By Rabbi Iris Richman
*Announcing Wake Up for Religious Tolerance! Rosh Hodesh Sivan, in Manhattan, Friday morning May 10, exact time and place TBA.*
As last time, we have applied for a NYC Parks permit, and await the results – but are receiving expedited consideration, since this is a first amendment issue.
The haftarah (2 Kings 7: 3-20) that we read in this week’s combined weekly Torah parasha of Tazria-M’tzora addresses the metzora/leprosy described in the Torah portion (though it is not the disease of leprosy as we know it today). It was an affliction that separated and isolated people and deemed them impure. In this haftarah, four afflicted men who have been cast out of the community decide in desperation to desert to the Arameans, who lay in wait to attack the Israelites. In a stunning turnabout, they find the Aramean camp deserted. Although their first and understandable impulse is to take all of the material possessions of the Arameans for themselves, upon reflection, they realize a greater truth. They conclude that they cannot remain silent and must rejoin the Israelites and share their news and their plight, even though the Israelites had cast them out.Last night we awaited the fate of our sisters at the Kotel in Jerusalem, to learn whether on Rosh Hodesh Iyyar, the morning of April 11, they worshiped in peace or were cast aside yet again by some of our fellow Jews. Five women were arrested for the “crime” of wearing a tallit and davening while female. Thanks to the wise and courageous actions of J. Sharon Larry Bavly and the two MKs who supported the women every step of the way – MKs Tamara Zandberg and Michal Rozin – the Judge found that they committed no crime – and the only disturbance of the peace was on the part of those who tried to interfere with the women davening! Copy of the decision in Hebrew attached, translation to follow. Now we have the first positive decision – clearly the most positive first step in a long and continuing journey. There will likely be many more arrests and judges before tolerance is established. I spoke to Anat Hoffman this morning, who is very happy at this vindication, and of course, is ready to continue the 24 year long struggle of Women of the Wall!
*We* must ask the question for ourselves anew – do *we* remain silent, and deny that our fates are united, or do *we* resolve to stand together as one Jewish people?Those who joined together on Rosh Hodesh Nissan already know the power and sacredness of our joining our Jewish Voices Together. If you would like to build on that experience or join in for the first time, please let us know by email and by signing up for the event:
If you can volunteer to help with social media, public relations or ushering and other help on May 10, please let us know that too.