Rabbi Carl M. Perkins, of Temple Aliyah in Needham, Massachusetts, was inspired to record a video tribute to the Masorti Movement in Israel. This Rosh Hashanah, as we prepare to celebrate despite challenges we could not have imagined a year ago, Rabbi Perkins reflects on a trip to Israel in 2019 where he was invited to give a D’var Torah at the Kotel. Where at the Kotel? Not the men’s section. But at the Egalitarian Kotel administered by the Masorti Movement.
Says Rabbi Perkins: “I was grateful that there is a place, one place on the same Wall, where non-Orthodox Jews can gather and daven together. That egalitarian section of the Kotel would not be there were it not for the Masorti — or the Conservative —Movement in Israel.”
Rabbi Perkins, whose congregation has hosted many Masorti Israel rabbis over the years, notes that over 100,000 Jews annually have attended services or celebrated life-cycle events at the Egalitarian Kotel. He refutes the myth that Israelis are either entirely secular or Orthodox.
“There are many Jews in Israel who are neither stridently secular nor uncompromisingly Orthodox. There are many Jews who value the Jewish tradition. They want to see it impacting on their lives. And on the lives of their children. They want the opportunity to worship and to learn and to grow together.”
It’s the Masorti Movement in Israel that makes that possible. It’s the Movement that maintains and fights to preserve our rights at the Egalitarian Kotel.
“Now that right, the right of the Masorti Movement in Israel, to conduct those egalitarian services, could easily be taken away. And it will be if the Masorti Movement doesn’t get the support of Conservative Jews like you and me.”
Rabbi Carl M. Perkins at the Egalitarian Kotel