Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted a pluralistic study session at his Residence on Monday, July 31, 2017, the eve of Tisha B'Av. The theme of the session was the Beit Midrash, or the House of Study, as a place of both debate and harmony. This marks the third year in a row that President Rivlin has hosted a Tisha B'Av study session.
Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Dean of HUC-JIR's Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem, served as the representative of the Reform Movement. "President Rivlin has fought mightily for more productive and respective dialogue amoung all Israelis," stated Rabbi Kelman.
Rabbi Kelman was among four individuals leading Jewish studies institutions and programs, including a Conservative rabbi, a Modern Orthodox master teacher who runs a girls' Yeshivah, and a secular educator who directs the secular Yeshivah in Beersheba.
During the study session, Rabbi Kelman shared, "Rabbi Nelson Glueck, former President of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, had been invited to President Shazar's home in 1967 for the first Shabbat after the War. In his memoir, Dr. Glueck describes the sense of hope and unity at the gathering, including the warmth that the Chief Rabbi of England Immanuel Jakobovits showed him."
In addition to President Rivlin, Natan Sharansky, Chair of the Jewish Agency, and Elyakim Rubenstein, Vice President of the Supreme Court of Israel, were present at the study session.
In 2016, Rabbi Dalia Marx, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Liturgy and Midrash, represented the Reform Movement at President Rivlin's Tisha B'Av study session.