Following Monday’s arrest of 10 women praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Conservative Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President of the Rabbinical Assembly (the international association of Conservative rabbis), called for “a quick solution that respects religious pluralism and women’s equality.”
An assembly press release stated that Schonfeld has been an outspoken critic of the treatment of non-Orthodox Jews at the wall. Among those arrested this time were RA members Debra Cantor of B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom in Bloomfield, Conn., and Robyn Fryer Bodzin of the Israel Center of Conservative Judaism in Flushing, N.Y.—both Conservative rabbis. In response to the arrests, Schonfeld declared:
“Today’s arrests at the Western Wall are a deeply concerning development at a time when we were hopeful for real progress on religious pluralism and women’s equality at this sacred site. It is unthinkable that in 2013, Israel is still denying the religious freedom of Jews wishing to express their faith without fear of being detained. Today’s action once again divides the Jewish community’s unity and drains energy away from crucial issues demanding our attention.”
Adding to Schonfeld’s comments, Conservative Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik, president of the Rabbinical Assembly issued the following statement:
“I am proud of rabbis Bodzin and Cantor and all those who were willing to put their personal freedom at risk today on behalf of all of us. Rabbi Cantor, one of the first women ordained by our movement, and Rabbi Fryer Bodzin, ordained in 2005, embody the immeasurable contribution that women make to the Conservative Rabbinate and world Jewry. “
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