On January 31, the Israeli government voted to approve the expansion of the Kotel/Western Wall plaza to accommodate a space for egalitarian prayer. In response, Hadassah National President Ellen Hershkin released the following statement:
As the President of the largest women’s Zionist organization, I celebrate this major step forward for women’s equality, religious pluralism, and the preservation of Jewish unity.
We have long advocated that the Kotel remain a source of cohesion for world Jewry, rather than of division. This decision ensures that Judaism’s holiest site is accessible to all Jews.
Hadassah leaders and members have been vocal and active advocates -- from the U.S. and on the ground in Jerusalem -- for all women’s right to pray, individually and collectively, freely, without harassment, and in accordance with their own religious practices.
We thank the Israeli government and Jewish Agency Chair Natan Sharansky for their leadership and commitment to examine prayer at the Kotel, and their inclusion of Diaspora Jewry in these important discussions.
As a member agency, Hadassah joins with the Jewish Council of Public Affairs and the greater Jewish community in marking this historic decision.