The South African Association of Progressive Rabbis (SAAPR) and the South African Centre for Religious Equality and Diversity (SACRED) celebrate the significant resolution by the Israeli government, legalising and officially recognising the status of egalitarian prayer at the Kotel / Western Wall.
According to that resolution, a new pluralistic prayer section will be constructed alongside the existing Orthodox, gender-segregated ones.
That historic resolution is a result of three decades of struggle by the Progressive and Conservative movements, representing a majority of the world’s Jews, led by the courageous Woman of the Wall movement, whose leaders defied arrest and harassment over many years. We are proud to stand in comradeship with them.
Non-Orthodox Jews all over the world have been the largest supporters of Israel over the years. Yet we have faced continued religious discrimination in Israel in every realm of religious life: we cannot marry or bury our own members, we have limited or no access to holy places, we are left off educational and communal budgets, and face many other forms of state recognition. This last victory is just one sign of the increasing power our movements are gaining, as people move away from discriminative religious practices, choosing better and more enlightened form of our ancient faith.
Here in South Africa, the Progressive movement and its Rabbis will continue to work for equity and recognition for all Jews in the community inclusive of gender, sexual orientation or affiliation.
“Rejoice and delight, daughter of Zion, for I come to dwell at thee”
Rabbi Julia Margolis Rabbi Greg Alexander
Chair Person, SACRED Chair Person, SAAPR