October 19, 2012, New York, NY – The following statement was written by WRJ President Lynn Magid Lazar in response to the arrests of women, including Anat Hoffman, IRAC Executive Director and Women of the Wall Chairwoman, praying at the Kotel:
This week, in Israel, women were praying and those women were arrested. This is a tragedy that must not happen again!
Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center and chairwoman of Women of the Wall, was arrested for praying at the Western Wall. Anat was part of a prayer service for Rosh Chodesh Chesvan that included Women of the Wall members and Hadassah convention delegates, who had convened in Jerusalem to mark the 100th birthday of the founding of Hadassah. This arrest is an outrage and an atrocity!
Women play an incredibly valuable role in Jewish communal life, and WRJ helps women of the Reform Movement support and enrich local communities and the larger Jewish world. These women deserve the same rights and privileges as men when observing their faith. As such, we stand with our Israeli sisters, with Women of the Wall, with Hadassah, and with Jewish women around the world in solidarity during this tragedy.
WRJ also advocates for a strong, democratic, and pluralistic Israel, an Israel where the Kotel, as well as bus lines, sidewalks, and medical clinics are open and accessible to all Jews, regardless of gender. As we look toward the next 100 years of WRJ, we look forward to embracing an Israel that is free, strong, and open for both men and women. We commit ourselves to one another and to that goal.
As Hadassah celebrates its 100th birthday, WRJ is on the verge of our own Centennial Celebration in 2013, which will include a Centennial Trip to Israel and Berlin, where we will also join Women of the Wall to celebrate Rosh Chodesh at the Kotel. It is even more important now than ever that our members join us during this trip, to stand united for women’s right in Israel and around the world.