US Rabbis laud 'upholding sanctity' of Wall, conversion limits

Rabbinical Alliance lauds 'upholding the sanctity of the Western Wall area.' Coalition for Jewish Values blasts Reform for discord.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Women of the Wall (archive)
Women of the Wall (archive)
Flash 90

The Rabbinical Alliance of America – Igud Harabanim (RAA/IGUD) representing more than 950 Orthodox Rabbis serving throughout the USA and Canada has issued a statement in which it "applauds Prime Minister Netanyahu and his Cabinet for its decision annulling a plan concerning a mixed gender egalitarian section at the holy Kotel, the Western Wall."

The government's decision leaves as is an egalitarian section at an extension of the Wall, not accessible from the Kotel Plaza, that has been in place for several years. It cancels the plan to make a joint entrance to both areas and a committee that includes Women of the Wall and other non-Orthodox representatives. Reform and Conservative Movements had seen the original January 2016 agreement as Israeli government recognition of the two streams.

The RAA statement continues:

The RAA once again reiterates its support of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel that all religious services at the Kotel and its surrounding areas are to be conducted exclusively in keeping with Jewish law Halakha and Jewish tradition.

On behalf of the RAA, Rabbi Yehoshua S. Hecht, chairman of the RAA Presidium congratulates Prime Minister Netanyahu for protecting the heritage and sacred traditions of the Kotel area by not accepting the introduction of foreign rituals at the Kotel.

“We must not submit to those who vocally and shrilly disrupt the unity of the Jewish people through threats and political coercion by disrespecting the sacred Kotel traditions adhered to throughout the millennia," said Hecht., adding:

”It is the fervent prayer of the RAA that the Almighty bless the people of Israel and its Prime Minister together with all the Jewish people wherever they are found, in merit of keeping the holiness of the Kotel intact, thereby strengthening the Jewish people the world over."

The organization further adds that "The Rabbinical Alliance of America, a National Rabbinic Organization founded in 1942 is the voice of authentic Torah Judaism in North America. The RAA membership consists of pulpit Rabbis, chaplains & Jewish educators serving throughout the United States, Canada and overseas."

The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), directed by prominent rabbinic leaders and representing over 150 rabbis across North America, including both haredi and Modern Orthodox rabbis, describes itself as articulating "an authentic Jewish perspective on current events, and promoting Jewish values through writing and teaching derived from traditional Jewish thought."

in response to news reports concerning new conversion legislation proposed in Israel and the protests by the Reform and Conservative Movements and various members, with some threatening to end support for Israel, the Coalition for Jewish Values issued the following statement:

In cooperation with Israel's Chief Rabbinate, the Israeli government has tightened the procedures by which conversions to Judaism performed in Israel are officially recognized. Private conversion courts, even Haredi ones, will no longer be accepted carte blanche.

The American Reform movement alleges that conversions performed outside Israel will be undermined by this decision. This is entirely false, as the decision does not address foreign conversions at all. Their tendentious misrepresentation of the government decision is intended to create division and discord where none is warranted.