The Hiddush Vision

Imagine A Reality

Imagine a reality: Israel and Judaism in an era of religious freedom and equality

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• Imagine an Israel where Judaism blossoms in all its nuanced shades and colors. Where religious and secular movements dedicated to Jewish renewal flourish side-by-side and those who once wandered to Eastern philosophies in search of meaning, forge new spiritual paths within Judaism.
• Imagine an Israel in which every couple is free to marry in their county in a ceremony of their choice, whether religious or civil. No one will have to leave the country in order to wed.
• Imagine an Israel in which anyone who is litigating a dispute in front of a rabbinical court, or other religious tribunal, is doing so of their own free choice; where only those who willingly accept religious law and jurisdiction will be subject to the authority of religious courts and halachic law in personal status matters.
• Imagine an Israel in which entry into Judaism is embracing and inclusive. Our brethren émigrés from the former Soviet Union who are members of Jewish families would be welcomed into the People whose destiny they share. Rabbis who apply lenient principles of inclusion in conversion rulings would be able to welcome them into the Jewish People, and the converts would know that their conversions could not someday be retroactively annulled.
• Imagine an Israel in which the State treats equally all expressions and streams of Judaism and other religions, recognizes the freedom of and from religion of all Israelis, allocates resources in a just and equitable fashion, and treats all with respect.
• Imagine an Israel in which the duty of military service is shared equally, with Yeshiva students serving in the military or fulfilling their obligation through essential civil service.
• Imagine an Israel in which all schools implement a common core curriculum that includes mathematics, science, social studies, and English. Such a curriculum would give parents the flexibility to educate their children in accordance with their own values, but at the same time reinforce cohesion within Israeli society and help ensure that every high school graduate has the opportunity to join the

Israel and Judaism in an Eden of religious freedom and equality

workforce and pursue a college education.
• Imagine an Israel that experiences rapid economic growth, buoyed by the contribution of the Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) joining the workforce. Increased revenues would allow the government to invest more in health, education, welfare and the devastating cycle of poverty within the Haredi community would be broken.

• Imagine an Israel in which gender equality fully guides the state, and women are not involuntarily demeaned or otherwise disadvantaged based on religious dictates, whether on public bus lines, personal status proceedings, the Kotel [Western Wall] and other public venues.
. • Imagine an Israel in which the different Kashrut bodies operate side by side, and state intervention is limited to cases of fraud. Imagine that each restaurant, venue or food distributor may choose the type of Kashrut appropriate for them, visibly display the supervising authority, and every customer is free to choose the level of Kashrut that suits them.
• Imagine an Israel in which our children do not need to drive home after Friday night outings because public transportation is readily available, thereby drastically reducing the number of car accident fatalities. Such public transportation would be limited, and the unique character of the Sabbath preserved, but at the same time would afford those groups that need it most – youth, the elderly, the disabled and the poor – much needed mobility on the weekends.
• Imagine an Israel in which, when necessary, ancient graves found underground on sites of potential roads or major development projects – are moved respectfully to a different location, as allowed in Halakha, thereby preventing both lengthy delays and skyrocketing costs of important public works projects and the waste of precious public funds.
• Imagine the high quality of life and civil society Israel can achieve, when it finally truly realizes the fundamental promise made in the Declaration of Independence, to build Israel on the “foundation of freedom, justice, and peace according to the vision of the prophets of Israel”, and the principle of “freedom of religion and conscience”.

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