The following is from Judy Wall, co-president of Partners for Progressive Israel, reacting to Shmuel Rosner’s NY Times opinion piece (“Don’t Disrespect American Jews“) on how Pres. Reuven Rivlin (pictured above, at right, meeting with a PPI delegation) still needs to fully accept the legitimacy of non-Orthodox streams of Judaism, which American Jews adhere to in greater numbers than Orthodoxy:
Although there is much to admire in President Rivlin’s words and actions during the past year, it is troubling that he continues not to support the rights of practicing non-orthodox Jews in Israel and the diaspora. This particular case is deeply personal and disturbing to me. The Conservative rabbi who made this enormous commitment of bringing a child with special needs into the full experience of Jewish life was denied the opportunity and satisfaction of carrying out and authorizing his Bar Mitzvah.
Religious pluralism in Israel is an issue on which we we must stand firm and allow our voice to be heard. History has shown us that when Jews are not given an alternative to Orthodoxy, they often disengage from Jewish practice and identification. I very much hope that President Rivlin will come to recognize religious pluralism as a human rights issue and a necessary part of a true democratic society.