Conservative movement gives PM chance to repent ahead of High Holy Days

The open letter addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discusses the North American Conservative movement's feelings of betrayal after the Western Wall and Conversion crises.

September 8, 2017 10:41
1 minute read.
Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO of USCJ (The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism) and Rabbi Julie Sch

Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO of USCJ (The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism) and Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, CEO of the Rabbinical Assembly hand delivered an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in New York, September 7, 2017.. (photo credit: Courtesy)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


597 leaders of the North American Conservative movement submitted an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, outraged about this summer's conversion and Western Wall sagas that created a rift between Israel and Diaspora Jewry.

The open letter, on behalf of North American Jewry, was handed to Consul General of Israel in New York Dani Dayan, by Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) and Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, CEO of the Rabbinical Assembly.

The letter expressed "dismay, anger and sense of betrayal," in regard to recent Israeli policies where the cabinet decided to freeze the decision to create an egalitarian section at the Western Wall and to push forward the Conversion Law that would allow the ultra-Orthodox to have a monopoly on Israeli conversion.

"Mr. Prime Minister, we are Zionists," the letter read, "You must understand, however, that in the 21st century we find it unconscionable that Israel, the Jewish State, is the only democratic state in the world in which not all Jews are recognized or supported equally under the law or in the public square."
Naftali Bennett addresses government decisions on Western Wall, conversion

The 385 North American Conservative Jewish congregations that signed the letter called for an end to the Rabbinate's monopoly of Jewish religion in Israel. "The time has come for Israel to embrace Jewish pluralism as a positive value to ensure the Jewishness of the Jewish State and its democratic values," they wrote to Netanyahu.

The letter finishes reminding the prime minister of the upcoming High Holy Days, where Israel is vastly mentioned in services and inspiring words, and there is an option of shedding Israel in a positive or contrastingly negative light. "Will we speak of Israel’s reality in a language of betrayal or hope? Will we speak of struggle or achievement?"

These holiday messages, the letter reads, can be influenced by Netanyahu's decisions. "We ask you to lead; we ask you to fulfill your promise to us that Israel will be the homeland of the entire Jewish people – Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and secular."

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

July 16, 2019
Chief Rabbi of Poland slammed by board over his support of Jewish prayer


Cookie Settings