UPDATE 7 pm Israel time Sunday:
Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) begins at sundown today–in a little more than an hour. Ceremonies have already begun in Jerusalem at the huge cemetery on Mt. Herzl.
At 8 pm tonight, sirens will sound throughout the country in memory of those soldiers and security personnel who have fallen in defense of our country and those civilians who have been killed by terrorists targeting Israelis.
Your humble servant suggests that you observe one minute of silence today (perhaps when you finish this blog today) to remember these soldiers and civilians.
Tomorrow’s israelstreet blog will be devoted to Yom Hazikaron.
As I pointed out in this blog yesterday, the Women at the Wall is an organization consisting of “reform” Jewish women who, according to them, “merely” want to achieve equality with men.
In the context of the Jewish religion, “reform” Jews recognize female rabbis, and encourage women to don religious garments that orthodox Judaism reserves for men, and encourage women to engage in other activities the Orthodox reserve for men such as handling the Torah.
In the context of the Kotel or Western Wall, “Women at the Wall”–who are supported by the Reform Jewish movement worldwide–want men and women to pray together.
In the context of Jewish history, the battle of Jewish reformers against the Jewish orthodox has been waged for thousands of years. The orthodox believe that the “reformers” are not truly Jews since they do not strictly follow Jewish laws. The orthodox believe that reform Judaism is a Judaism of convenience. On the other hand, the reformers argue that Judaism is a “living religion” that must “change with the times.”
The op-ed that appeared in this blog yesterday written by female Reform rabbi Shira Epstein is a mark of just how far Reform Judaism has veered away from Orthodox Judaism–to the point that “reform” teenagers of this generation feel that they have nothing in common with orthodox teenagers.
Your humble servants strongly believes that the orthodox are right when they say that reform Judaism is a Judaism of convenience, and that the reformers are wrong when they say that Judaism must change with the times. One wonders what would have happened 3000 years ago if Judaism had changed with the times. Your humble servant believes that Judaism would simply have assimilated itself out of existence.
To this end, even though your humble servant is not orthodox, he comes down on the side of the orthodox in this argument. The Kotel should remain governed by the same orthodox laws that have governed it since the destruction of the second Temple. The orthodox have kept Judaism alive during the last 3300 years while suffering pogroms and massacres, and the Kotel is perhaps the pre-eminent symbol today of that sacrifice.
Having said this, a compromise suggested this week by Natan Sharansky, may be a reasonable one–or may not. That compromise is simply to open another section of the wall near Robinson’s Arch for reform Jews to pray at, at the southern corner in what is now an “archaeological park.” While this would provide the “reform Jews” a place to pray like they want to–it undoubtedly will not satisfy them (in reality, “egalitarian prayer” is already practiced at this place at certain times–but the “Women at the Wall” are not satisfied).
What begins at the corner would slowly seep northward along the Wall. It is the old story of “give someone a finger, and they will want to take your whole hand.”
In sum, if the “Women at the Wall” are to have a place at the Western Wall, it should be at the corner where the Orthodox do not have to see them.
A daily feature of this blog is the recognition of those of you who support Israel by donating to this website. Each month, your humble servant (or his son) places each name on this wall of support into the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Today we welcome 5 new Israel supporters: David in Moscow, Danielle in Bruges, Harry in Perth, Indian Zionist in Cochin, and Yuval in Herzliya.
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