Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Israelis, URJ and the struggle for the Kotel - by Vic Rosenthal

...Jacobs’ arrogance and presumption to pontificate about what Israel must do perhaps obscures the false assumption he makes about the “majority of Jews in Israel and the world.” Even the most secular Israelis don’t agree that American Reform Jews should decide what Israel does in the holy places that were regained with the blood of its soldiers. They may passionately hate the Rabbinate, but it is our Rabbinate that they hate.

Vic Rosenthal..
Abu Yehuda..
27 June '17..

(A number of excellent observations. Great post!)

The Kotel Hama’aravi (Western Wall) is not actually the holiest place in Judaism – that is the Temple Mount, the actual site of the First and Second Temples – but for various reasons it has become the holiest place at which it is practical for Jews to pray. It is administered by an organization called The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, chaired by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, “the Rabbi of the Kotel.” It is considered an Orthodox synagogue.

In 1988, the Women of the Wall (WoW) organization was founded in order to obtain the right for women to pray at the Kotel with Torah scrolls and wearing a tallit (prayer shawl). They did not ask for mixed prayer with men, just a relaxation of the rules concerning how they could pray with other women in the women’s section of the Kotel. This would not violate Orthodox halacha (religious law), but is in opposition to the rules established by the Rabbi of the Kotel and the customs of strictly observant Jews (among others, the prohibition against women chanting out loud in the presence of men).

Customs differ over time and place. While it can be shocking to see a custom that one has grown up with violated – consider the (non-religious) customs concerning gender and restrooms – changes can and do happen.

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