Together or Not

Much has been written, spoken and argued about whether there should be an ecumenical, i.e., “mixed prayer,” section at the Kotel.

I am an Orthodox Jew living in Israel. That gives me the right to express an opinion about public areas and how they should be used in Israel. When I visit the US I have no right to walk into a Conservative or Reform temple and demand that men and women in their sanctuary should sit separately. By the same token, they have no right to come to Israel or especially demand from outside the country how we should or should not construct our prayer areas. Israel is our country and we make the laws here. The Reform and Conservative Jews live in the US and they can make the laws there as they wish.

This does not mean that I don’t respect prayers nor that their prayer, God forbid, is meaningless. Hitler didn’t care which way a Jew prayed and likewise, the terrorist that murdered Jews in Pittsburgh didn’t really care if there was mixed seating in that temple or not. In addition, I feel that the Israeli chief rabbi should have visited Pittsburgh after the tragedy to show sympathy and understanding with the affected synagogue. After all, the victims were Jews and should be recognized as Jews.

All Jews are welcome to visit and come on aliya and they will be welcomed however they cannot be allowed to dictate to the Israeli government how a prayer section can be constructed unless they become members of the Knesset.

About the Author
M.Ed from a leading U.S. university. English instructor. Former Gabai in U.S. and Israeli synagogues. Lover of Israel. Member of the politically right in Israel.