Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sent to Ambassador Michael Oren

Dear Ambassador Oren:

I am writing to you regarding the situation at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The arrest of Nofrat Frenkel and the interrogation of Anat Hoffman, while alarming, are merely a symptom of a far deeper problem: namely that Israel is a country which offers freedom of religion to everyone but the Jew, and that the religion that the Jew is free to practice is increasingly a bizarre aberration from the Judaism that most American Jews, from Reform to Right Wing Modern Orthodox, would recognize as the faith of their fathers. It is a Judaism which, by reversing conversions violates the Torah's injunction not to wrong the stranger; it is a Judaism which wrongs the widow, telling her she is an agunah even after when she had been told she was free to marry. It is a Judaism that commits the idolatry of offering prayers to dead "g'dolim" to intercede on their behalf with the heavenly court. It is a Judaism that cleaves to the sorcery of segulot. And with each of these sins, it creates a chillul HaShem that distances American Jews from Israel, and Israeli Jews from any sort of Judaism at all - one yored I know refuses on principle to wear a kippah.

So, I am not going to simply ask that the Women of the Wall be allowed to pray and read Torah at the wall unharrassed, nice as that would be. I am going to ask that the Ministry of Antiquities give serious reconsideration to any sort of religious oversight of the wall. I am going to ask that the site which has been the longing of all Jews since the days of Bar Kochba be redeemed from the captivity of an Israeli Rabbinate that increasingly claims it as the exclusive heritage of a heretical minority and restored to all klal Yisrael as their eternal inheritance.


Rich Furman

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