Stephen Wise Free Synagogue is amplifying the voices of those willing to speak up for Judaism’s central values.
As American liberalism has become increasingly hostile to Jewish values and as anti-Israel animosity intensifies, Stephen Wise Free Synagogue has created an education and advocacy initiative aimed at healing the fractured relationship between American liberal Jews and Israel.
Learn more about this initiative by reading our press release here.
Join us to read about the most pressing issues facing the Jewish people today. This group meets every other month on Thursday evenings. Dinner is available for order, or you may bring your own!
September 28, 2023: “Impossible Takes Longer: 75 Years After its Creation, Has Israel Fulfilled its Founders’ Dreams” by Daniel Gordis
November 2, 2023: “People Love Dead Jews: Reports from a Haunted Present” by Dara Horn
January 11, 2024: “Israel’s Declaration of Independence: The History and Political Theory of the Nation’s Founding Moment” by Neil Rogachevsky and Dov Zigler
March 7, 2024: “Bibi: My Story” by Benjamin Netanyahu
May 16, 2024: “The Woman Beyond the Sea” by Sarit Yishai-Levi
This program is free and open to the public.
For Grades 10–12 + Parents/Guardians
Israel is a hot-button issue. About as big as New Jersey, the country is covered in the media, at the U.N., and in public discourse to an extent far exceeding its size or population. With limitless information available about Israel from sources that range the political and ideological spectrum, it can be hard to break into the Israel conversation…
By exploring and gaining an understanding of the historical Jewish connections to Israel, the purpose and definition of Zionism, and what makes Israel unique — and not-so-special — among nations, learners will build a foundation upon which to layer their personal connections and convictions about Israel and become empowered to add their voices to the Israel dialogue.
During this three-session course, learners will explore primary sources — such as maps, videos, archaeology, articles and other texts — in small groups and engage with common criticisms of Israel and Zionism.
This class is open to members and non-members alike, but space is limited! Tuition is $60 for Stephen Wise Free Synagogue families and $120 for non-member families. The cost covers all members of your immediate family. Included in tuition are course materials.
For Teens in Grades 8–9
As Hannukah approaches, we often think about the ways we will benefit from the holiday gifts we will receive… Through the Teen Israel Giving Circle, you’ll have the opportunity to use your material and mental gifts to make a difference in the world!
Join other eighth and ninth graders to learn about some of Israel’s most pressing issues, identify the causes you care about most, pool your resources, work together, and become part of the solution!
This giving circle is open to member and non-member teens in grades 8–9. We ask each participant to contribute a (non-refundable) $50 to the circle upon joining. Donations are tax-deductible (although the Eventbrite service fee is not).
Attendance at all meetings is required.
Every other week, Rabbi Ammi Hirsch hosts intellectually honest conversations unpacking current events through the lens of Jewish wisdom.
Unbound by politics and untethered by party lines, Ammi and his expert guests discuss everything from race and antisemitism to all the other issues that keep you up at night. Recorded from New York’s Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, a historic Reform congregation deeply rooted in liberalism, support for Israel and social justice.
Re-CHARGING Reform Judaism Conference
MAY 31 – JUNE 1, 2023
Hosted at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue
in New York City
Re-CHARGING Reform Judaism is the exciting grassroots convening of clergy, educators and lay leaders to begin to address the existential challenges facing the North American Reform Movement. With a constructively critical eye, we will lay bare these key issues that require urgent attention:
- The growing distance between North American Liberal Jews and Israel, and their fraying connection with the concept of Jewish peoplehood;
- Rooting justice and tikkun olam efforts in Jewish tradition, and ensuring they are more inclusive of our congregations’ and communities’ wide range of perspectives and ideologies;
- Re-centering God and elevating creative ritual practice as core to Reform Judaism; and
- Prioritizing and funding Reform Jewish education.
This conference will bring together the concerned Jewish professionals who deal daily with the defining issues of our times. We need you and your voice in this process of Re-CHARGING the Reform Movement. Together, we will build a bright future.
Rabbi Tracy J. Kaplowitz, Ph.D., is our inaugural Marilyn G. and Joseph B. Schwartz Israel Fellow.
She came to Stephen Wise from JWB Jewish Chaplains Council, which ensures the quality of Jewish life for Jews in the U.S. military and the Veterans Administration. An experienced spiritual leader and educator, Rabbi Kaplowitz served as a reserve chaplain in the U.S. Air Force and on the professional staff of both the Schechter School of Long Island and the Jewish Education Project. She was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and earned her doctorate in the sociology of education from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.