This past Sunday, a decision was made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government to abandon their commitment to provide egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall. This action rejects years of negotiations made in good faith with the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), the Reform and Conservative movements, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), and the Women of the Wall.
The Israeli government also approved a bill to grant authority over conversions to the ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate. This action further delegitimizes non-Orthodox Judaism and the millions of Jews around the world who practice it.
All Jews, whether Orthodox, Conservative or Reform, must be allowed the same rights and privileges to worship in this holy space and all forms of Jewish practice should be recognized by the Israeli government. Now is the time for all Louisville Jews to stand together and let our voices be heard.
We urge you to write or email as soon as possible the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C., and the Consulate General of Israel in Atlanta, GA. Furthermore, if you email JFNA, they will hand deliver the letters to Prime Minister Netanyahu. It is very important that your voice is heard:
Email or Mail the Embassy of Israel:
Embassy of Israel
3514 International Drive N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
- Email or Mail the Consulate General of Israel:
Consulate General of Israel
Consul General Judith Varnai Shorer
1100 Spring St. N.W. Suite 440
Atlanta, Georgia 30309
- Email the letters to JFNA:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
c/o Jewish Federations of North America
Director Government Relations, JFNA’s Israel Office
Over the past three days, the Jewish Federation of Louisville has responded swiftly to this important matter. The following actions have been taken:
- Held a priority meeting between Jewish Community of Louisville (JCL) leadership and local rabbis to collaborate and address this critical issue
- Expressed support to JAFI representatives for their continued efforts to ensure egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel
- Released official statement opposing recent actions taken by the Israeli government
- Convened the JCL Board of Directors to address advocacy issues, educational opportunities and financial opportunities for support
- Participated in briefing and conversation with Jerry Silverman, JFNA President
Additional information and action steps will be shared by the Louisville Jewish Community with a sense of immediacy. Due to the intricacies of these issues, we will develop educational programs to help the Louisville Jewish community continue to understand the complex issue of religious pluralism.
We are committed to bringing the leadership of Jewish Louisville together at this pivotal moment in time to consider our relationship with the government of Israel. We are committed to one Jewish people, working together to embrace the spirit and hope of our Jewish homeland that reflects the rights and practices of all Jews. We thank you for your support and help in these important issues that face Jews not only here in Louisville, but around the world.
Jewish Community of Louisville
Sara Klein Wagner
President and CEO
Jewish Community of Louisville