Kotel – Update
After a few months of frustrating inactivity on the Kotel situation, vis-à-vis egalitarian prayer section, I finally have a little news to share, and as with most news, it is controversial.
As you likely remember, the Israeli government had a deal in January 2016 to (1) expand and enhance the non-Orthodox prayer section of the Kotel, (2) create a common entrance to all sections of the Kotel, and (3) create a separate committee to govern the non-Orthodox section. In June 2017, the government voted to freeze this resolution.
Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) has been working with partners the Masorti (Conservative) Movement, the Reform Movement, and the Women of the Wall on ideally unfreezing the resolution.
The Supreme Court became involved and ruled that the government must present plans for the upgrade of the egalitarian site, and this week it was reported that construction on the expansion and enhancement has begun.
This should be good news. So then, what is the controversy? Firstly, while this is addressing point one of the 2016 deal, it in no way deals with points two and three. Secondly, as the Masorti and Reform Movements point out, the key partners were not consulted about design, and yet construction has begun. And, to add insult to injury, the Masorti Movement is annoyed with the slight, but the Reform Movement is angry, creating some unnecessary tension between the two groups.
So, to recap: We have movement, but we have controversy. JFNA continues to prioritize resolution. I will continue to keep you posted.
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