The Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) was established in 1978 at a Biennial of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now URJ) after nearly 50 years of growing identification by Reform Jews with the national aspirations of the Jewish people and ultimately with the State of Israel.
Inspired by the vision of Rabbi Roland Gittelsohn, and guided by ideological structures shaped by Rabbi David Polish, ARZA was created out of the recognition that in Jewish tradition there is no division between the religious domainand the polity of the Jewish people, and that the religious mandate of our prophetic and rabbinic traditions requires all Jews to participate in the issues and institutions that affect Jewish existence.
ARZA sees Jewish nationalism as a seamless aspect of 21st century Reform Jewish identities, and through instrumentalities such as ARZA's Institute for Reform Zionism, seeks contemporary understandings of Zionism and of Jewish peoplehood.
A membership organization, ARZA is an affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism (the umbrella organization for the more than 920 Reform synagogues in North America). ARZA represents the URJ in its dealings with the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency for Israel, and is a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and of the URJ's Commission on Social Action.
ARZA is a founder of the Israel Religious Action Center, and through its membership dues and advocacy activities is a major source of financial support for the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism.