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Uri Regev

Uri Regev is an internationally renowned leader and advocate of religious liberty and the liberal movements of Judaism in his native Israel and around the world. He serves as the President and CEO of a new educational and advocacy Israel-Diaspora partnership, “Freedom Of Religion for Israel” and of its Israeli counterpart, “Hiddush – For Freedom of Religion and Equality”. Until recently, he served as president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, a global umbrella organization of the Progressive, Reform, Liberal and Reconstructionist movements, where he worked to strengthen modern, pluralistic Jewish life and democracy in the Jewish state and throughout the world. He served as founding chair, and later as executive director and legal counsel, of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), the advocacy group established by the Reform movement in Israel, leading the IRAC’s legal team to historic victories in the Israeli Supreme Court in cases involving the “Who is a Jew?” issue, equitable funding for Reform and Conservative institutions and the fight for representation in the religious councils. He has defended the rights of Sabbath-observant Jews and argued cases involving many other central issues of religious pluralism and human equality for all Israeli citizens.

Religious Freedom in Israel: A Global Jewish Priority

Stanley Gold, Ariel Picard, Uri Regev

Global History and Culture, Israel

The overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews and world Jewry support religious freedom and pluralism in Israel. Lack of full religious freedom and equality adversely affects the lives of countless Israeli citizens from birth to death. Most known recent areas of concern include: Who is a Jew, the right to marry and divorce, gender segregation (such as public bus lines and the Kotel) and the threat to Israel’s economy and security emanating from the mass exemption of Yeshiva students from military service and their non-participation in the work force among others. In this session, we will outline the key challenges to religious freedom and pluralism in Israel and will discuss why this is a global Jewish priority and how we can make Israel’s promise for” freedom of religion and conscience” a reality.

Who Is a Jew: An Urgent Need for a New Paradigm

Ariel Picard, Uri Regev

Identity and Responsibility, Teen Approved

The "Who is a Jew" debate has plagued and challenged Israel-Diaspora relations for decades. It is a complex halachic, philosophical, sociological and political challenge that goes to the heart of Israel’s identity as a Jewish state. While for a long time it was dominated by the battle over conversion among the different denominations in Judaism, in recent years there is a growing realization of the internal Orthodox discord. We will discuss the urgent need for a new paradigm in this arena, demonstrate why "Who is a Jew" is too important a matter to be left to Orthodoxy, and outline and discuss the legal, halachic, and public aspects of this debate and the urgent need to develop new conversion options.

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