The Jerusalem Post
Statements, not supplications
Regarding “Orthodox agitators disrupt Conservative bar mitzvah at Western Wall” (July 12), the Kotel is not a neighborhood community center where men, women and children go to engage in religious, social and cultural activities. And while the Kotel most certainly does not belong to one single group or theology, it is not subject to dealer’s choice either. The sanctity of the remains of the Temple demands a very high level of respect and reverence, something which is, I’m afraid, being overlooked.
The recent skirmishes and violence taking place at the
Kotel are more than a little disturbing. While I consider myself relatively open-minded and accept that there is no one specific structure that defines how prayer services should be conducted or how the Torah is to be respected, my openness stops at the perimeter of the Kotel.
Conduct there should emulate as much as possible that which was the norm during the periods in which the Temple was operative. Contemporary or modernized versions of Judaism are perfectly fine as long as they remain within municipal boundaries; pluralism and diversity at the Kotel, I’m afraid, is not welcome and should not be encouraged.
Don’t misunderstand. I am by no means condoning the hijacking of the Conservative-based bar mitzvah that recently took place at the Kotel, and find such behavior repulsive, regardless of the venue. The Conservative and Reform communities, however, seem more interested in making political statements than in respecting the holiness of the place. There was no reason to make a young man entering into adulthood the center of a pointless tug-of-war. True, thuggishness is unacceptable, but so is
davkaness. And that is precisely what our more liberal members of the tribe are engaged in.
Not a day goes by that we fail to pine for the rebuilding of the third Temple, and can hardly wait for it to once again become the center of Jewish activity. But until we set our differences aside and learn to live with each other, that day will not be arriving any time soon. The Kotel, I should think, would be a perfect place to begin setting things right.