Statement on Kotel Prayer Service


We wish to offer a Kol HaKavod to the leaders, staff and participants who organized and took part in today’s prayer service at the Kotel (Western Wall). Nearly 500 participants joined this last-minute event to draw attention to the fact that the Government of Israel has not yet begun implementing the agreement to create a permanent space for pluralistic and egalitarian prayer at the Kotel. After three years of negotiation, the implementation of this historic plan stalled when ultra-Orthodox politicians and officials objected to key provisions including official government recognition of the Conservative/Masorti and Reform movements. Tens of thousands of North American Jews will travel to Israel this summer and similarly visit the Kotel to pray. World Jewry will hold the Israeli government accountable for fulfilling its promise.

We appreciate Prime Minister Netanyahu’s response to the prayer service that “the unity of the Jewish people is a source of our strength.” We believe the Jewish people have thrived throughout history precisely because of their ability to welcome a wide range of ideas and the people who hold them. We continue to support the agreement as passed by the government on January 31 and look forward to the implementation of “One Wall for One People,” a Jewish holy site at the Kotel that recognizes and respects the many and various religious traditions of world Jewry.

Yizhar Hess, CEO Masorti Movement in Israel Rabbi Julie Schonfeld Executive Vice President, Rabbinical AssemblyRabbi Steven C. Wernick CEO, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

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