Evolution of Am Yisrael in Reform Judaism

2. We recognize in the Bible the record of the consecration of the Jewish people to its mission as the priest of the one God.

5. We recognize, in the modern era of universal culture of heart and intellect, the approaching of the realization of Israel s great Messianic hope for the establishment of the kingdom of truth, justice, and peace among all men. We consider ourselves no longer a nation, but a religious community, and therefore expect neither a return to Palestine, nor a sacrificial worship under the sons of Aaron, nor the restoration of any of the laws concerning the Jewish state.

7. We acknowledge that the spirit of broad humanity of our age is our ally in the fulfillment of our mission, and therefore we extend the hand of fellowship to all who cooperate with us in the establishment of the reign of truth and righteousness among men.

The Pittsburgh Platform of 1885

5. Israel. Judaism is the soul of which Israel is the body. Living in all parts of the world, Israel has been held together by the ties of a common history, and above all, by the heritage of faith. Though we recognize in the group loyalty of Jews who have become estranged from our religious tradition, a bond which still unites them with us, we maintain that it is by its religion and for its religion that the Jewish people has lived. The non-Jew who accepts our faith is welcomed as a full member of the Jewish community. In all lands where our people live, they assume and seek to share loyally the full duties and responsibilities of citizenship and to create seats of Jewish knowledge and religion. In the rehabilitation of Palestine, the land hallowed by memories and hopes, we behold the promise of renewed life for many of our brethren. We affirm the obligation of all Jewry to aid in its upbuilding as a Jewish homeland by endeavoring to make it not only a haven of refuge for the oppressed but also a center of Jewish culture and spiritual life. Throughout the ages it has been Israel's mission to witness to the Divine in the face of every form of paganism and materialism. We regard it as our historic task to cooperate with all men in the establishment of the kingdom of God, of universal brotherhood, Justice, truth and peace on earth. This is our Messianic goal.

The Columbus Platform of 1937

2. The People Israel. The Jewish people and Judaism defy precise definition because both are in the process of becoming. Jews, by birth or conversion, constitute an uncommon union of faith and peoplehood. Born as Hebrews in the ancient Near East, we are bound together like all ethnic groups by language, land, history, culture, and institutions. But the people of Israel is unique because of its involvement with God and its resulting perception of the human condition. Throughout our long history our people has been inseparable from its religion with its messianic hope that humanity will be redeemed.

Reform Judaism: A Centenary Perspective of 1976

We are Israel, a people aspiring to holiness, singled out through our ancient covenant and our unique history among the nations to be witnesses to God's presence. We are linked by that covenant and that history to all Jews in every age and place.

A Statement of Principles for Reform Judaism of 1999

Our God and God of our ancestors-

We are Your people; and You are our God.

We are Your children; and You are our father, our mother.

We are the people who serve You; and You call us to serve.

We are Your community; and You are our portion.

We are Your legacy; and You are our purpose.

We are Your flock; and You are our shepherd.

We are Your vineyard; and You watch over us.

We are Your work; and You are our maker.

We are Your beloved; and You are our lover.

We are Your treasure; and You are the one we cherish.

We are Your people; and You reign over us.

We offer You our words; and You offer us Yours.

So forgive us, pardon us, lead us to atonement.

WE ARE YOUR PEOPLE This medieval poem is based on a verse in Song of Songs, "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine" (2:16). Its array of metaphors captures the sublime bond between human and divine; its images evoke nuances of love, loyalty, and nurturing. The language ("We ... and You ...")may remind us of the "I-Thou" philosophy of Martin Buber (1878-196s), which speaks of a relationship grounded in mutuality and direct address, and which, in Buber's words, "can only be spoken with the whole being." In "We Are Your People" the first-person plural replaces ''I'' because this prayer would have us affirm, with our whole being, the ideas of peoplehood and covenant between God and Israel. It is we, not isolated individuals, who celebrate our bond with the divine Thou.

Mishkan HaNefesh Yom Kippur, Page 310

Bar'chu et Adonai ham’vorach.

Baruch Adonai ham’vorach l’olam va-ed.
Baruch atah, Adonai
Eloheinu, Melech haolam,
asher bachar banu mikol haamim,
v’natan lanu et Torato.
Baruch atah, Adonai, notein haTorah.

Bless Adonai who is blessed.

Blessed is Adonai who is blessed now and forever.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe,

who has chosen us from among the peoples,

and given us the Torah. Blessed are You, Adonai, who gives the Torah.

Blessing Before Reading of Torah