What does Progressive Judaism mean to us?
We, Netzer Germany e.V., stand for young, Progressive Judaism in Germany.
The equality for all people plays an important role in Progressive Judaism. People who belong to the LGBTQ* community are naturally belonging to our community. We make no distinction between patrilineal and matrilineal or halachic Jewish children. Everyone belongs to us. We try to create a safer space for everyone.
This is also reflected in our religious practice. Our Progressive Jewish religious orientation excludes discriminatory texts from the liturgy and includes the otherwise often overlooked important role of women in Jewish history. It is important to us that everyone can equally participate in worship and religious education. There is, for example, no gender separation in our services and everyone can play an active role in creating and leading them.
What does Reform Zionism mean?
For us as a Jewish community, the existence of the Jewish State of Israel is of particular importance. We see political Zionism as the logical answer to the nationalist development of the countries in the 18th century.
The Jewish state stands for Jewish defensiveness, which is made possible on the national level and has become a necessity due to the possibility of a relapse into barbarism, which was made evident by the German mania for annihilation.
Culturally and religiously, too, Israel is an important center of our Judaism. Israel, as the only Jewish country, gives Jews the opportunity to live in a society in which Jewish traditions and festivals are naturally part of everyday life.
The word Reform Zionism refers to the transfer of the values of Reform Judaism (Progressive Judaism) to Zionism. In concrete terms, this means that we are aware of the problem – Jewish vs. democratic state – and advocate that both components are compatible with each other. All people in the national territory should live together on an equal footing, including people of different ethnic backgrounds, religions, sexual identities and religious denominations.
What defines us as a youth movement?
We are a youth movement for Jewish children and youth aged 8-17 who are cared for by young Jewish madrichim:ot (leaders). We want to create a safer space for children and youth to be able to form their identity. Youth empowermentis of particular importance to us.
We, the NeGeV Madrichim:ot (youth leaders), are a young team of volunteers who do club work at Netzer Germany e.V. and do everything we can to enable the children to have a great and instructive time.
We offer age-appropriate programs that work independently from the Jewish community structures (congregations) and is very popular among the children and their parents. With us, the children and youth can experience Jewish traditions, religion and culture and learn together with their peers.
Nevertheless, our goal is of course to be in a positive and constructive exchange with the Progressive Jewish congregations and, for example, to carry out joint mini-machanot.
We are aware that one of the main aspects for the children is having friends of the same age around them with whom they can share what they have experienced and with whom everything is really fun. The Netzer machanot offer an opportunity to bring Jewish children and youth together in a way that would otherwise not be possible, e.g. due to age structures in the communities or the geographical spread all over the country.