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Religious Zionism

This weekend there is a national Australian conference focussed on Religious Zionist education.  Perth is sending a strong delegation of about 15 people.  Rabbi’s Solomon, Brown, and Krausz will be present, as will the bachurim from the Perth Yeshivah, and the Bnei Akiva shlichim.

This may be a big call to make, but I believe the long-term future of Jewish identity in Perth hinges on the success of the religious Zionist movement.  We have to get beyond the stage where Carmel School as the formal insititute of education, and the respective Shules, as the formal institutes of religion, continue to run ad-hoc and low key events that attract the same group of participants.  We need to get more educators working together to run larger and more contemporary events that pique the interest of the unaffiliated.  We need to engage the youth and young adults in social and infomal educative experiences that create a buzz and a new type of energy.

One of the issues, not unique to Perth or Australia, but particularly important for the relatively small size of our community, is that of kiruv rechokim.  The Religious Zionist movement have not been strong on outreach, and unlike counterpart movements such as Lubavich, place little value on the merits of shlichut.  There are great shlichim on various programs, but it is not an aspiration for a young religious zionist to become a community educator ahead of an alternative vocation.  This is a culture that needs to be addressed with urgency.

Here’s hoping that the participants of the conference in Melbourne will be suitibly inspired, and that a new approach towards religious zionist identity can manifest itself into Perth in the months and years ahead.  We have come a long way in the past few years, but the reality is we are barely scratching the surface in terms of our potential.

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