Federations of North America (JFNA) Monday called on Israeli and Diaspora
leaders to ensure the Western Wall once again becomes a “spiritual center for
all Jews” in an official resolution supporting Natan Sharansky’s plan for
women’s prayer at the Kotel.
The JFNA Board
of Trustees and its Delegate Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution to
support the Jewish Agency Chair in his efforts to find a compromise to the
issue of equal prayer access at the Wall. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu appointed Sharansky to solve the issue, in the wake of demonstrations
by the Women of the Wall and counter-protests by some ultra-Orthodox groups.
Federations and our community greatly appreciate the efforts of Prime Minister
Netanyahu and Chairman Sharansky, and those of religious leaders across the
community, who seek to unite our people by ensuring individuals can pray as
they choose at the Kotel,” said Michael Siegal, chair of the JFNA Board of
resolution, drafted by JFNA’s Rabbinic Cabinet, which represents a cross
section of rabbis from all religious streams, expresses JFNA’s “appreciation of
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s continued commitment to work on behalf of
and to strengthen Jewish unity by seeking to resolve the issue.”
plan calls for a dedicated egalitarian prayer space at the Robinson’s Arch area
of the Wall. JFNA also promised to work with Sharansky as he “develops a
pathway whereby the Kotel will once again become a spiritual center for all
Jews and a symbol of unity for the entire Jewish community world-wide.”
this resolution, the Jewish Federations are giving voice to the strong desire
across our community to resolve this critical issue and ensure that all Jews
can experience the most spiritually powerful place in Judaism,” said JFNA
President and CEO Jerry Silverman.
JFNA has been
convening Sharansky and religious leaders from across the spectrum for meetings
at its New York offices to discuss the issue, with the most recent gathering
taking place last week.