17 December 2012

HaKotel, The Western Wall

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,

I regularly subscribe to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs webblast, and so I read with interest the Cabinet Communique from yesterday  morning (16 December 2012).  The headline quoted you as follows:

PM Netanyahu: The Western Wall symbolizes the foundation of our existence here for thousands of years. We will stand steadfast in the face of all those who want to expel us from here. The State of Israel, Jerusalem and the Western Wall will remain ours forever.

In this hope and commitment, I agree with you one-hundred percent.  Yet, I find it ironic that you made this statement about lighting a menorah at the Western Wall (haKotel), in the very same week that a new ordinance has prohibited women from bringing ritual objects to that site.  Golda Meir, or any other future female Israeli PM, would be unable to complete that same action, according to the latest regulation.

When I read your statement, I would like to interpret the "we" to include not only myself - a male, but also my colleague, Rabbi Elyse Frishman, who was detained (along with three other women) at the Kotel on this past Friday for attempting to pray with Nashot haKotel on Rosh Chodesh Tevet. (http://www.jta.org/news/article/2012/12/16/3114626/women-detained-at-western-wall-for-entering-with-prayer-shawls)

Rabbi Frishman shared a powerful statement with her congregation, which you may not be aware of (http://www.arza.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=2456) and which I am sharing with my congregation, along with this letter.

Please know, Prime Minister, that my congregation is a strong supporter of the State of Israel, and an equally strong supporter of the rights of ALL Jews to feel at home in our homeland.  We, too, "will stand steadfast in the face of all those who want to expel us from here" and we hope that we will all be able to stand that way together, in person, and soon.

Thank you, and Chodesh Tov,

Rabbi Joel N. Abraham

Rabbi Joel N. Abraham

Temple Sholom of Scotch Plains/Fanwood, NJ
(908) 889-4900

"The more Torah, the more life" - Hillel

1 comment:

  1. I received a response today from the Prime Minister's office:

    We acknowledge receipt of your e-mail to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the contents of which have been duly noted.


    Prime Minister's Office – E-Correspondence

    Yes, and ?