Local council agrees to advertise Masorti prayer schedule

On the eve of a High Court of Justice hearing, the Masorti (Conservative) community of the Negev settlement Meitar reached a compromise Tuesday which allowed it to advertise its dates and times of High Holy Day prayers. Meitar's local council head Salomon Cohen agreed to advertise the Masorti prayer times and dates along with the Orthodox ones. In a show of cooperation between the two leading streams of liberal Judaism, the Israel Religious Action Center, the legal arm of the Reform movement in Israel, petitioned the High Court on behalf of the Masorti community of Meitar. Lawyer Orly Erez-Likhovski argued that the refusal of Meitar's religious council to advertise the prayer violated principles of equality. She said that the discussion in the High Court scheduled for Wednesday would be called off. Rabbi Moshe Bigal, rabbi of Meitar, who directed the religious council not to advertise for the Masorti community, said acquiescing to its demand was against his religion. "Jewish law does not permit me to advertise them," said Bigal. "I cannot condone a movement that did nothing to prevent assimilation in the US. "For me the Conservatives are not a part of Judaism. It's as if a church or mosque asked me to advertise for them."