March 22: Editorial on Kotel

By rejecting Reform prayer at the Western Wall and non-Orthodox use of ritual baths, the haredi parties play right into the hands of the Reform movement and its fellow travelers.

Letters (photo credit: REUTERS)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Editorial on Kotel
The Jerusalem Post is 100 percent wrong in its editorial “Separate and unequal” (March 20) when it asserts that the “leaders of the two fundamentalist not recognize non-Orthodox Jews.” Even the most haredi Jew recognizes anyone as a Jew who is born to a Jewish mother. It is non-Orthodox streams of Judaism that they reject, not their adherents.
Having said this, by rejecting Reform prayer at the Western Wall and non-Orthodox use of ritual baths, the haredi parties and the foolish rabbis who control them play right into the hands of the Reform movement and its fellow travelers. The Reform have precious little use for either the Kotel or the mikve except to flex their very flabby muscles and gain 15 minutes of fame and flame in the glare of television cameras.
Indeed, merely days after the painfully staged performance by a handful of American Reform Jews at Robinson’s Arch, the main Kotel plaza was jumping with the spontaneous energy of thousands of Jews of all stripes and affiliations, from Hassidim with shtreimels to soldiers with borrowed paper kippot. But the new, much ballyhooed pluralistic prayer platform nearby was as dead as a Jerusalem disco on Kol Nidrei eve. Apparently, once the TV crews are gone, so is the burning Reform desire to pray at “Judaism’s holiest site.”
If the ultra-Orthodox parties had half as much brain as they do bile, they would simply shut their mouths. There is no reason to fear any Reform invasion of the Western Wall. Likewise, the right to access mikvaot is meaningless, as non-Orthodox Jews are hardly likely to use them – especially since such use would preclude the presence of TV cameras (unless some perverted Orthodox rabbi installed one for his own prurient pleasure).
I was rather disappointed with “Separate and unequal.”
No one has excommunicated any Jew of any denomination, and all Jews can and do use all religious services as equals among equals, including mikvaot.
The problem is when a small minority that represents about 30 congregations out of 10,000 wants to dictate new and unacceptable standards. Is this democracy? We recognize, respect and love every non-Orthodox Jew while seriously differing with their rabbinical leadership. It is indeed ironic that this country, known for its endless rules and regulations, has little patience for eternal rules and regulations.
Why do Conservative rabbis not immerse potential converts in a mikve belonging to their movement? Is it because they do not have mikvaot, since they do not really use them? I would also point out that Conservative conversions are not recognized in Israel, so what would be gained by such an immersion? (On the flip side, the religious council could have allowed the immersion, since it has no legal meaning.) I wait for the day when you will question not only the rabbinate, but also the non-Orthodox about their intermarriage practices and why they have done away with most of the 613 mitzvot.
The writer is chief rabbi of Dimona.
Your editorial is appalling for its rhetorical manipulation of claims by the Women of the Wall and the Reform movement.
Remarks on a so-called absence of religious freedom, a monopoly by the ultra-Orthodox leadership, corruption of Orthodox MKs and anti-democratic measures are a rude attack on the religious establishment rather than a defense for religious freedom.
The Western Wall is the most holy accessible place for Judaism.
All rules and orders there, as prescribed for the Temples in the Bible, have been closely respected and practiced, and in the centuries since the destruction of the Temples, Jews have continued to pray there. We are talking about a tradition of two millennia in which a codex of prayer has been deeply rooted.
The site never witnessed Jewish women praying with tefillin and prayer shawls in a mixed audience.
Today, Orthodox Jews of different backgrounds are the vast majority of the millions of visitors there. They are really its guardians; it never stands empty. Now a fringe group of Reform Jews want to change that tradition, prayer practices and code of behavior.
I wonder whether Christians might approach the pope to allow them to build a special church in the Vatican because their stream of Christianity is different. Such a group would probably be thrown out. So why allow changes at the most holy place in Judaism? If Reform Jews want to pray differently, they are free to do so – but in their temples. This is fully compatible with freedom of religion. However, they cannot enter a church, mosque or Orthodox synagogue and impose their code of worship.
The behavior of the Orthodox MK and the Chief Rabbinate is not corrupt, nor does it restrict freedom of religion. They are just fulfilling their functions by guarding millions of visitors to the Kotel from any entrapment or misbehavior.
The Western Wall has always been a unifying site for Judaism.
Members of the Reform movement now want to introduce a schism there.
Historical facts
Reader James Adler (“Rx for BDS,” March 20) presents what he describes as a “respectful and honest opinion” while attributing what he calls “the occupation and settlement expansion” to BDS activities on campuses.
While one might agree that his opinion is respectful and honest, it nevertheless fails to acknowledge the historical facts pertaining to the matter.
Prior to Israel’s occupation of Judea and Samaria in the Six Day War, the area concerned was occupied by Jordan for 19 years, resulting in it being called the West Bank (of the Jordan River).
During that time, there was no BDS movement or campus criticism of this unlawful occupation.
When Jordan attacked Israel without provocation, it was rapidly defeated, and the IDF occupied the area.
Ever since, Israel has sought to reach an agreement with the Arab occupants of that territory concerning the future of what is now referred to as “Palestinian land.” Persistent refusal by their leaders to accept any meaningful compromise has resulted in the present situation, and the settlement of Israelis there has been decreed as legal by eminent legal authorities.
The BDS movement is sponsored by anti-Israel sentiment, and not as described by Adler.
Tel Mond
Measure of joy
A sincere thank you to the unnamed grandmother of two members of the Israel Navy’s submarine fleet (“Shabbat candles 20,000 leagues under the sea,” March 11). Her call to the Zomet Institute will enable others who are already in stressful circumstances to add a measure of joy to their Shabbat observance.
Telz Stone
Get them to pay
If Hillary Clinton becomes president of the US, walls will come down. Donald Trump promised that if he is elected president, walls will go up, and he will have Mexico pay for putting them up.
What a great idea! Maybe Trump could have the Palestinians pay for the multi-million- dollar bullet-proof buses Israel will need to buy.
Zichron Ya’acov
CLARIFICATION Contrary to what was stated in “Dagan’s heroism” (Editorial, March 18), Mossad director Meir Dagan did not deny senior contributing editor Caroline B. Glick’s charge that he refused an order from the prime minister to attack Iran, but rather referred to the order as “illegal.”