Education is the key to success. This axiom seems so intuitive that the idea of a major segment of a country’s population excluding itself from basic education seems ridiculous. Could you imagine schools that deny thousands of students access to subjects that would give them the tools to work and support themselves? That is exactly what is happening here in the state-funded Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) school system.
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 just as he was boarding the plane.
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, were with our supporters in the men’s section. These men are living legends and among Israel’s modern heroes.
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 whole movement in Israel and abroad celebrated this achievement; however it is now clear to me that the celebrations were premature.
Israelis went to the polls last week and sent a clear message to the current Prime Minister. Netanyahu will remain Prime Minister, but in a roundabout way, with a greatly reduced party and without a solid majority. In the final tally of the votes, the right block has 61 seats and the left block 59 seats. Parties that advocate for internal-Israeli issues have gained strength at the expense of Netanyahu’s current coalition.
Last week Israel had some of the worst flooding we’ve seen in 20 years. Solving problems big enough to shut down the main highway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv require strong leadership. Israel never has a shortage of big problems that need fixing, and the way we say “to fix” in Hebrew is L’taKen.
On October 17, 2012, Rosh Chodesh Heshvan, I was arrested at the Western Wall for the crime of wearing a tallit and singing. Although it was only two months ago, so much has happened since. The level of intimidation by the authorities at the Kotel is getting worse. Additional women have been detained for a similar crime, including a prominent Reform rabbi. In light of the Jewish Agency recently taking up this issue I wanted to update you on my personal situation and IRAC’s continuing work to make the Western Wall a home for all Jews.