Thursday, January 07, 2010

What You Can Do

I just got a comment on this post that read:

Thanks for the posting the photos along with a detailed explanation of the situation for women. It truly is shocking and discriminatory. Something must be done about it.

You’re absolutely right. So here’s something that you can do to protest the latest outrage: if you’re a US citizen, please write a letter to Israel’s ambassador to the US, Mr. Michael Oren.

Here is the text suggested by Women of the Wall:

Dear Ambassador Oren:

On behalf of the Jewish people fighting for religious pluralism in Israel, I am outraged that one of our leaders, Anat Hoffman, was interrogated and fingerprinted by Jerusalem police on January 5th, 2010. Police told Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center and leader of Women of the Wall, that she may be charged with a felony for violating the rules of conduct at what many consider to be Judaism’s most sacred site.

Hoffman’s interrogation came less than two months after the November 18th, 2009 arrest of the Women of the Wall member Nofrat Frankel for wearing a talit and holding a sefer Torah.

We will not tolerate this discrimination and abuse any longer—where women are treated as second-class citizens at a holy and historic place that has great symbolic importance for all Jews.

We are shocked by the brutal and callous insults to which Women of the Wall have been subjected. Many of these curses cannot be repeated in polite company. Israeli police have seen fit to arrest women who go to the wall for peaceful prayer, and make no attempt to reprimand those who spit and curse at them, a stark reminder of the power enjoyed by the Israeli ultra-Orthodox, and their success in forcing their religious practices on an entire nation.

If this were to happen in any other country in the world, the Jewish community would be up in arms. Israel is the rare democracy today that tolerates and even endorses religious discrimination against Jews.

Make no mistake: What appears to be a growing religious crisis in Israel is as much a threat to Israel's survival as are the external threats, and perhaps more so. Israel has shown that she can protect herself from armies and terrorists. Protecting herself from religious extremism may be Israel's biggest challenge—a challenge that cannot and must not be ignored by those who care about Israel’s soul.

We cannot allow this discrimination to continue any further. We must protect our religious rights in Israel.

Pass on our message to the Israeli government, that the Kotel is the beating heart center for the whole of the Jewish people, and not an Ultra-Orthodox synagogue. The arrest and intimidation of women praying at the Wall must stop and it must become a place in which all Jews can pray and connect spiritually to Israel.


[Your name here]

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