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Showing posts from February, 2016

The Kotel Deal Isn't Good Enough

When the Israeli cabinet voted 15-5 last month to approve a new egalitarian section of the Western Wall, it was hailed as a landmark decision, a triumph for the cause of religious pluralism in Israel.   After years of struggle by Women of the Wall and other progressive Jewish groups against ultra-Orthodoxy at the Kotel, it was indeed a noteworthy milestone. My celebration of this important decision, however, was more muted than many of my Conservative and Reform colleagues. The religious symbolism of the Kotel is undeniable. For thousands of years, it was a symbol of destruction and exile, a “Wailing Wall.” After 1967, that symbolism shifted to one of the triumph of the Jewish people in returning to our ancient land. The prayers shifted from lamentation to celebration of bnai mitzvah and other life-cycle events and daily minyanim. With its bustling religious life, the Kotel eventually became a kind of national Orthodox synagogue: not only a symbol of our ancient past, but now a symbo…