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Dear Friends,

I rarely write about my personal life, however, this month I would like to share with you my and my family’s joy and happiness as my eldest daughter Amalyah will be called to the Torah and become a Bat Mitzvah, on the last Shabbat of January. She was also honorably called to the Torah yesterday morning at the Women of the Wall’s Rosh Hodesh service at the Kotel.

A daughters Bat Mitzvah, naturally, brings about many emotions, perhaps most apparent, pride. Pride as a father knowing all the effort she has put into this moment and pride as she claims her place among Am Yisrael. While I am always proud of our Movement’s work in egalitarian Jewish life cycle events, and in particular giving young girls a chance to have a Bat Mitzvah, this experience has allowed me to appreciate personally the opportunities that we are able to provide for thousands of other girls like my daughter. On this day, she should not feel that she is doing something out of the ordinary, or taboo. She should feel, just as a boy doing his Bar Mitzvah does, that she is part of a rich and holy tradition, and part of a people.

This month we will celebrate the holiday of Tu B’shevat, a celebration of nature, planting, and growth. When reflecting on Tu B’shevat and on my personal experience as the father of a soon to be Bat Mitzvah, I am reminded of the famous legend about Honi the circle maker –
“One day, he was walking along the road when he saw a certain man planting a carob tree. Ḥoni said to him: This tree, after how many years will it bear fruit? The man said to him: It will not produce fruit until seventy years have passed. Ḥoni said to him: Is it obvious to you that you will live seventy years that you expect to benefit from this tree? He said to him: That man himself found a world full of carob trees. Just as my ancestors planted for me, I too am planting for my descendants”.
(Bavli Taanit 23a)

May every Bat and Bar Mitzvah that we perform, every care-package that we give out, every new Kehilla that we build around Israel, every school that uses our progressive Jewish curriculum, and every conversion that we perform, be the seeds that flourish into a pluralistic and democratic Israel, for generations to come.

Rabbi Gilad Kariv

2018-01-19T16:45:19+11:00January 19th, 2018|News|

High Court Demands Update


We have received the results of the Supreme Court Hearing. They are outlined well in this news article:

In response to the Supreme Court’s decision following yesterday’s hearing, Rabbi Gilad Kariv, President and CEO of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, said:

“The court’s decision reflects the fact that the government has not presented the court with any real progress towards the construction of the egalitarian prayer plaza at the Western Wall. We hope that the decision will make the Israeli government internalize its duty and begin serious and fair negotiations with the Reform and Conservative movements and with Women of the Wall. Until a worthy, dignified and official plaza is established, we will continue to insist on our right to pray at the existing Kotel plaza.”

All the best,
Mallory Kahn-Johnston  IMPJ

2018-01-19T16:16:33+11:00January 19th, 2018|News|

Support Equality at the Kotel

“The Reform and Conservative movements must not be allowed to gain a foothold…those who are not far from abominations, unholy, and unkosher – them – throw them to the dogs, and Women of the Wall – this group placed at the edge of the camp, next to the Dung Gate, in a far-off corner, that is their place, throw them to the dogs.”
This quote from ultra-Orthodox MK Meir Porush, using biblical terminology to show how little they value progressive Judaism, is how Orly Erez-Likhovski, director of our legal department, began in front of the Supreme Court at our hearing about the Kotel yesterday morning, showing the judges an example of what we are up against.
Yesterday morning, an expanded panel of seven Supreme Court judges heard our case for equality at the Western Wall. They spent a long time on this issue – in our history, we have never witnessed such a long hearing.
During the hearing, we showed them videos of the harassment of participants at monthly Women of the Wall prayers, and of the guards being violent towards people carrying Torah scrolls. The judges showed deep concern, and Chief Justice Hayut questioned why we are not allowed to use the Torah scrolls on site. She was answered, matter-of-factly, that all of the Torah scrolls are in the men’s section. The judges also asked about the fences built around the wall to hide the Robinson’s Arch area, and requested more written material from the government.
We received the preliminary court decision today requesting more information from the State, and giving them three months to supply concrete plans for the Kotel renovations. It is going to take the court months, at the very least, to come to a decision. During that time, we will continue to fight. We will fight for equality at the Western Wall – publicly and legally – until we get the equality we deserve.
Support us in our continued fight for equality at the Western Wall.


Rabbi Gilad Kariv, President of the IMPJ
Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of IRAC
Rabbi Noa Sattath, Director of IRAC

2018-01-19T12:10:17+11:00January 19th, 2018|News|
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