Religious Traditions Under Siege at Jerusalem’s Western Wall

Since its formal establishment as a modern state in 1948, Israel has always been governed by traditional Jewish concepts – the Shabbat and all Yom Tovim are publicly observed, the laws of kashrut are implemented in the Israel Defense Forces, and the complex laws of marriage, divorce and conversion are scrupulously administered by the rabbinate, among many other religious matters.

Today, however, Israel faces an existential crisis of its collective soul. The nefarious forces of illegitimate strains of purported “Judaism” such as the Reform and Conservative movements have brazenly exercised their influence in their ultimate quest to radically transform Israeli society into a wholly secular culture; completely devoid of adherence to Hashem’s will and his Torah mandate.

According to substantiated  information provided by “Shomrei HaKotel”  – a new organization whose mission it is to boldly confront the multifarious legal challenges targeting the holiness of Israel by such well funded organizations such as the Israel Religious Action Center (an affiliate of the Reform movement in the United States) the Conservative branch of Judaism and the Women of the Wall group who have coalesced on a professionally coordinated campaign for total acceptance of “egalitarian” prayer at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

In a March 6, 2018 article that appeared on the Times of Israel web site, Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit penned a highly charged response to the High Court of Israel –  ruling that the southern section of the Western Wall should be designated as a “holy site” for pluralistic prayer, and the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate should not have any control over the area.

The TOI article indicated that the attorney general’s statement came “in response to several ongoing High Court petitions, coming from both sides of the issue of egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall. Among the petitioners are the major non-Orthodox Jewish movements, the Women of the Wall (and its splinter group, which calls itself the Original Women of the Wall), and the Women for the Wall, who are against women’s Torah reading at the Western Wall.”

In November of 2017, an ugly incident occurred at the Western Wall when “Rabbi” Rick Jacobs, the head of the Reform movement, attempted to bring a Torah scroll through the Western Wall plaza’s main entrance. His objective of holding a Reform service led by women “rabbis” was met with opposition from Orthodox Jews and area guards who sought to prevent a possibly violent altercation.

The area in which the Reform, Conservative and Women’s prayer groups seek to establish egalitarian prayer is located within the Davidson Archaeological Park in an area called Robinson’s Arch. It is separated from the main prayer area of the Kotel by the ramp leading up to the Mughrabi Gate, which is the only entrance for non-Muslims to the Temple Mount. The Israeli Conservative movement have used the Robinson’s Arch area for their rendition of prayer since 2000.

Preserving the Sanctity of the Kotel

Stepping up to challenge the incessant onslaught of those organizations whose raison d’etre is to fundamentally revise traditional Orthodox prayer at the Kotel is Rabbi Mati Dan – the founder of Ateret Cohanim, an organization dedicated to redeeming  Jewish homes and property throughout the Old City and resettling Jews there.

With a spirit of unflagging dedication, Rabbi Dan has spearheaded a multi-pronged campaign to lobby the Israeli government and to present cogent petitions to the state’s judiciary in order to make the case that the vigilant adherence to the core values of the Jewish people is essential to our survival as a people and a unified nation.

Rabbi Dan is of the firm belief that if the courts and those in power in the government could be awakened to the realization that there are deleterious consequences to critical decisions that will impact generations to come, perhaps they grant this matter the gravitas it deserves prior to legitimizing a resolution that brazenly flies in the face of time honored Jewish practice and customs.

As such, Rabbi Dan has used his innate talents to gather a professional cadre of lawyers whose mission it is to present solid legal challenges to the state and the court system; with the ultimate goal of seeking justice for tradition.

Moreover, in order to gain public consensus, Rabbi Dan mobilizes over a thousand men and women throughout Israel to come to the kotel at strategic times to vocally protest the Women of the Wall monthly Rosh Chodesh “prayer” demonstrations.

Joining Rabbi Dan in his mission to preserve the holiness of the Kotel is Yechezkel Moskowitz, a devoted volunteer from the New York City area.

In an exclusive interview granted to this reporter, Moskowitz ruefully observed, “As one who has done extensive research on the agenda of the Reform and Conservative movements, it is abundantly clear that their quest to secularize prayer is only a smoke screen for their ultimate objective of removing Hashem, Torah and all vestiges of morality from Israeli society.” He added, ” As a matter of fact, I would go even further and say with great assuredness that their goal as political and religious liberals is to decimate the Jewish character of the State of Israel.” From his perspective, the liberal progressive Jews  seek to create a multi-national entity with Muslims and Christians defining the political and cultural nature of the country. To Moskowitz, and from his understanding, other observant Jews, this movement represents an insidious scourge that is comprised of adversaries within our midst. Their campaign may begin with the issue of prayer but does not end there. It is a movement  that must be consistently challenged in  courts of law and in the court of public opinion.

Moskowitz also stated that it is noteworthy to be aware of the fact that such advocacy organization as the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) and its ideological offshoots are nothing more than clever subterfuges in which to implement their agenda. “These organizations are essentially proxy NGOs (non-government organizations) with overt ties to the Reform movement,” he said. “And let’s not be fooled by their well crafted propaganda either. Such personalities who have dominated the headlines as of late such as Women of the Wall leader Anat Hoffman are people whose agenda is far reaching in terms of imposing liberal, secular values on Israeli society,” he added.

IRAC also states that another agenda issue of theirs is “fighting racism and advancing a shared society between Jews and Arabs in Israel.” Moskowitz notes, “Tragically this is the most dangerous precept that they promulgate. This is about championing not only a two-state solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict but they are calling for widespread assimilation and intermarriage as they promote their globalist agenda. This is beyond pernicious as they want to severely dilute and ultimately eradicate Jewish identity and religious devotion in Jewish life.”

As to what can be done on a pragmatic level to curb the perilous onslaught of the Reform, Conservative, Women of the Wall and other egalitarian groups. To Moskowitz the answer is to bolster a strong Jewish national character in Israel, According to Moskowitz, “Each of us, every Jew who persistently clings to the derech of Hashem and maintains a truly observant Torah life in spirit and deed needs to dedicate their time, energy and resources to ensuring that the mounting legal battles that we face each day to preserve the sanctity of the Kotel and in Israeli society can be fought with dignity and purpose. We need to educate our families, friends and community members of the abysmal situation that is gripping us today in Israel and beyond that, we need to know that participation in challenging the forces of secularism is indeed a Kiddush HaShem.”

We ask that Orthodox rabbis dedicate their Shabbat sermons to highlighting the egregious agenda of the Reform movement and the Women of the Wall group. We ask that both children and adults are afforded an accurate education on the contemporary history of the Kotel as they are infused with the teachings of our rabbis of yesteryear and today. We ask that synagogues organize committees that exclusively focus on letter writing campaigns, prayer vigils, special panel discussions, educational seminars and local demonstrations in order to sway public opinion, ” said Moskowitz.

Moskowitz also exhorted those who deeply care about the future of the Kotel to join the work of Shomrei HaKotel through learning more and playing personal role in ensuring the preservation of the sanctity of the Kotel.  To find out more information, please visit the “Save Our Kotel” web site at www.saveourkotel.org.

 

 

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