Friday, October 07, 2016

Liberal Jewish Groups Ask Israel's High Court To Order Egalitarian Prayer Space At Western Wall

As reported by YNet News, yesterday groups representing Reform and Conservative Judaism and the group Women of the Wall filed an amended petition with Israel's High Court of Justice asking it to order the government to provide egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall (Kotel).  After long negotiations a compromise had been approved by the government early this year, but the agreement unraveled after objections from ultra-Orthodox parties in the government. (See prior posting.) A press release from the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism describes yesterday's court filing:
The petition ... demands ... [establishment of] a permanent, national praying platform, respectable and accessible, serving as an official and organized part of the Kotel site, and which will regularly hold prayer services with no gender separation.... 
Furthermore, the petition demands ensuring suitable budgets for the building and on-going maintenance of the site in one of two ways – either complete implementation of the government decision to establish an egalitarian platform by Robinson’s arch or the establishment of a third prayer platform in the existing Kotel area (alongside a separate men’s and women’s section).
Furthermore, the petitioners demand that as part of the Kotel Heritage Foundation institutions, proper representation shall be given to the Reform and Conservative Movements and to Women of the Wall, and that the regulation regarding subordination to the Chief Rabbinate hereby be omitted from the Foundation regulations.
[Thanks to Scott Mange for the lead.]