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January 2019 - President's message

To the Members of all of our Congregations:  Beth Hillel, Beth Shalom, Lev Chadash and Shir Chadash and the newly formed Bologna Chavura (Jewish friendship group).

 

Eitz Chaim

 

As the members of the Progressive Jewish movement in Italy, we have much to be proud of.

 

Against all expectations, we have created a national Jewish progressive institution which represents and unites our 4 congregations.  And now we have a “Chavura” in Bologna.  The creation of FIEP has given us strength and unity. 

 

Representation – As FIEP, we are able to establish dialogue with other Jewish institutions.  We have petitioned the Unione delle Comunità Italiane (UCEI) for observer status on the UCEI board, under Art 41, as well as formally requested to discuss inclusion of FIEP within the auspices of the UCEI.

 

FIEP and our four congregations have greater visibility at all levels in the Jewish Communities. I commend all of you for your hard work and perseverance.

 

On March 10, FIEP will present a seminar on Progressive Judaism in collaboration with the Jewish Cultural Center in Rome, Pitigliani.  The central theme of the event will be presentation of Bruno di Porto’s book, “The History of Progressive Judaism in Italy”.  The role of women in progressive Judaism will be discussed as well as a  discussion on Modern Jewish Progressive thought – From the Enlightenment to the Modern Era. 

 

We have been admitted as member to the European Council of Jewish Communities and we sent a delegate to the Prague convention last fall.  We are also planning to create affiliations with other  Jewish Institutions present it Italy (e.g., KKL, KH, B’nei B’erith, Hashomer Hazair and others ), underling our common interest in promoting Judaism and Israel.

 

Unity – since the formation of FIEP, dialogue between our congregations has increased, creating synergy from an exchange of ideas and experiences.

 

Connection – through FIEP, we are more connected to the bigger Progressive Jewish world – EUPJ and WUPJ and the World Jewish Congress.

 

And we can be proud of our Progressive Role in Italian Judaism. 

  • We represent modern Jewish practice springing from the Enlightenment

  • We believe that we, as Jews, continue to interpret Torah in light of our modern life and that Judaism continues to develop has it has done for millennium.  This continuum allows our people to survive and to thrive. 

  • We give women complete equal rights in prayer and in practice.

  • We give a safe haven to all members of inter-religious marriage, eliminating the stigmatism against a non-Jewish spouse and welcoming their children into our communities

  • We offer a home to the LGBTQ community

  • We offer liberal, enlightened Jewish education and thought.

  • We offer a democratic approach to Judaism – free of the auspices of a chief rabbinate.

  • This and more

 

We invite you to attend your synagogues and travel to Israel.  we invite you to participate in prayer, study and cultural events.  we invite you to find your spirituality in Progressive Judaism.  We invite you to give your children strong Jewish identities and progressive values.   We invite you to please volunteer to help in your communities. From small tasks to large, the more you give of yourselves, the more fulfilling your life, not only your Jewish life, will be.

 

W eleave you with a prayer, for us to continue in our ethical and moral extension of monotheism, to “walk in the ways of Torah, for It is a tree of life for those who cling to it, and those who uphold it are happy. Its ways are joyous,​ and all of its paths peaceful.​”

 

Amen and shalom,

 

Franca Eckert Coen                                                   Joyce Bigio

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