You may know by now about my great excitement, and our celebration with the “Women of the Wall at their victory” this past Sunday,
Rabbi Denise Eger, the current president of the Reform movement’s Central Conference of American Rabbis (the oldest and largest rabbinical organization in North America). Recently wrote a very interesting article in the Jewish world magazine “The Kotel compromise: A time for rejoicing”. She wrote that the negotiations are a victory even in compromise.
“For the first time, the Israeli government recognized the authentic ritual and religious needs of those of us who believe in egalitarian prayer and women’s equality. This is historic because the combined voices of interfaith cooperation from the U.S. and Israeli liberal communities, demanded the Israeli government acknowledge that the Jewish world in Israel and outside of Israel is diverse. There are many ways to be authentically Jewish. “
I strongly agree that there is more than one way to be a Jew, from personal experience I am very proud to be part of our movement, all it stands for, and am proud of being a second generation Reform Rabbi, following my Mothers footsteps in this movement. It would still be naive of me to say there aren’t many challenges, there are still many for us to deal with. The building of this new egalitarian space has not really begun yet, and in many senses it’s a long way off. Unfortunately with all the exciting news we received out of this week from Israel, there was a less happy event that you may or may not have taken note of.
Deputy Israeli Education Minister Meir Porush, stepped up the tone of recent attacks in Israel against the feminist prayer group Women of the Wall, saying “The woman of the wall should be “thrown to the dogs. The Reform are responsible for the terrible intermarriage that we’ve been witnessing in the United States.” Let me just remind you that Meir Porush – the deputy education minister, is no less than expressing himself like a typical anti-Semite,” he is quoted by the NRG news site as saying: “Only in Israel can a deputy minister give voice to invective against other Jews and remain in office. My sincere hope, is that something will be done urgently and this kind of minister will not be representing Jewish people in the Knesset.
With all the bitterness this kind of rhetoric sends out, lets us celebrate and rejoice with gratitude the wonderful work of Anat Hoffman and many others who have worked so hard to bring this victory to our movement and our faith. May we all be able to pray in the near future in an egalitarian prayer space in the Kotel.
Rabbi Julia Margolis