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Hinei Mah Tov: Israeli and American Jews' Views of Each Other

Upcoming Sessions

1. Tuesday, October 26, 2021 20 Cheshvan 5782

10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

2. Wednesday, October 27, 2021 21 Cheshvan 5782

7:30 PM - 8:30 PM

How Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and alternative Orthodox Jews are cooperating, creating new projects and challenging the Rabbinic Establishment. 


The discussion will begin with our presenters reflecting on their shared life journeys, from the viewpoints of an Israeli and an American who met 45 years ago. They will talk about what Israel and American Jewry were like when they met, and how they saw the other in this context. Then they will talk about how things have changed over the decades that they have been together, and what were their respective roles and activities. They will also describe the progress made by both Conservative and Reform Judaism in Israel, as well as the collaborations between the two movements on issues of mutual concern.

After the initial 45-minute joint presentation/discussion, participants will divide into two breakout sessions: Naamah will discuss the renaissance and challenges of Jewish life in Israel through her work as a rabbi and the dean of Hebrew Union College.  Elan will focus on issues of Jewish peoplehood, Israel - Diaspora relations and his work teaching Israelis about American Jewry.



Rabbi Naamah Kelman is a descendant of 10 generations of rabbis, becoming the first woman to be ordained by the Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem in 1992, where she is currently the Dean. Born and raised in New York, she has lived in Israel since 1976; where she has worked in community organizing, Jewish education, and the promotion and establishment of Progressive and Pluralistic  Judaism for Israelis . Naamah Kelman has been intensely involved in the emerging education system of the Israeli Movement for Progressive (Reform) Judaism. Among the founders of the first Progressive Day school, she has overseen the development of curricular materials, teacher training programs, and family education. She has been involved in teacher training and enrichment, the professional development of the Israeli Rabbinic students, and the establishment of "Mazorim" Spiritual Care/Israeli Chaplaincy. She was the Director of the Year in Israel Program for HUC's North American students. She is a board member of Rabbis for Human Rights, MELITZ, and the Tali Education Fund. Naamah Kelman is deeply engaged in inter-faith dialogue and feminist causes. She is married to Dr. Elan Ezrachi and they have three children.

Elan Ezrachi is a Jerusalem-based consultant in the areas of Jewish Peoplehood education and Israel engagement and the author of Awakened Dream – 50 Years of Complex Unification of Jerusalem.

Born in Jerusalem where he also resides. After six years as a helicopter pilot in Israel's Air Force, Elan went on to pursue a career in Jewish education.Elan served in various executive roles including: the International Dept. of Melitz – Center for Jewish Zionist education, the Charles Bronfman Mifgashim Center, Masa – Israel Journey (founding CEO) and the International School for Jerusalem Studies at Yad Ben-Zvi.


Elan received his BA and MA from Hebrew University in Education and Jewish Thought and a doctorate from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. His dissertation topic was: "The Dynamics of interaction between American Jews and Israelis". Along with his executive career, Elan has taught at the Hadassah Academic College, the Schechter Institute and Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem. He presently teaches at the University of Haifa at the MA Ruderman Program on American Jewry and the MA program on Jewish Peoplehood.

Elan is married to Rabbi Naamah Kelman and is a grandfather to five boys.

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Mon, October 18 2021 12 Cheshvan 5782