Reform Judaism in Israel

Rabbi Kariv provides a candid look into the social, political and religious life of Reform Judaism in Israel.

Rabbi Gilad Kariv is a Reform leader and attorney in Israel, serving as the Executive Director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMRPJ).

Rabbi Kariv was born and educated in Tel-Aviv. His involvement with the Reform Movement began in High School, when he joined Congregation Beit Daniel, the Center of Progressive movement in Tel-Aviv. Once completing his secondary education at the “Lady Davis” High-School, Gilad volunteered for a year of service (Shnat Shirut) in the Israeli Scouts, and worked on establishing educational “Nahal” groups.

Kariv served in the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Corps under the “Haman Talpiot” program. Following five years of service, during which he completed with honors the officers’ program, Kariv went to study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 2001 he earned his bachelor’s degree in Law and Jewish Studies. Between 2001-2002 he interned in Supreme Court of the State Attorney Office. In 2003 he received his master’s degree in Jewish studies at the Hebrew Union College (HUC) in Jerusalem. In 2004, he was certified as a lawyer by the Israel Bar Association. In 2008, Kariv received a second Master’s in Constitutional Law from Northwestern University in Chicago, through a combined program with Tel-Aviv University.

During his academic studies, Kariv established the Progressive Movement’s student network on campuses around the country. Following the economic sanctions of 2002, Kariv was one of the founding members of the Social Organizations Forum, and was active in several social initiatives, such as the single mothers protest. In 2003, Kariv was ordained as a Reform rabbi at HUC-JIR. Among his posts, Kariv served as a leader at Congregation Beit Daniel in Tel Aviv until 2008.

Between 2003-2009, Kariv served as the director of the Israel Religious Action Center and headed the Reform Movement’s public and legal initiatives in Israel on issues of freedom of religion, the relation between religion and state, conversion, and many other social causes. Kariv initiated the establishment of Keren Be’chavod (“Be’chavod Fund) – the Reform Movement’s humanitarian aid foundation and “Kehilat Tzedek” – the training and guidance center for people of all Jewish sects in the field of social action.

In 2009, Kariv was appointed to be the executive director of the IMRPJ. Since then, he has worked to expand the work of the Movement, advance its stance among the Israeli public, establish new Reform congregations around the country, and obtain government recognition of the Movement’s activities.