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!

The New York Times ”got it” and got it right!

In her featured story Times bureau chief Jodi Rudoren highlighted many of the issues we care so deeply about and which will shape Israeli society and Israel- Diaspora relations:

  • The imposition of Orthodox doctrine in the religious sphere
  • Gender segregation and exclusion from women in the public sphere
  • The unequal status of Reform and Conservative rabbis, synagogues and institutions

I have been freed from my handcuffs after being arrested and locked in jail for participating in a prayer service at the Western Wall but my fight is not over and I hope that neither is yours.

Last week more women who came to the Wall to pray with dignity and equality were arrested. Next year we may face criminal charges. Let’s liberate the Western Wall. It’s about time.

Israeli society needs to rid itself of racist public and religious figures that cynically use our beautiful Jewish sources and rich traditions to incite to racism and intolerance against those who think, act, and look different from them.

Israel still lacks freedom of choice in marriage and divorce, affecting tens of thousands of Israelis every year. The ultra-Orthodox’s monopoly on religious life makes both Israeli Jews and Jews from all over the world feel alienated in the Jewish state.

Thanks to your support we have had our successes this past year:

  • We made history when we won State recognition for 15 non-Orthodox rabbis
  • Gender segregated buses are slowly but surely becoming obsolete.
  • We have found a way to make your voice count: 55,089 individual online actions by supporters like you  have made an impact on the issues that matter.

The upcoming Israeli elections will confront us with major challenges.  We expect a hard and long battle ahead but with your support we will be able to continue our work to realize the values of Israel’s Declaration of Independence which ensures “complete equality of social and political right to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.”

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and healthy 2013.

Image courtesy of Riva Castelnuovo/New York Times.