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. But as a result, he wanted nothing to do with Israel. I shudder to think how many times I became so immersed in my desire to make everyone I meet push back against the Orthodox monopoly in Israel that I also pushed them away from Israel. Has the same feeling occurred to any of you reading this weekly newsletter? If the answer is yes, then I ask for your forgiveness.
IRAC is passionate about fighting for social justice in Israel. The reason we are so zealous about our work is that we believe that one day Israel will be a pluralistic society; one day we will remember the time when women were forced to sit in the back of the bus, kept from speaking on the radio, and forced off billboards, and look back at it as a crazy blip on Israel’s road to becoming a mature democracy. To realize this vision we need Jews (and non-Jews) living outside of Israel to be aware of the challenges that we face, but also to feel hopeful that these challenges can be overcome. Every year, after the High Holidays, the Western Wall is made ready for the new year’s prayers. Immediately after Yom Kippur, the Kotel is cleaned of all the previous year’s notes. This is done with great care and respect and the small pieces of paper are taken to a geniza to be given a symbolic burial. We want all of you to be among the first to send their wishes to the Kotel this coming year.
Click here to write your own message. We will take it over to the Western Wall immediately after the Holidays. We pray with our hearts but we also need to pray with our hands. The coming year will provide ample opportunities for both. May we all find meaning at this Yom Kippur day.