I am writing to you to share a dramatic moment in Women of the Wall’s struggle for dignity and equality at the Kotel. Last night the WOW Board voted eight to two in favor of beginning negotiations with the Government of Israel on a third section of the Western Wall complex. This vote came after intense debate between WOW’s board members, WOW’s activists, and other committed stakeholders. It was not an easy decision, but we finally agreed that this was the best way forward.
Many of us have been engaged in this struggle for years, and our demands have always been clear. We want to pray at the Western Wall in our own way, and we will never abandon that goal. At the same time we need to be guided by more than our hearts. We need to recognize when there is a chance for real political change. In the past we talked with everyone accept the people in a position to change the facts on the ground. It is time to sit down with the Government and find a solution. This is the reason for the broad support for last night’s vote.
Change is difficult. Just as we have been demanding that government officials, Rabbis and public opinion change, we need to be willing to change as well. For years we said that a separate section was like being thrown to the back of the bus, but we have a chance now to redesign the whole bus that treats all its passengers equally.
This is a process that will not be completed overnight. Until we reach a just agreement with the government that is implemented fully we will continue to pray in our current location. Without the strong support from all of you we would not be here today. We are entering the most exciting, but also the most difficult part of the process. In the months ahead we will be negotiating with the Israeli government on the exact makeup of the new section. We will not accept any compromise that does not accord us the dignity we deserve, and you will be involved every step of the way.
We are opening the door to an opportunity and we will be the architects of real change at the Kotel.
Chair, Women of the Wall