Washington, D.C., – The decision by the Israeli cabinet to approve an expanded egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall is a welcome step toward improving relations between Israel and the Diaspora and supporting increased participation at Judaism’s holiest site.
The JCPA applauds the determination of concerned denominations in Israel and North America, as well as other dedicated participants, particularly the Women of the Wall, for their unwavering commitment to the realization of this goal. We also recognize the efforts of the prime minister’s office, Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit, and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky for developing the proposal, which will allow for a larger egalitarian prayer space with a more prominent entrance under the control of a pluralistic committee.
According to David Bernstein, President and CEO of the JCPA, “This decision is a testimony to a spirit of compromise and partnership that is vital to the relationship between Israel and Jews around the world. It is imperative that we work to end those conflicts that lead to sinat chinam, baseless hatred, between those who are part of the global Jewish community.”
“This is a great day for those women and men who have yearned for the opportunity to pray at the Western Wall in the way that is most meaningful to them,” said Susan W. Turnbull, JCPA Chair.
In the aftermath of this significant decision, the JCPA also asks that all those who are involved in the issue go forward in a spirit of civility and commitment to klal yisrael, the community of Israel.
JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 16 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.