerusalem serving as host city every seven years. The conventions bring together the leaders of the Reform movement in order to discuss policies and programs that affect their congregations, the overall Jewish community and the secular world.

About The CCAR

The Central Conference of American Rabbis is the representative organization of nearly 2,000 Reform rabbis, the world's largest group of Jewish clergy.

Note to Journalists: To attend the CCAR Convention, or to arrange a conversation with leaders of the CCAR, please contact Itay Engelman at 212-255-8386 or

Contact Information: Contact: Itay Engelman Sommerfield Communications, Inc. 212-255-8386