The Central Conference of American Rabbis (the body of Reform rabbis in America) released this statement regarding the arrest of Anat Hoffman at the Kotel yesterday:
CCAR STATEMENT ON THE ARREST OF ANAT HOFFMAN
July 12, 2010
The Central Conference of American Rabbis, the world’s oldest and largest rabbinic association, looks with shock and revulsion at today’s arrest of Anat Hoffman of “Women of the Wall” for the purported “crime” of holding a sefer Torah in the women’s section of the Western Wall during a Rosh Hodesh celebration. We view her arrest, interrogation, and subsequent ban from visiting the Western Wall for a month as acts of “hillul hashem,” a desecration of God’s name, for they bring public shame and ridicule down upon those responsible for her arrest and upon the Judaism they purport to defend.
After 62 years of statehood, Israel stands at a moral crossroads. Will the Jewish state continue to bar women from equal access to Torah in our most sacred places, or will it foster the free and equal expression of Judaism for men and women alike? Will Jewish life in Israel breathe the free air of religious freedom, or will it continue to be stifled in the choking air of an anachronistic and state-empowered rabbinic fundamentalism? Will Israel’s greatest strength, that of being a modern democracy, be undercut by an increasingly ubiquitous medieval theocracy? At a time when the eyes of the world are focused on Israel, will the face Israel presents be tolerant and egalitarian, or intolerant and sexist?
Israel is at a crossroads. Religious pluralism will be one of the great questions for the future of the Jewish state. You can write a letter to Israel’s Prime Minister to let him know that you disapprove of the Rotem conversion bill currently being considered in the Knesset, which would give control over conversion in Israel to the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate. Click here for an email address and a template to use in your letter.