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July 31, 2016 / 25 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Kotel’

The Kotel: Have We Gone Mad? A Call to All Denominations and Other “Holy” Warriors

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

You, dear readers, must forgive me for asking this question, but: Have we Jews gone mad? Kotel mad? Have we lost it? Are we Jews, who represent the best brains in the world, incapable of solving a minor – albeit pressing – problem in our long history of unprecedented upheavals and unparalleled challenges?

Yes, I know that no one will take my suggestion seriously, but since we seem to have not yet regained our sanity, I offer it nevertheless:

We must free the Kotel of all denominations and abolish all synagogue services at the site, including bar and bat mitzvah celebrations. We must remove all sifrei Torah,tefillin and tallitot and restore the Kotel to its former state: A place where all are welcome and where not even the most lenient halacha can be violated. Where there are no mechitzot (partitions) and other sources of ideological or physical conflict. A place used solely for individual prayer and meditation, just as our ancestors treated it throughout our long history.

The Kotel is not a synagogue. It never was a synagogue and should never become one. It is a place where we Jews can meet, pray and share what we have in common instead of focusing on what divides us. Where we can smile at each other and laugh about ourselves, even when we vehemently disagree.

The Kotel situation is extremely explosive, and the stakes are high. It seems that we are unable to maintain enough unity to preserve even one single place in the entire world where we can come together without any party lines.

We run the risk of allowing our disagreements to spiral out of control and harm all of Israel, far beyond what we could have imagined. And once that happens, no government will be able to put its foot down, not even if forced to bring security personnel to defend us against ourselves.

It is precisely because we all view the Kotel as a place of such infinite holiness, that these clashes can result in almost irreparable damage and impurity.

The greater its sanctity, the deeper it can fall into an abyss. It can easily turn into a place of such desecration of God’s name that once it does, all of us will hide our faces in shame and ask ourselves how this could ever have happened to us.

It won’t take long before the nations of the world will be utterly disgusted at the sight of a people that represents the Bible and its unprecedented moral and religious values; a 4,000-year-old nation that has outlived the Egyptians, the Romans, the Greeks and the Babylonians; a nation that managed to survive the greatest atrocity ever committed in human history only a few decades ago; and that has now fallen so low that its people are fighting each other at the holiest place in the world. They will think we have gone mad. And right they will be!

The Kotel is the only place in the world where there is no clock, no earlier or later. It is the one site that has never been abandoned by the Jews throughout our long history; the place for which we prayed for thousands of years, and at which we mourn every year. It is a wall that no Babylonian, Greek or Persian was able to destroy; a place for which, throughout millennia, we have broken millions of glasses at our children’s weddings, and for which our soldiers have sacrificed their lives. It is a wall soaked with the frozen tears of millions of Jews – women, men and children.

And now we are destroying it with our own hands, robbing it of its holiness and eternity. We are desecrating the tears embedded in its stones, and violating the memory of our soldiers who bravely fought so that we can present ourselves before God at the holiest place in the world. We will be left with only a wall drowned in fights and power struggles that hide behind questionable religious laws, secular agendas and huge egos.

Is this what we returned to our ancestors’ land for, after 2000 years? Is it for this that millions of prayers were sent to Heaven, collected by God, and ultimately answered in ways we dared not imagine but which actually materialized in our own days?

Here, then, is my humble request to all fighting parties: Leave the Kotel alone and stop this madness. Go and fight somewhere else.

And though I realize that my suggestion will probably not be taken seriously by many of you, the day may likely come when you will regret it.

And if you will not, perhaps it is preferable that the government close down the Kotel entirely and wait until we Jews regain our sanity, and can sit together to discuss its future in a civilized manner.

When that takes place, God will wink at us approvingly because we will have finally grown up, and we will wink at God since we will have realized how foolish we had behaved.

Perhaps then the Mashiach will come. But not a second earlier. Until now, we have blocked his entrance to the gates of the Kotel.

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo

The Reform Prayer Protest at the Kotel

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Here are photos of some of the representatives from the Reform and Conservative Movements during their Protest-Prayer Rally at the Kotel plaza on June 16, 2016.

Reform Prayer Protest 2

Reform Prayer Protest 3

Photo of the Day

Legal Advisor Permits Reform’s Mixed Prayer Protest at the Kotel

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Israel Patt, the legal advisor of the Ministry of Religious Services, on Thursday determined that the Kotel Rabbi cannot legally prevent the mixed afternoon prayer being planned by the Reform and Conservative in the Kotel Plaza.

The decision to hold the mixed service—in the common area leading up to the men’s and women’s section—was reached by the leadership of both movements in Israel in response to the confrontational prayer service with a mehitzah-divider that was conducted on Tuesday by Jerusalem Chief Rabbi, the Rishon Lezion Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar — on the platform at the southern section of the Kotel officially reserved for mixed prayers.

The mixed prayer protest in an area that is not intended for prayer at the Kotel Plaza, had been planned originally to protest the collapse of the Netanyahu government promise to provide “egalitarian” services at the Kotel, which has been reneged on due to fierce objections from the Haredi coalition partners.

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites of Israel initially requested legal advice regarding his authority to use police forces to remove the participants in a mixed service from the plaza.

In an urgent response letter he sent to Rabbi Rabinovitch, Patt insisted that “After examining the issue, after consulting the relevant legal authorities, and on the opinion of the Attorney General, we’ve reached the conclusion that under the current circumstances there is no room for you to exercise your authority to prevent mixed prayer in the upper Kotel plaza.”

The intended mixed prayer service is planned not for the “Kotel sundeck” platform erected by former Religious Services Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) in 2013, which was re-divided and staked by Rabbi Amar on Tuesday, but rather in the area of the plaza which is past the security check post and before the side-by-side men’s and women’s sections.

The Movement for a Jewish State on Wednesday appealed to the Justice Minister and the Chief of Police to prevent the mixed prayer service in its planned location, calling it a violation of the law and a show of contempt for the legal authorities.

Some photos from the prayer protest can be seen here.

JNi.Media

A Man at the Kotel

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

A journalist heard about an old Rabbi who visited the Kotel, the Western Wall, to pray there three time a day, every day for 50 years.

Thinking it was a great story, he traveled to the Kotel, and watched the old man at prayer.

When he finished, the reporter went over to interview the rabbi and asked, “Rabbi, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall to pray?”

“Around 50 years,” the rabbi answered.

“Wow! And what do you pray for?”

“I pray for peace between Jews and Arabs. I pray for an end to hatred and for brotherhood among all the nations.”

“And how do you feel, after doing this for 50 years?” the reporter asked.

The rabbi responded, “Like I’m talking to a wall!”

Photo of the Day

Police to Close Some Old City Entrances to Jews on Shavuot Eve

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

The police will be prohibiting Jewish foot traffic to and from the Kotel via the Muslim Quarter from Shabbat evening until 1:30 AM on Sunday.

Last year, Arabs stabbed 2 Jewish boys that were on their way to the Kotel from Damascus Gate (Sha’ar Shechem) on Shavuot night .

As Ramadan coincides with Shavuot this month, police feel they will be unable to protect Jewish pedestrians, and it will be easier to simply not allow Jews into the area with numerous Muslims.

On Shavuot night, it is traditional to learn all night, and then walk to the Kotel for morning prayers at sunrise.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Have You Ever Seen So Many Jews in One Place? [video]

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Ari Fuld, standing on the roof of Yeshivat Netivat Aryeh, gives us a top-down view of the Kotel plaza, with tens of thousands of lovers of Jerusalem overflowing the square.

Next year on the Temple Mount.

Video of the Day

I Witnessed a Miracle Last Night [video]

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Yesterday, I witnessed a miracle and I want to share it with you.

Before I tell you about yesterday’s miracle, I want to give you a little background. 23 years ago, I enlisted into the IDF as a Lone soldier. I still remember the chills I felt the first time I put on my IDF uniform. Those chills were caused by 1% excitement and 99% was due to some kind of subconscious flash of 2000 years of history and me, the Jew, in Israel, in an IDF uniform. WOW!

I remember thinking about my grandparents on my father’s side who jumped every time a glass broke because they were scarred for life from Christalnacht or my grandma from Ima’s side who survived Auschwitz 70 years ago with no certainty about the future and then thinking, here I am, their grandson, in a Jewish country that has been miraculously revived after 2,000 years, in an IDF uniform ready to protect the Jewish people in the Jewish homeland Israel.

Can you feel the chills?

Tonight my family was at the Western Wall in Jerusalem along with tens of thousands of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and friends. We stood at a wall that for two millennia stood empty waiting for us to come home. A wall that stood as a memorial to a golden age of a Jewish Jerusalem that was burned to the ground. A wall that stood silent as we were expelled from one country to another, burned, gassed, shot and beaten as we cried for 2,000 years from homesickness. A wall that has known many bitter tears for way too many years. Tonight as I witnessed my extended family (tens of thousands of them) crying as their sons stood proudly dressed in IDF uniforms at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. I realized, the tears are no longer tears of pain and suffering, these tears are tears of pride and joy.

Considering there was a time, not so long ago, that Jerusalem was limited to a word in our daily prayers and the idea of the Jewish nation returning to the Land of Israel was considered biblical fantasy, tonight’s sight was miraculous.

To think that not so long ago, we were the subjects of a final solution where our extinction was the goal and our nation was almost systematically destroyed. It’s hard to believe on a national, historical and religious level that I am here watching my nephew, who is standing proud wearing the IDF uniform, with a gun in one hand and our Tanach in the other and swearing that he will do his best to make sure NEVER AGAIN!.

As I looked around and witnessed the tens of thousands of Jews, who gathered from all 4 corners of the Earth and are here, now, standing in Jerusalem, at the Western Wall, across from the Temple Mount, watching their sons being sworn in as IDF Paratroopers to defend the Jewish State of Israel, I realized I was witnessing a modern day miracle!

שהחיינו וקיימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה! Good luck Eli Fuld and Mazal Tov to Moshe and Deborah Fuld

If you want to help some IDF soldiers you can do do at these links:
http://www.stogether.org/donate/coffee-campaign/
http://www.stogether.org/water-packs-for-idf-soldiers/

Ari Fuld

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/first-person/i-witnessed-a-miracle-last-night-video/2016/06/02/

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