Inclusive Simchat Torah Flags from Masorti Olami

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There is a 300-year history of Simchat Torah flags being used to celebrate the giving of the Torah. But as religious life in Israel has become dominated by the fervently Orthodox, it has become impossible to find flags that depict anything other than men and boys or male rabbis. Rabbi Tzvi Graetz, executive director of Masorti Olami, decided to change that with a new flag emphasizing the Masorti values of inclusion and Zionism.

The look of the flag reflects the values of our modern day kehillot as grandparents, parents and children dance together in a circle that represents the passing of our tradition from one generation to another. All are included regardless of race, gender or disability. On the right side, past generations witness the centrality of the State of Israel – from Moses to Herzl. Twenty countries where there are Masorti kehillot – in Europe, Latin America, North America, the FSU, and Africa – are represented by their flags.

Over 17,000 flags were sold in the first five weeks, 10,000 to North America and the rest to Israel and other communities around the world. The flags were shipped with a kit for educational activities using the flag as a trigger for discussions about Jewish identity, Am Yisrael and Jewish history. Flags for next year will go on sale at the beginning of 2013.