This is the year of 40. Already we have heard so much about the number 40 within the context of Temple Emanu-El, in the Torah, and in our rabbinic literature. 40 years ago this congregation established itself in Dunwoody, Georgia. Well, 40 years ago was also a seminal moment for the Reform movement. 40 years ago the leaders of the Reform movement came together to create an organization called the Association of Reform Zionist of America—ARZA. Wow! Radical! Can you believe they did that in the Reform Movement?! No, right?
In 2017 it seems like one of the most unremarkable acts our movement could take. It seems just as humdrum as having an Israeli flag beside our American flag planted on our bimah. It would raise eyebrows were they not there, where in fact everything in the past 40 years flies in the face of what the Reform movement stood for at its inception. Just as we begin to discuss what it means to be a Reform Zionist 40 years after the creation of ARZA, nearly 70 years after the creation of the State of Israel, let us consider where we have come as a movement and a congregation in our relationship with Israel. In 40 years we have come so far, may we take the next 40 to imagine what it means to be Reform Zionists.