February 1, 2016
A historic compromise was reached in Israel yesterday. The Israeli government agreed to create a section of the Western Wall to be designated for non-Orthodox, egalitarian religious services, administered by the Conservative and Reform movements, as well as the Women of the Wall and the Jewish Agency. This a very big step for the Israeli government and its relationship with the religious streams that dominate American Jewry. The agreement was the culmination of years of protests, discussions and lobbying on the part of World Jewry. The prayer rights of Orthodox Jews will not be infringed upon, as they will still have their traditional prayer areas, separated into the men’s and women’s sections.
The Women of the Wall organization, a group of women who organized egalitarian prayer sessions at the Kotel, often risking arrest and physical abuse, also hailed this new arrangement and will have input into this new section’s management.
We congratulate the State of Israel and the diverse streams of Judaism in Israel on their accomplishments and we eagerly await this new area of prayer at Judaism’s holiest site.
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