The Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel

Thoughts on Religious Freedom and Egalitarian Prayer in Israel

A few weeks ago, I was honored to be asked to give the D’var Torah at my synagogue, MJCBY. The Parsha was V’Etchanan (I Pleaded.) I found this Parsha particularly meaningful on many levels. But the one I address in this commentary is the ongoing struggle in Israel for religious freedom and an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, our holiest site, and recognition of the Masorti (and Reform) streams of Judaism. There is an agreement in place. It has been voted on and approved. But it has not been implemented. It must be.

Here is a small part of my D’var Torah:

Moses reiterates in V’Etchanan that when G-d spoke to us at Sinai, HaShem spoke to the whole congregation at the mountain.

All of us were at Sinai. Israel is our homeland. We all have a responsibility to see Israel live up to its ideals. We all deserve to be treated with respect and without discrimination, whether we are there for one week, a summer, or a lifetime.When G-d spoke to us at Sinai, Moses reiterates in V’Etchanan, HaShem spoke to the whole congregation at the mountain.  All of us were at Sinai. Israel is our homeland.  We all have a responsibility to see Israel live up to its ideals.  We all deserve to be treated with respect and without discrimination, whether we are there for one week, a summer, or a lifetime.

The Masorti Movement Launches a Campaign for Equality At the Kotel

The movement in Israel, with the Foundation in the States, is going to be launching a major petition/letter drive during the holidays, that I hope you will join, calling on the government to live up to its promise of building the egalitarian space at the Kotel, recognizing the Masorti Movement, and fulfilling both the vision of Sinai and the ideals of the Declaration in allowing Religious Freedom for all in Israel.

Moses was barred from the Promised Land.  He pleaded with G-d but, as we saw in the Parsha, he was disappointed and bitter.  We are in the Promised Land, but the vision Israel was founded on, of religious freedom and conscience, of justice has, so far, been denied to us.    We must do more than plead.

We must win.

To read the full text of my D’var Torah, click here.