Western Wall

Western Wall

Press Release
Press Release

Today, the Israeli Supreme Court made an important statement by signaling that they are fed up with the Netanyahu government’s decision to “freeze” its own governmental decision forged in compromise with our Reform Movement and our allies. The court gave the Israeli government two weeks to come back with a counter argument to the court, an extremely short window that seems to imply great impatience with the government’s behavior. 

Press Release
Press Release

Senior leadership of the Reform Movement, the largest movement in Jewish life, sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to unnecessary and demeaning body searches imposed on female rabbinic students at the Western Wall in Jerusalem:


Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,

We are writing to express our outrage and dismay about the humiliation of a cohort of Reform rabbinic students, all of whom are the future leadership of the Jewish people, at the entrance to the Kotel on August 23rd, Rosh Hodesh Elul.

Two of our female rabbinic students, who are spending their first year of studies in Israel, were stopped at the entrance to the Kotel. After they passed through a metal detector (which clearly indicated that they were not posing any security threat), they were asked to lift their skirts and shirts in a demeaning way, an action that completely defied the decisions the Supreme Court reached on this matter.

Press Release
Press Release

Leaders of the Reform Movement in Israel and North America, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, President and CEO of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, and Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, have issued the following statement:

Today’s decision by the Israeli cabinet to postpone further action on the offensive “conversion bill” is an important rebuke to the aggressive behavior of the ultra-Orthodox toward diaspora Jewry and the non-Orthodox streams. That is why we supported the temporary delay.

Press Release
Press Release

Rabbi Rick Jacobs: “We cannot go about our scheduled meetings as if nothing has happened. The annulment of the Kotel resolution and the passing of the conversion law have caused an acute crisis between the Israeli government and diaspora Jewry. After yesterday's shameful decisions, we feel that at this moment, after more than four years of negotiations, it is not clear that the current Israeli government honors its agreements."

Press Release
Press Release

URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs: Israeli Government's Reversal On Egalitarian Prayer Space At The Kotel In Jerusalem Is "An Unconscionable Insult"

Reform activist Anat Hoffman being arrested at the Western Wall

One year ago, we thought we had made history.

Anat Hoffman

On Wednesday, September 21st, Reform Jewish leaders will host a webinar to discuss the ongoing situation at the Western Wall.

Kate Bigam
Press Release

The following letter was sent yesterday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from the negotiating team supporting implementation of the agreement to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel (Western Wall in Jerusalem) - Yizhar Hess, Masorti Movement; Anat Hoffman, Women of the Wall; Rabbi Rick Jacobs, Union for Reform Judaism; Batya Kallus, Women of the Wall; Rabbi Gilad Kariv, Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism; Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, The Rabbinic Assembly; and Rabbi Steve Wernick, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.
The letter from the American and Israeli leaders states that “Given the impasse at the Kotel, the pending mikvaot legislation, and the ongoing hateful rhetoric and actions of the Haredi members of the government, the Reform and Conservative Movements intend, in the very near future, to bring a petition to the Supreme Court demanding the reapportionment of the northern plaza prayer space from a men’s and women’s section to three sections: men, women, and mixed.”

It goes on to say “We appreciate the commitment you expressed to implementing the Kotel agreement, yet we expect you to close the gap between your statements and the actions of your government. We look forward to the day when headlines feature not hateful, demeaning stories of ultra-Orthodox intransigence but rather how PM Netanyahu courageously led the Israeli government to affirm the multiple ways Jews express their Jewish commitment at our people’s holiest site.”  

The letter concludes with a quotation from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to the 2015 JFNA General Assembly: “I want to guarantee one thing to each and every one of you: As Prime Minister of Israel, I will always ensure that all Jews can feel at home in Israel – Reform Jews, Conservative Jews, Orthodox Jews – all Jews.”

Rabbi Mona Alfi, the senior rabbi of Congregation B'nai Israel in Sacramento, CA, sent a letter today to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing “great concern and distress” about the detainment of Lesley Sachs, director of Women of the Wall, at the Kotel today.

Kate Bigam

How can our congregations help support Women of the Wall?

Andrea Gingold