On September 12, the Israeli Supreme Court held a hearing to assess progress on the plan to expand the Kotel/Western Wall plaza. In January, Hadassah applauded the historic decision—voted on and approved by the Israeli Government—to expand the plaza to accommodate a space for egalitarian prayer not under the supervision of the orthodox Western Wall Administrator. We thanked the Israeli Government and Jewish Agency Chair Natan Sharansky for their leadership and commitment to diverse prayer at the Kotel, and their inclusion of Diaspora Jewry in these important discussions.
During the last eight months, there has been little progress towards implementation, while women donning talitot and carrying Torah scrolls continue to face intolerance and negativity.
As the President of the largest women's Zionist organization, I am heartened to see the High Court's attention and inquiry into this issue. Approval of the plaza expansion plan was a major step forward for religious pluralism, and the preservation of Jewish unity. We hope this hearing will lead to swift progress— ensuring that Judaism's holiest site is accessible to all Jews.
Hadassah has long advocated that the Kotel remain a source of cohesion for world Jewry, rather than one of division. Hadassah leaders and members have been vocal and active advocates—from the U.S. and on the ground in Jerusalem—for everyone's right to pray, individually and collectively, freely, and in accordance with their own religious practices.