I am dismayed by the polarizing decisions made recently by the Israeli government concerning Nashot Hakotel (Women of the Wall) and on conversion. Please read this editorial piece by Lesley Sachs of Nashot Hakotel.
I had the opportunity to hear Lesley Sachs in Seattle a couple of months ago. It did not appear that she or anyone else saw this decision coming. So much progress had been made. But a short term political decision has evaporated any goodwill that had been built up by years of negotiation and activism.
Unfortunately, these two decisions have driven a wedge between the Israeli government and the much of the American Jewish Diaspora. I am a longtime supporter of Women of the Wall. I have prayed with them in the past. I raise my voice alongside their voices in support of overturning the shortsighted and hypocritical decisions by the Netanyahu government to cave into the demands of the ultra Orthodox parties in the Knesset.
I am sharing the mission of Women of the Wall, so you can understand the importance of their work. I urge you to support them at this difficult time. A link to their sight is below the mission statement.
As Women of the Wall, our central mission is to attain social and legal recognition of our right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah, collectively and aloud, at the Western Wall.
We work to further our mission through social advocacy, education and empowerment.
In our social advocacy work, we aim to change the status-quo that is currently preventing women from being able to pray freely at the Western Wall. This goal has tremendous ramifications for women’s rights in Judaism and in Israel, and must be achieved through social advocacy in order to raise awareness and change social perception of these issues.
We take it upon ourselves to educate Jewish women and the public about the social, political and personal ramifications of limiting or eliminating women’s right to pray as a group at a holy site. When the law and society silence women in prayer – literally, publicly and deliberately – it is a violation of civil rights, human rights and religious freedom. Education is the key to changing perspectives, laws and lives.
Every time we meet to pray, we empower and encourage Jewish women to embrace religion freely, in their own way. We stand proudly and strongly in the forefront of the movement for religious pluralism in Israel, with the hope to inspire and empower women from all over the world and across the spectrum of Jewish movements to find their spiritual voices and create meaningful Jewish identities.
With this powerful mission before us, our vision is to strengthen and expand our organization, to reach out and influence policy makers and leaders and to demand full access for women to prayer at the Western Wall. In addition, Women of the Wall works to expand our network of supporters and partners around the world who will advocate and take action with us.