Kotel Problem Not Haredi Extremism


While I agree with Rabbi Yitz Greenberg’s advocacy of the Sharansky compromise in regard to the Western Wall, there are two elements in his Opinion article with which I disagree (“Time For Modern Orthodox Leaders To Speak Out On Kotel Proposal,” Opinion, April 26).

First, he intimates that opposition to the Women of the Wall is due to haredi extremism. In reality, the actions of the Women of the Wall were offensive to a far larger group of Orthodox Jews and traditional Israelis who viewed the incident as an attempt to inflict feminist American values on a site holy to all Jews.

If there is opposition from the Orthodox community, it is due to the reaction to these offensive actions. It is hoped that this will be overlooked, and a place will be found for everyone at the Kotel.

Secondly, Rabbi Greenberg speaks in favor of full religious equality for non-Orthodox movements in Israel. The reason for non-equality is not “haredi extremism” but the fact that the Reform and Conservative movements speak to an American sentiment and not to an Israeli one. The bulk of the membership of the Israeli Conservative and Reform movements are olim [emigrants] from North America. If they were given full religious equality, their synagogues would become mills for weddings, conversions, and funerals that could not be performed by Orthodox rabbis.

Israel is not the 51st state; it is a much more socially conservative country than the United States.

Fair Lawn, N.J