Like many rabbis, I know and respect Anat Hoffman, Director of the Israel Religious Action Center. She is a brave and courageous woman who fights for the rights of women and minorities in Israeli society. A little over a year ago, she spent part of an afternoon meeting with me and members of my congregation in Jerusalem.
One week ago, Anat Hoffman was arrested and charged with the “offense” of wearing a prayer shawl and disturbing public order after praying at the Western Wall. The wearing of a tallit at the Wall is forbidden to women by order of the Orthodox Rabbinate that controls the entirety of the Western Wall.
ARZA (the American Reform Zionist Association) and the Reform Movement issued a statement on Anat’s arrest and how this event underscores the greater gender and pluralism issues in Israel.
Now, I invite you to take action! Sign ARZA’s petition to the Israeli Government on behalf of religious inclusion at the Western Wall.
In 1967, shortly after the Wall was liberated from the Jordanians, my wife’s cousin, Israeli Cabinet Minister Moshe Kol, proposed creating a mixed section for non-orthodox worshippers at the Wall. His proposal was defeated but it now looks as if he was prophetic.