It’s easy to dismiss the antics of Warrior of the Wall Anat Hoffman. Her guerrilla gatherings of women in vocal prayer services at the Kosel Maaravi, or Western Wall, in defiance of an Israeli Supreme Court decision and in affront to the traditional Jewish men and women who most frequent the prayer site, are legend.
In a packed synagogue hall on Monday night, Nov. 26, Israel’s Consul General David Siegel posed a question: How many people present care deeply about religious pluralism in Israel?
Sitting in his office 20 feet above the Western Wall Plaza, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz is unperturbed by the simmering tensions below.
The arrest of Israeli feminist Anat Hoffman at the Western Wall last month sent ripples of alarm across the Jewish world, and leaders in Los Angeles will address their concerns about religious pluralism in Israel to Los Angeles’ Israeli Consul General in a public forum Nov. 26 at Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills.
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, said American Jews should no longer acquiesce to Israeli state-sanctioned discrimination against women and non-Orthodox Jews.
Last week’s episode was hardly the first time Israeli police stopped activist Anat Hoffman while she was leading a women’s prayer service at the Western Wall in violation of Israeli law.
Israel's attorney general has agreed to pay the salaries of non-Orthodox rabbis who lead their communities.
American Jews are letting down Israel in the short run by staying away during the current unrest, says a top Progressive rabbi, and in the long run by not fighting harder for religious pluralism in the Jewish state.