Archive by Author

Anat Hoffman’s Biennial Address: “More Than One Way to Be Jewish”



[Editor's Note: This address was given by Noa Sattath on behalf of Anat Hoffman, director of the Israel Religious Action Center and chairwoman of Women of the Wall, on Saturday night at the URJ Biennial.] Anat lost her voice. Despite all the remedies and chicken soup suggested by many in this conference, she can’t speak. […]

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Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Rabbi Jacobs Goes to Jerusalem



Last week, I was proud to welcome to Israel our partner from the URJ, Rabbi Rick Jacobs. We visited the Knesset together and we had formal meetings with nineteen Knesset Members from both the left and the right. Rick expressed the URJ’s love and commitment to Israel. It was an opportunity for Knesset members to […]

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IRAC Stands for Marriage Equality



Today I am ending a three-week trip to the United States, and tomorrow I will return home to Israel (assuming the El Al strike is over). This has been a particularly emotional trip as I was in Boston the day of Marathon. I saw firsthand how resilient the people of Boston are in a crisis. […]

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Conversion is Not Skin Deep



Imagine making aliyah – leaving your work, family and friends behind. Making a bold journey – only to be rejected by the Israeli authorities. In the past couple of weeks we lived an intense drama with one of our brave olim (new immigrants), who was arrested and almost deported. We managed to stop the deportation […]

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More Detentions at the Kotel



A unique gathering happened this morning at the Western Wall. During Women of the Wall’s usual Rosh Chodesh prayer service in the women’s section of the Kotel, we were fortunate to be supported by some very special visitors. Veterans from the IDF’s famed Paratrooper Battalion 66, the men who liberated the Western Wall in 1967, […]

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Spectacular Chutzpa



An open letter to Rabbi Miri Gold Dear Rabbi Gold, I’m writing you today to beg for more of your patience.  I know you and your congregation, Birkat Shalom, believed that winning an unprecedented verdict in May 2012 meant that you would receive a state salary like all male Orthodox rabbis in the Gezer region.  Our […]

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UPDATED: Netanyahu Asks for Review of Prayer Restrictions!



UPDATE: Benjamin Netanyahu has asked Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the Jewish Agency, to review restrictions on women’s prayer at the Western Wall and suggest ways to make the site more accommodating to all Jews! Keep following RACblog for more updates throughout the week!

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Arrests at the Kotel



Policeman: Open your coat. Is this a shawl you are wearing? Woman: Are shawls a problem? Policeman: Shawls are allowed. I am looking for a tallit. Woman: Why? Policeman: As of this morning the Rabbi of the Wall is forbidding tallitot at the Kotel. Woman: But wait, over there is a man carrying a tallit? Policeman: The decree applies only to women. […]

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Help Asylum Seekers in Israel



This week we want to shed light on one of the most vulnerable populations in Israel. During the last five to 10 years, thousands of asylum seekers from sub-Saharan Africa have crossed the Sinai Desert to reach Israel, on a perilous and heroic journey, like our own Exodus from Egypt. Scores of African refugees, trying […]

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My Arrest Last Week



Last Tuesday I was arrested when I took a group of over two hundred women to the Western Wall to pray together in the women’s section. I was arrested for disturbing the peace and endangering the public good by wearing my tallit and saying the Shema out loud. It was a traumatic experience. I was […]

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Why I Was Arrested for Praying at the Western Wall



Add your name to a petition urging the Israeli government to ensure that oversight of the Kotel includes a range of Jewish views and voices and protects gender equality. The Western Wall in Jerusalem, in the words and Yiddish accent of Issac Bashevis Singer, is “like any other Veilin Vall (wailing wall).” It is the only […]

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Israel Has Election Fever



The holidays are over and Israel is open for business. The relative quiet that characterizes the chaggim has been replaced by the type of chaos that only politics can create. Israel is going to have early elections on January 22, 2013. The Knesset will be dissolved and Israelis will have a chance to vote for […]

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Get Your Note in First!



I once spoke at a synagogue in the United States, when I was confronted by a woman. She had come with her 16-year-old grandson to hear me talk about IRAC’s work fighting for pluralism. She had brought him along because she wanted him to connect to Israel. She told me that he loved my message. […]

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Victory in Court for an Unlikely Hero



Ariella Marsden is a hero. This brave 15-year-old girl from the town of Beit Shemesh recently won a landmark court case that shook the ultra-Orthodox world. One day, riding home from school on a public bus, Ariella took a seat in the front of the bus. A few ultra-Orthodox men also boarded the bus and […]

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