June 30, 2017: More letters on the Kotel, conversion decisions

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
With regard to “Marathon efforts under way to modify conversion bill and contain Kotel damage” (June 28), Rick Jacobs and other leaders of the Reform movement in the US are hugging themselves with delight at their success in manufacturing a schism between Israel and American Jewry. Their sole agenda is for their movement’s marriages and conversions to be recognized in Israel, and for the salaries for their spiritual leaders be paid by the state.
There is only a minuscule number of Reform Jews in Israel. The Women of the Wall number only in the dozens and they pray at the Western Wall only a dozen times a year. Few of their adherents in America visit Israel. The schism they have manufactured is completely artificial and unnecessary.
If thousands of their adherents would make aliya, perhaps their voice could be heard more clearly. What American Jews do not understand is that secular Israelis are completely indifferent to them.
Beit Shemesh
To read the front page of June 26 Jerusalem Post, one might easily think that the government freeze at the Western Wall will cause the sky to fall. We are told that it was a “stinging blow,” a possible “breaking point” and a “shameful day.”
Yet on Page 2, the analysis “What next for the troubled holy site?” correctly notes: “The fact that there already exists a prayer area for egalitarian prayer at the southern end of the Western Wall... means the progressive Jewish groups do have some form of access to the Western Wall where they can pray in accordance with their customs.” The accompanying picture shows men and women praying together in that section.
With all due respect to Diaspora Jewry, which now consists mainly of dwindling numbers of Reform Jews, the sky has already fallen. One would be hardpressed these days to find a Reform synagogue in the US that has not bought into the J Street/Palestinian narrative hook, line and sinker. All one has to do is peruse the website of the Union for Reform Judaism to find press releases issued before the Kotel decision that denounce the current US ambassador to Israel, criticize Israel’s attempt to stop supporters of the BDS boycott from entering Israel, and protest the presence of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
In my opinion – and writing as a Reform Jew who is a dual citizen of Israel and the US – a part of the government’s decision was a case of chickens coming home to roost.
I cannot understand how a man as bright as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could do something so thoughtless and damaging to Jews the world over. We may never regain their love and faith.
It is true that Diaspora Jews don’t live here, but they come, love and support us. They are family. As for those Jews who live here, many refuse to carry their fair share.
A great sin has been committed thoughtlessly.
The Western Wall is the longest surviving supporting wall of the Holy Temple built by Herod the Great. Herod was born to a Nabatean mother and an Edomite father, and he bullied his way to the kingship, murdering some of his brothers and even some of his sons.
The notion of the Kotel’s sanctity comes from Midrash Raba of Shir Hashirim, which is a collection of legends authored in the Talmudic period. They are not a source of halachic ruling.
Ironically, the Temple Mount is the territory that has halachic sanctity, but haredi rabbis and many hassidic masters have ruled that according to Halacha, it is forbidden to set foot there since the exact location of the Holy of Holies is not known.
Those who wish to pray at the Kotel must be aware that it is not a holy site, but a construction raised by an evil, non-Jewish king who was put to rule in order to look after Roman interests.