If you weren’t able to be a part of Meretz USA’s conference call with Women of the Wall chair, Anat Hoffman, yesterday, you still have a chance to hear a recorded version. Just dial 218-844-0951 and, when prompted, dial the access code: 388791#
The technical quality isn’t perfect, but it’s worth it to hear the perspective of a “warrior” for Jewish pluralism and women’s rights, as Meretz USA past president, Lilly Rivlin, characterized Anat in her introductory remarks.
I have never been overwhelmed spiritually by Jerusalem or the Western Wall, but I can fully identify with what Anat had to say. Here are a few highlights:
• The challenge of Zionism was to create a sovereign State and infuse it with Jewish values. But there is a struggle ongoing in Israel as to what these “Jewish values” are: Are they the values of the Book of Joshua – replete with war and conquest – or are they the values of the Book of Isaiah, with its focus on ethics and justice?
• The fight for rights at the Wall is really a fight for freedom and pluralism in all of Jerusalem. And this fight in Jerusalem is really a fight for the character and soul of Judaism and the Jewish people.
• Too many secular Israelis regard the Women of the Wall issue as a religious one, divorced from their day-to-day reality. American Jews – who helped implant the idea of pluralism in Israel, Anat noted – need to step up and raise their voices to make Israelis take notice and understand what’s at stake.
• Anat encouraged everyone to take part in the Reform movement’s letter-writing campaign. And, to help support the Women financially, she also suggested that people purchase a Women of the Wall tallit and “wear their support”. All net proceeds go to the organization.
To hear the entire conversation with Anat Hoffman, dial 218-844-0951 and, when prompted, dial the access code: 388791#