Statement From Conservative Movement on Violent Clashes at Kotel


This morning, while marching with Torah scrolls from the Dung Gate in the Old City in Jerusalem to the Kotel (Western Wall), Conservative and Reform leaders were attacked by members of the ultra-Orthodox community.

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Rabbinical Assembly condemn all those who would use physical force to prevent us and other egalitarian Jews from praying at the Kotel according to our custom. The behavior witnessed today by those who would use physical force has no place in a civil society, nor any context in Jewish values.

For years, we have worked diligently with the Israeli government to find a solution to make the Kotel a place of Jewish unity rather than Jewish discord. We rejoiced when an agreement to create a permanent space for pluralistic and egalitarian prayer at the Kotel was finally reached in January 2016. Ten months later, there is still no movement toward implementation.

The issue of the Kotel and religious pluralism in Israel is of primary concern to Diaspora Jews from around the world. Yesterday, at a special plenary session of the Knesset, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky cautioned, “We are saying to our people ‘give us time, be quiet’ – but while we are patient, time is running out.” He added that “while Jews around the world are fighting day and night against the de-legitimization of Israel, they find that they are themselves delegitimized by some people in this house.”

Israel is our homeland and all Jews have the right to pray at the Kotel. We will continue to exercise this right and demand that the Kotel agreement to be implemented as promised.

Rabbi Robert Slosberg Chair, The Masorti Foundation

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld Executive Vice President, Rabbinical Assembly

Rabbi Steven C. Wernick CEO, The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

Related Blog Posts