Regev to talk Israel, Jewish identity at Everett Jewish Life Center this week

Bringing a background in Jewish studies as well as law, Rabbi Uri Regev will present a lecture and a Brown Bag at 3:30 p.m. today at the Everett Jewish Life Center.

Regev will speak to the new government in Israel and address whether it bodes well for religious freedom in Israel.

Posing the oft-asked question of the plausibility of an Israeli state that is both religious and democratic, Regev will argue that these conflicts affect almost all facets of Israeli life: from security to the economy, from the Jewish identity to marriage equality, from gender issues to education, from civil liberties to Israel-Diaspora relations, from Shabbat to Kashrut and beyond.

Regev will use his experience from heading Hiddush – Freedom of Religion for Israel to shape the argument and to provide an overview of the issues, players and major battles that have been fought in the war for religious freedom and equality.

Personal experience from his role as the executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the public and advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel and president of the World Union for Progressive Judaism will come into play during Regev’s lecture.

At 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Regev will present a Brown Bag discussion covering the Jewish identity and one of the most important questions confronting the Jewish people and the state of Israel: “Who is a Jew?”

The discussion will focus on the ever-changing meanings of the Jewish identity and how it plays out in the hands of Israeli politicians and the Rabbinate.

Delving into the threat this unanswered question represents, Regev will ask participants to focus on the Israeli diaspora and how the mixing of religion and politics challenge the very foundations of civil liberties and religious pluralism.

Regev has written extensively on the subject, arguing that, if not challenged effectively, this pattern could cause the majority of American Jewry’s next generation to be treated by Israel as non-Jews or second-class citizens.

The discussion will address efforts that have been undertaken in Israel and the Diaspora to advocate for the changes that are needed to ensure inclusiveness and religious pluralism