JCL gives $25K for Reform, Conservative efforts in Israel

Women of the “Women of the Wall” organization wear prayer shawls and tefillin as they pray at the Western Wall, July 08, 2013

The Jewish Community of Louisville is moving beyond its strongly worded statements against the Israeli government’s recent actions on the Western Wall and conversion, announcing Friday that it has approved $25,000 for the Reform and Conservative movements in the Jewish state.

According to the JCL statement, its board of directors voted Thursday, July 6, to make a “one-time, $25,000 commitment to the joint efforts of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism and Masorti (Conservative) Movements.”

It said the funds will be used for “launching a coordinated public campaign to honor the Kotel compromise agreement and defeat the proposed conversion bill.”

The statement said the JCL believes “advocacy is essential to addressing the setbacks related to the Kotel and ending conversion bill in Israel.”

The allocation dovetails with a statement Rabbi David Ariel-Joel of The Temple recently made to Community. Angered by the Israeli government’s actions, he said American Jews should “put their money where their mouth is” and support the movements in Israel that are working for pluralism there.

Responding to pressure from ultra-Orthodox political parties, the cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acted on Sunday, June 25, to suspect its historic 17-month-old agreement to provide egalitarian worship space at the Western Wall and to advance a bill to the Knesset that would vest all authority for conversions with the Chief Rabbinate.

Both actions were met with fury from Reform, Conservative and modern Orthodox Jews in Israel and the Diaspora. Religious leaders have met with Netanyahu to register their discontent. The Jewish Agency for Israel, which helped negotiate the Western Wall agreement, pushed back on the action, AIPAC leaders warned of a “crisis of faith” among U.S. Jews, and thousands rallied outside the prime minister’s residence a week ago expressing their anger with the government’s actions.

Netanyahu has since shelved the conversion bill for six months while a “team” he appoints will comes up with recommendations  for an “arrangement” on the issue, according to JTA.

The JCL and Jewish Community Relations Council are encourageing people to contact the Israeli embassy in Washington to voice their oppostion with the Kotel and conversion measures:

Embassy of Israel
3514 International Drive N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Email:  consular@washington.mfa.gov.il 


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