Pan Denominational Rabbinic and Cantorial Outcry In the Aftermath of Violent Graffiti
at Home of Women of the Wall Board Member
Rabbis for Women of the Wall and Cantors for Women of the Wall are informal groups of Jewish clergy from every stream of the Jewish people. We do not represent our movements, nor our respective associations, nor Women of the Wall. Our statement in support of religious pluralism and women’s rights at the Kotel, the Western Wall in Jerusalem, is at www.rabbisupportpluralism.org.
The following quotes are in response to the recent graffiti found at the home of Women of the Wall Board member Peggy Cidor.
Cantor Jack Chomsky, President of the Cantors Assembly and International Co-Chair of Cantors for Women of the Wall: “The Price Tag attacks are … desperate, cowardly and filled with hate… This is deeply unacceptable.”
Rabbi Yael Ridberg, International Vice Chair of Rabbis for Women of the Wall: “There is no excuse for such behavior. Acts of vandalism like this will not threaten the commitment of Women of the Wall supporters to ensure that the Kotel is a place of prayer for all people.”
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Senior Vice President of the Union of Reform Judaism and International Vice Chair of Rabbis for Women of the Wall: “All of us who lived in Israel when Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated know all too well that violent words and hateful graffiti can lead down a horrible and tragic path. This is an act of violence not only against the Women at the Wall, but all of us who cherish human dignity.”
Rabbi Brad Artson, Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, Vice President of American Jewish University and International Vice Chair of Rabbis for Women of the Wall: “Threatening, anonymous graffiti on the walls of a Jew who seeks the freedom to pray as a Jew – where have we seen that before? The very violence and cowardice of that graffiti is a betrayal of Torah and Jewish values and must strengthen the resolve of those who are shining God’s light of justice, inclusion and love to redouble our efforts. For the sake of Jerusalem, we will not be silent!”
Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, founder of CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and International Vice Chair of Rabbis for Women of the Wall: “I especially appreciate Ms. Peggy Cidor’s response that ‘what happened is a crisis and a crisis is the best opportunity to stop and think over what happened and to create a dialogue.” This underscores the respect for clal yisrael and the practices of others that have characterized Women of the Wall’s position for years. Ms. Cidor’s offer of dialogue is a model of how to pursue change in a highly charged situation. This response highlights that the opponents have a lot to learn from Women of the Wall, not only as to the spiritual beauty of women’s prayers, but also how to pursue an argument for the sake of Heaven.”
Rabbi Stan Levy, Congregation B’nai Horin – Children of Freedom, and International Vice Chair of Rabbis for Women of the Wall: “This … placing graffiti on the wall of the home of a woman who comes to the Western Wall to pray reminds us that senseless hatred among Jews remains today. The words of the prophet Malachi’s lament rings out in response to this attack: “Don’t we all have one Father, has not one G-d created all of us? Why do we deal treacherously with each other profaning the covenant of our ancestors?” This woman who prays at the Wall sanctifies it. The person who applied graffiti to the wall of Ms. Cidor’s home desecrated not just the wall of her home but also the Western Wall and the name of G-d.
Rabbi Yocheved Mintz, Congregation P’nai Tikvah, President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern Nevada, and International Vice Chair of Rabbis for Women of the Wall: “May those who truly pursue peace bring these perpetrators to justice and may the time come, soon and in our day, when the Kotel can return to all the Jewish people and become, once again, a place of prayer.”
Rabbi David Kalb and Rabbi Pamela Frydman, International Co-Chairs of Rabbis for Women of the Wall: “We call upon the government of Israel to take all necessary steps through the aegis of appropriate government officials to negotiate, approve and implement a fair and equitable long term and short term plan for Jews of all streams to pray at the Kotel in accordance with their custom free of threat and harassment.”