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Orthodox V Reform

Yom Chamishi, 7th of Av, 5776
Thursday, August 11, 2016

Seven score years ago the Jewish people in Germany broke into two groups when Orthodox Jews officially separated from the general Jewish community.1 This division in the Jewish nation happened in reaction to Reform Judaism, a movement to bring Judaism up to date with the social and intellectual developments of the modern world. Since that time, other Jewish movements have formed, partly in reaction to the Orthodox/Reform split. While in many ways the Jewish people has remained one nation, the Orthodox and progressive movements have such different philosophies that in some ways we are a nation divided.



Now 140 years later, the two parts of our nation are still locked in a struggle to resolve the differences that led to their formation. One of the main battlegrounds in this conflict is the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, which is, ironically, the one place where all of the Jewish people should be able to come together as one. The Western Wall is a remnant of the Temple in Jerusalem, built as a recreation of our nation's birth at Mt. Sinai, where thousands of years ago all of our people stood united, and in the merit of that unity had an encounter with the One G-d.

The Jewish people were charged with a mission at Mt. Sinai - to be a mamleches kohanim, a kingdom of priests, and a goy kadosh, a holy nation.2 To show the world how a people should live - in relation to G-d, and in relation to each other. As part of the former role, we observe the ritual of Shabbat each week, recognizing the Creator of the world. To fulfill the latter role, we fight for social justice, treating our fellows as we ourselves would like to be treated.

While in some ways it is an oversimplification, the division between Orthodox and Reform Jews can be seen as a split between those Jews focused on G-d and ritual observance and those Jews focused on their fellow human beings and civil law. And so, in the conflict at the Western Wall, Orthodox Jews attack Reform Jews for their relative lack of emphasis on G-d and ritual. And Reform Jews rail against Orthodox Jews for not recognizing equality and human rights. Neither group is wrong, and neither group is right - we are simply two parts of one people.

Although both philosophies are part of Judaism, I want to suggest that ultimately one is more important than the other. In this month called Av (Hebrew for "Father"), consider how G-d sees us.3 As any parent knows, if you come home and find your kids doing something bad together, even something disrespectful to you, that is unacceptable, and everyone needs to sit down for a long talk. But if you come home and your kids are all fighting with each other, that is simply intolerable, and it needs to stop right away. So, for G-d's sake as well as our own, let's focus for the time being on how we're treating each other. And, maybe then we can all talk about Shabbat and other observances.

About a week ago, on Rosh Chodesh (the first day of the month) of Av, I went to the monthly Women of the Wall (WOW) prayer service. I've been a regular at these events for five months now, and there's always conflict, but this month was especially bad. The ultra-Orthodox protestors in the women's section blew whistles so loud4 that it became unbearable for some WOW members. And in the outer plaza, where the men stood, the shoving was more violent than I've ever seen. At one point, soldiers moved people to either side, separating the Orthodox and liberal camps. I was the last one left, and a secular soldier asked me something in Hebrew and then motioned with his hands - this way or that?

An Orthodox yeshiva student had asked me the same question at another event a couple months before. In the month of Sivan, the month of our rendezvous with G-d at Mt. Sinai, the Reform and Conservative movements held a mixed-gender afternoon prayer service at the Western Wall. In what became a rowdy family reunion, the Orthodox gathered next to the liberal Jews on the plaza, heckling and pushing. As a liberal Orthodox Jew, I stood in the middle, prompting the student's question. "Both," I answered, "I want everyone to be able to come here."

I didn't realize it then, but for the brief time of the service, everyone was there. When the Reform and Conservative Jews first came onto the plaza, they were singing. The Orthodox charged at them, and then, stopped, and - started singing their own song. Toward the end of the service, some of the Orthodox sang the song Toras HaShem Temima (G-d's Torah is Perfect) while the Reform and Conservatives sang Aleinu (Us). We had different tunes, even completely different songs, but we were undoubtedly both Jewish groups - two distinct, yet complimentary parts of one people singing to G-d there at the foot of the Wall.



I think this could be how we really complete the mission given to us at Mt. Sinai. Not by being one big mamleches kohanim and goy kadosh, but by being a mamleches kohanim AND a goy kadosh, two - or more - different parts joined together as one. That's how we show all of the peoples in G-d's very diverse world how to do it, by demonstrating that different groups can join together as one, completing each other. Orthodox AND Reform, Jews AND Muslims, Women AND Men.

Sometimes there's a little friction when two people are trying to come together. Like two fifth-graders with crushes on each other, we fight or act avoidant, unaware of our real feelings. So often it's the person who condemns the loudest that has a hidden liking for their object of scorn. So I'm not worried about the whistlers at WOW events. Eventually we'll break through the conflict and avoidance and see that we really do want to connect.

And on that day, let it be soon, all of our different voices will join together in a new song, a great symphony of many distinct parts, a beautiful combination of countless unique instruments that, some of us didn't even realize we were playing. I'm looking forward to that day, and to hearing that new, most beautiful song of all. But until then, I'd like to offer an oldie. Well, it's an oldie where I come from.

My country, tis of thee, sweet Land of liberty, of thee I sing

Land where my fathers died, Land of the pilgrim's pride

From every Mountainside, let freedom ring!




1 Ellenson, David. (1990). Rabbi Esriel Hildesheimer and the Creation of a Modern Jewish Orthodoxy. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press. p. 87. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.il/books?id=B7fRPeByuzsC&pg=PA88&dq=orthodox+secession+1876&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiCkP3R_bjOAhUoAcAKHXG_CzgQ6AEIEjAC#v=onepage&q=orthodox%20secession%201876&f=false
2 Shemos (Exodus) 19:6
3 This is a common analogy, not my original thought.
4 Glassman, T. (2016, August 5). WATCH: Ultra-Orthodox Protestors Heckle Praying ‘Women of the Wall’ Members. The Forward. Retrieved from http://forward.com/news/346939/watch-ultra-orthodox-protestors-heckle-praying-women-of-the-wall-members/

Long Time, No See

Yom Sheini, 12th of Tammuz, 5776
Sunday, July 17, 2016

A human being is like a letter of the alphabet: to produce a word, it must combine with another. - Mandelstamm

Last month, in A Time for Love, I wrote about the special time for achdus that comes each year with the holiday of Shavuos. That spirit of love and unity fills the entire month of Sivan, the third month of the Jewish calendar. The number three is closely related to Shavuos, as the Talmud says, "[G-d spoke] to a three-fold people through a third-born on the third day in the third month.”1 So too the Jews can be said to have achieved three-fold unity on Shavuos.2 It was an easy level of achdus to reach, though, because it was mainly G-d Who brought us together at Mt. Sinai.

In this month of Tammuz, the fourth month of the year, we have the potential for a much greater degree of achdus - on the level of four-fold unity - but it's much harder for us to achieve. It's so difficult, in fact, that when our ancestors had the same opportunity, thousands of years ago, they blew it. The united, three-fold Jewish people stood around Mt. Sinai for almost 40 days, waiting for Moshe to come back from meeting with G-d. Moshe, though he was only one person, was the fourth, unique part of the nation. The Jews waited, and waited, and waited, and then - Moshe was late.

Our tradition is that only a little more time and we would've had it. Moshe, the spiritual link to G-d, would've returned to the people with the two stone tablets, and that powerful combination of leader and people would go on to fulfill G-d's plan perfectly. Instead - panic, and the making of the golden calf - and it wouldn't be until the seventh month of Tishrei that the Jews would have repented, put the pieces back together, and finally achieved that greater degree of unity. But this fourth month of Tammuz, which sizzles with potential, ended up being a month of tragedy.

Yet there is a happy ending. In the seventh month, during the holiday of Sukkos, we do the mitzvah (commandment) of joining together four species (kinds) of plants, in a beautiful expression of four-fold Jewish unity. We bring together in our hands the lulav (date palm branch), hadassim (myrtle twigs), aravos (brook willows), and esrog (citron fruit). There are a number of ideas about what the four species mean in terms of unity. Some say they relate to different parts of a person - the spine, mouth, eyes, and heart - that we must use together in the right way.3 Or they could refer to various kinds of Jews that need to join together to be complete.4


Whatever meaning one gives to the four species, they have a structure that teaches us something about achieving four-fold unity. We start, as in the third month of Sivan, and Shavuos, by putting together the three similar plants - the lulav, hadassim, and aravos. Because they're so similar, that's the easy part. Then we add the very different fourth part, the esrog. As anyone who has ever held all four species during morning prayers on Sukkos knows - that's much more difficult. This principle - combining three similar parts with one very different part - is the main idea and challenge in achieving four-fold unity.


One Theory of Four


We can learn more about four-fold unity, and see how hard it is to achieve, by looking at an example in a different field. In science, the famous theory of relativity by Albert Einstein is also about joining three like parts with one very different part. Until about 100 years ago, people thought the world had only three dimensions - length, width, and height. Einstein showed that time, which people had always thought of as something completely different, is actually a fourth dimension, just like space. Thus Einstein joined the three parts of space with one part of time in a four-fold unity.

  

People can only see the world in three dimensions, so there is no way to know what time "looks like." Einstein and others figured out that time is a fourth dimension using mathematics. For example, the theory of relativity says that we can find the distance to any place in space and time with this math equation:

distance2 = x2 + y2 + z2 - (ct)2

Notice how the four parts of this equation look very similar. The three parts for space (x, y, and z) and one part for time (t) all have the same form. Because of this similarity, scientists know that time really is another dimension, just like space.

But there is one obvious difference in the time part of the equation - it has the letter "c" and the letter "t." That "c" stands for the speed of light, which is a huge number. The time dimension is very different than the three space dimensions because it includes the speed of light in this way. But, even with that big difference, all four are still dimensions. And each is one part in a four-fold unity.

Einstein's joining of space and time led to even bigger ideas about unity in the physical world. Scientists now know that there are four forces of physics: three similar forces and one very different force.5 It turns out that one four-fold unity can lead to another, even bigger four-fold unity.


Four Quartets


In the Jewish and wider world today, there are some very clear examples of groups that could be joined in a four-fold unity. The most obvious case may be the four denominations of religious observance. In America,6 we have the three liberal camps - Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist - and the one Orthodox camp. The liberal movements have already joined together in a three-fold unity that they call pluralism, the view that there is more than one way to be Jewish. The Orthodox, in contrast, say that their way is the only way to be Jewish. People have struggled for over a century to unify these four parts of the Jewish nation, with little success.


The ideas above about four-fold unity could help solve this achdus problem. Part of the solution may be to realize that the Orthodox will never see themselves as only another denomination in a pluralist group. They are like the esrog of the four species, or time, the fourth dimension. Yes, only one part of the Jewish nation, but a very special, unique part. However, they could still come to accept that there are other parts to the Jewish people, even another group of parts, which for certain reasons are very different from them.7

The structure of four-fold unity goes beyond the Jewish people to the greater family of nations - for instance, to the relationship between Jews and Palestinians. One sad example of this larger-scale achdus took place in the summer of 2014, when the Jewish family mourned the loss of three boys - Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach. Their kidnapping and murder united the Jewish people in a profound way, and each year around the time of Shavuos and Sivan we observe Unity Day to commemorate our loss and work for achdus.


But there is an opportunity for much greater unity, and peace, if we remember our loss that summer of a fourth boy. Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian, was kidnapped and murdered a few weeks later, in Tammuz, as an act of revenge by Jewish terrorists. Abu Khdeir's murder showed, by the worst sort of tragedy, that we are all part of one people. If it can happen through terrible loss, then it can also happen by coming together in mutual acceptance and a desire to live in peace. Perhaps someday soon the parents of all four boys will be able to come together in their shared grief, and transform it into a much greater love for all of us.

In Israel, and especially in Jerusalem, the conflict between peoples goes beyond Jews and Arabs to include the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. While some people in each group want the Holy City for their faith alone, the fact is that all three religions have valid claims to Jerusalem. Whether they've been there for 1,300, 2,000, or 3,000 years, all three faiths have been connected to Jerusalem for a long time.





Time has shown that even when different nations make peace with each other, we can still lack equality and unity in our most basic relationship: the connection between women and men. According to Jewish tradition, gender inequality began almost at the beginning of time. But our tradition is also that women and men will ultimately be restored to full equality. We see this struggle happening today at the heart of Jerusalem, the Western Wall of the Temple Mount, where the Women of the Wall strive for equal rights to full Jewish observance and closeness to G-d.

I think the unity between women and men, or any intimate couple, is so difficult to achieve because it's a deeper level of connection. It isn't three similar types combining, or even the more difficult four-fold unity, but two very different yet completely equal halves joining to make one. Like the "c" and the "t" nestled together within that special fourth dimension, it's a much deeper and more powerful bond.

In A Time for Love, I said that Shavuos is like the wedding day between G-d and the Jewish people. Sukkos, when we finally achieve four-fold unity, is like the week-long honeymoon. But there is still one more holiday, the quiet fourth yearly festival of Shemini Atzeres.8 Called the "eighth day of assembly," it's one day after Sukkos, when we come inside from the sukkah, like a couple returning home to start their ongoing life together. If Shavuos is "the time of our love," Shemini Atzeres is "the time of our intimacy." It's only one day, but it represents the love that's become timeless.

In this hot and strained month of Tammuz, we're almost guaranteed to lose the love that we've waited for so long. Each year we go through the same cycle, and this time is about loss. But we also know that by year's end we will put the pieces back together and win that higher love. Like Moshe and the Jewish people, G-d and all of us, one day we'll take that love we had in that one place and time and make it into a love that lasts l'olam va'ed (everywhere and always).





1 Shabbat 88a
2 One view is that the three parts were Kohen, Levi, and Israel, but really those groups did not exist at that time. I'm saying that the number three characterizes much of Shavuos and the month of Sivan.
3 Vayikra Rabba 30:12
4 Vayikra Rabba 30:14
5 The three similar forces are: the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, and electromagnetism. The one very different force is gravity. However, no one knows how to unify them with mathematics yet.
6 In Israel, it's the chareidi (ultra-Orthodox), dati (national religious), masorti (conservative), and chiloni (secular) groups, but the 3-and-1 split is not as clear.
7 I may write an article explaining these reasons for next month's 140-year (seven score years ago) anniversary of the Orthodox secession in Germany. I think if people understood more of why the Orthodox-Reform split happened they could accept the validity of the various denominations today.
8 The day is celebrated as a double holiday with Simchas Torah, the end and new beginning of the yearly Torah reading cycle.

A Time for Love

Yom Shishi, 4th of Sivan, 5776
Friday, June 10, 2016

I was so shocked by the proposal to split the Western Wall into two separate prayer spaces, and the bitter debate that followed, that I decided to come up to Jerusalem to see if I could do something for the sake of achdus. The Kotel (the Wall) is the one place where every Jew should be welcome, and equally so. I may be only one person, but in a Jewish world so focused on division I am one voice for unity, and at this urgent time we need every person we can get, here, at the Wall.

I came to the Kotel at night time on Rosh Chodesh (the first day of the month) of Adar II. At night, the Wall is crowded with ultra-Orthodox Jews in black-and-white, studying Torah or swaying in prayer. I stood in the outer plaza for the longest time, trying to decide "which Kotel" to go to. Do I express support for the liberal movements and go to the southern end? Or do I go to the place that has always been the Kotel for me, where I connect to G-d? I chose to go to that one and only place for all of our people.

In the morning at the Kotel there is a special neitz (sunrise) prayer service, when everyone begins the main prayer at the instant the sun comes up. I've been praying the neitz service at the Wall nearly every day now for the last three months. It's not without challenges, though; some of the ultra Orthodox try to interfere - standing in front of or near me, or talking to me as I pray. Thank G-d, I'm always able to complete my prayers. But I often find myself thinking, "How can it be like this here? Everyone has a right to come and pray at the Wall."

That's how it was one sunrise 49 years ago, when the Western Wall was liberated in June of 1967.1 Two hundred thousand Jews came to the Kotel as the sun was coming up, on the day of the festival of Shavuos, that year. After two thousand years, the Jewish people were finally free again to come to their holiest site, and everyone came together. The report by the Jerusalem Post is well known:

"Every section of the population was represented. Kibbutz members and soldiers rubbing shoulders with Neturei Karta. Mothers came with children in prams, and old men trudged steeply up Mount Zion, supported by youngsters on either side, to see the wall of the Temple before the end of their days.... Some wept, but most faces were wreathed in smiles."

That's how it was at sunrise about 3,300 years ago, on the first Shavuos in Jewish history, when a united Jewish people stood around Mt. Sinai to hear G-d speak:

"And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there was thunder and lightning, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the sound of a shofar exceedingly loud; so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with G-d; and they stood at the lower part of the mount."2



In every generation, we come together on Shavuos morning as one people, whether it's at Mt. Sinai, at the Western Wall, or some day soon at the Temple in Jerusalem. By joining together in unity on this day, we're able to have a one-on-one connection with G-d. In Jewish tradition, Shavuos is like the wedding night, and day, between the Jews and the One; we're the bride and G-d's the groom, or vice versa.

People often say that Shavuos, unlike the other major festivals, has no mitzvah (commandment) of its own. On Passover we eat matzah. On Sukkos we live in sukkahs. There is a custom to study the Torah all night on Shavuos, but it is not a biblical or even a rabbinical mitzvah. But I note that the Torah passage describing the yearly festivals does, in the same language used for the mitzvahs of the other holidays, give instructions for Shavuos:

"And you should come together on that same day; it should be a special gathering for you; you should do no work on it; as a law forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations."3

In the present-day Jewish world, people don't talk about gathering together on Shavuos. Instead, the rabbis describe Shavuos as the day that we got the Torah, and so they emphasize the custom to study Torah (in particular, Talmud) on Shavuos night. It's true that G-d spoke the Ten Commandments to all of the Jewish people that day, beginning to give us the laws of the Torah. But the main purpose and meaning of Shavuos was that all of the Jewish people came together as one, and literally met G-d at Mt. Sinai.

You can see an unusual emphasis on the Torah in Shavuos observance in the siddur (prayer book) too. In our prayers for the three festivals, we praise G-d for the holidays, saying: "And you gave us, HaShem, our G-d, appointed times for gladness, festivals, and times for joy:"



Unlike the Passover and Sukkos prayers, which express the feelings connected with those holidays - "freedom," "gladness" - the Shavuos prayer sounds oddly plain: "the time of the giving of our Torah." While G-d did start to give us the laws of the Torah, what we really recall each year at this time is the excitement of coming together, experiencing the "Revelation at Sinai," and being intimate with G-d. It is "the time of our unity," "the time of our closeness," even "the time of our love."

Today in Jewish life there is a big emphasis on "the Torah" in many other areas, and not enough focus on a living, meaningful Judaism. This is partly because of the relatively recent rise of ultra-Orthodox, specifically Chareidi Judaism, which values Talmud study above all else. It's also partly due to the fact that the rabbinate, with its focus on Torah teaching and study, has dominated Jewish spiritual life during our long two thousand year exile.

That began to change about 100 years ago, however, with the Zionist movement and its focus on Jewish peoplehood. But it was not without resistance from the rabbis. In 1967, not long after that wonderful Shavuos of achdus at the Western Wall, the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate took control of the site.4 They set up a mechitza, separating women and men, and have forbidden prayer by other denominations. Today, the Women of the Wall face harassment for trying to pray at the Kotel in a gender equal way. And even a more modern Orthodox Jew like myself can't get too close to the Wall for too long.

In the bigger picture, we're now seeing a generational change in Jewish leadership playing out at the Western Wall. The Kotel is, after all, the site of the Temple, which is a recreation of the Mt. Sinai experience in permanent form. The Temple represents the one place where we can "come together" and connect directly with G-d. In the rabbinic period, the Torah is the intermediary in that relationship. But to re-establish our connection, we need everyone - women and men, and every type of Jew. Only a fully united people can make that one-on-one connection with G-d. And that's why the rabbinate resists any Kotel deal that gives equal access to everyone. Full achdus at the Wall would be a big step out of the rabbinic period and into a new era of the Temple.

In the last 100 years, the Jewish people, with G-d's help, have made miraculous progress at emerging from the dark night of exile and into the dawn of connection. And it looks like there's not much farther to go to complete the reunion with each other and with G-d. The Western Wall is, more than any other place, the key location to restoring our achdus. And at this Shavuos season of love, let's all recognize that this is the time for us to come together. I, for one, am standing here at the Wall, watching the clock tick toward the one instant of sunrise, when everyone joins together in praying to the One. All I need, now, is you.



1 Domnitch, L. Magic of Shavuot 1967. aish.com. Retrieved from http://www.aish.com/jw/j/48965971.html
2 Shemos 19:16-17
3 Vayikra 23:21
4 Timeline of the Kotel. Makom Israel. The Jewish Agency for Israel. Retrieved from http://makomisrael.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Timeline-of-the-Kotel-A5.pdf

Wake Up!

Yom Sheni, 29th of Sh'vat, 5776
Monday, February 8, 2016

The Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the place where Jews - all of the Jewish people - have come for nearly two thousand years to connect to the most special place in the world for them.1 The Jewish people have come to this place for almost two millennia because this is the place where the Temple stood. Long ago, when the Jewish people all lived in Israel, they would come to Jerusalem from all over the Land, converging on this spot to connect, as individuals, and as a people, with G-d, HaShem. They brought prayers, they brought sacrifices, they brought thoughts, feelings - they brought their whole selves to this place.

The location of the Kotel, the "Wall", in the time of the Temple.
The location of the Kotel, the "Wall", today.


The section of the Western Wall known as the Kotel, literally the Wall, is the place that is nearest for us to where the Temple stood. Some people say that this place, where all the Jewish people connect, is the nearest prayer site to the Holy of Holies, the specialist of special places, but that is not true. There is another place in Jerusalem today where you can get close to the Holy of Holies, and even another place - in the tunnels under Jerusalem - where you can get really close.2 But the Kotel, the Wall, is the place that is simply nearest to the Temple, which is the place that all Jews - every Jewish person, every kind of Jew - came to connect with G-d.

Last week a plan was announced, in negotiations that lasted for only three years, to separate some of the Jewish people from this place that belongs to all of the Jewish people.3 The Netanyahu government, with influence from Chareidi, or ultra-Orthodox, members of his coalition,4 issued its latest divisive proclamation, giving the Kotel, the place where every Jew belongs, to the ultra Orthodox, who make up only 10 percent of the Jewish people, and sent the other 90 percent of the Jewish people to the southwest corner of the wall, the place where no one belongs.

The proposed plan for Orthodox (purple), and WOW, Reform, and Conservative (blue), prayer spaces.
The Temple Mount, showing the corner to where the non-Orthodox are excluded in the plan.


News sources have praised this plan as an important step toward broader religious acceptance in Jerusalem and Israel, claiming that it gives the Women of the Wall (WOW) and the Reform and Conservative movements official recognition in Israel. But that is clearly stretching the truth. WOW, Reform, and Conservative do not really win. This is another move by the ultra Orthodox, better described as an ultra-conservative - fundamentalist - group within Jewry, to exert control over the whole of the Jewish people. The deal gives the Chareidim complete control of the place that all of the Jewish people have long considered their most sacred site.

And even at the Kotel, the place where all Jews now belong, the future could, G-d forbid, appear worse in the new plan. Rightly, women and men should get half of the space at the Wall, but today men have nearly three times as much space as women.5 For now, the ultra-Orthodox authority at the Kotel - and one can debate whether that authority is even appropriate at the Wall - still has to contend with the interests of the other 90 percent of the Jewish people. If, G-d forbid, the plan were to take effect, the space available to women could diminish, or there could be further restrictions - G-d forbid.

The Kotel plaza, 74% for men, 26% for women.
The Kotel plaza, 100% for all of the Jewish people.


I think we need to question whether the group that believes it should be closest to the site of the Temple, the place where all Jews belong, truly represents the most important ideals of the Jewish nation - viewing all people as being created in G-d's image, deserving of fair treatment and compassion. That's what qualifies a person and a nation for closeness to G-d. Instead this exclusive group within Jewry is disrespectful to women and to other Jewish groups6, and rejects major social changes in the world of the last century and a half. Do they deserve exclusive access to this place that is special for the entire Jewish nation? I think, no.

I think we need a new plan for the Western Wall, the place where everyone belongs. The Kotel should be a place where every Jew can come and pray to G-d, read the Torah, observe any of the commandments in Judaism, connect with their fellow Jews and with HaShem in joy and freedom, as one people, with one G-d, even if we're not all the same kind of Jew. It's time to end the ultra-Orthodox dominance at this most important place, so that everyone can have a voice at the Wall. That's how it was when the Temple stood, and how it will be again - we can all always come to this one place.





1 Gitlitz, David M., and Davidson, Linda K. (2005). Pilgrimage and the Jews. Westport, CT: Praeger. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/reader/0275987639?_encoding=UTF8&query=western%20wall#reader_0275987639
2 HaKotel HaKatan. Yeshivat Ateret Kohanim. Retrieved from https://www.ateret.org.il/english/buildings/hakotel-hakatan.asp
3 Kershner, I. (2016, January 31). Israel Approves Prayer Space at Western Wall for Non-Orthodox Jews. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/01/world/middleeast/israel-western-wall-prayer.html
4 Magnus, S. S. (2016, January 28). Deal or no deal: We shall not be moved. The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved from http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Deal-or-no-deal-We-shall-not-be-moved-443135
5 Ettinger, Y. (2016, January 31). Compromise Creates Two Western Walls for Two Peoples. Haaretz. Retrieved from http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.700538
6 Kershner, I. (2016, February 2). New Western Wall Prayer Space Highlights Wider Divide Among Jews. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/03/world/middleeast/new-western-wall-prayer-space-highlights-wider-divide-among-jews.html