Religious Pluralism at the Western Wall – Resolution for Review

If you are a member of Women’s League, you can vote on this resolution by clicking here.


In 1990, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism affirmed by resolution that religious pluralism is essential to Jewish unity, that the Western Wall in Jerusalem is a cherished holy place for all Jews of all shades of belief, and that women have the right to worship at the Western Wall free from intimidation and harassment.

Since then, Women of the Wall (a pluralistic group of Orthodox, Conservative and Reform women), along with the Masorti and Reform movements and other progressive organizations, have struggled for women’s right to pray at the Western Wall with tallit and tefillin and read the Torah, and perform ritual celebrations such as lighting a Hanukkiah.

Women’s prayer at the Western Wall is governed by “local custom” as defined by the government appointed ultra-Orthodox Rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites.

In January 2016, the Israeli government approved a negotiated plan (Mandelblit Plan) for a third, pluralistic and equal section of the Western Wall.  Unlike the current orthodox controlled separate men and women’s sections, this new section would be a prayer space accommodating both egalitarian and women’s prayer.

Whereas, the Mandelblit Plan has been approved by the Conservative/Masorti Movement, Reform Movement, Jewish Agency for Israel, and the Women of the Wall; and

Whereas, the Netanyahu government has not implemented the plan and has been rebuked by the Supreme Court of Israel for this failure; and

Whereas, women seeking to join in egalitarian prayer and celebration at the Western Wall continue to suffer harassment, assault and arrest,

Therefore, be it resolved that Women’s League for Conservative Judaism believes that:

  1. The government of Israel should act to implement the Mandelblit Plan swiftly and without further delay;
  2. This plan for progressive and egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall represents a positive step toward inclusiveness and recognition of the legitimacy of Masorti Judaism and other progressive movements of Judaism in Israel;
  3. This plan represents empowerment of Jewish women in Israel as they seek to lift their spiritual voices and express meaningful Jewish identities, a goal shared by Jewish women in the Diaspora;
  4. Limiting, by government action or nonfeasance, Jewish women’s right to pray at Judaism’s holiest site is a violation of civil and human rights and the right to religious freedom.

33 thoughts on “Religious Pluralism at the Western Wall – Resolution for Review”

  1. Judy Goldstein says:

    This is a positive and appropriate resolution for our organization to support.

  2. Cathy Swerdlow says:

    I support fully. Thank you for promulgating this resolution,

  3. Looks great !! How about including what the World Zionist Congress (the Jewish Parliament of the world)voted for regarding this entire topic during its sessions in Israel in October of 2015 and the support that we and the Congress gave this entire topic?

  4. Blanche Meisel says:

    In total agreement with this statement.
    Another major issue is the lack of knowledge of Jewish history for a great number of Israelites of all ages.

  5. Bea Reynolds says:

    It is imperative that women be allowed to wear Tallit and tephilin and pray at the Kotel.
    The Torah was given to ALL the Jews at Mount Sinai, not only to men. Please validate this WLCJ
    Resolution and vote FOR at this year’s historic, 100-year Convention.

  6. Anne Nicolson says:

    We need to stand with our Israelis sisters. This is an important resolution and an important issue.

  7. Susan Farber says:

    This indeed is a necessary statement of support. The harsh reality is that Netanyahu and other governmental officials resist implementing the Mandelblit Plan and the unending influence of the Haredi community. What can be done to undermine this stranglehold and weakening of Jewish values?

  8. Lorna Isenberg says:

    I fully support this resolution!

    1. Joan Lefkowitz says:

      I support this resolution completely. It’s time that we are able to pray as we wish.

  9. Edith Claman says:

    I fully agree with this resolution. Edith Claman

  10. Debbie Guest says:

    Netanyahu and his administration need to support the Plan, and not obstruct its implementation.

  11. Annette Kaufman says:

    When I first visited the Kotel almost 20 years ago, I expected to feel a rush of emotion that had waited in me for a lifetime. Unfortunately when I got there, all I felt was anger. It was Erev-Shabbat and the men in our group were embraced by the revelers. I do not need to say what the tiny women’s section looked like with no opportunity for communal prayer. Miryam and the women sang and danced after they crossed the Sea of Reeds. Do not tell me the men could not hear their voices in the desert. The current policy is a slam at the Torah that values Kol Isha.

  12. Hilary Rosenbaum says:

    Total agreement for this resolution. WE must receive our rights to pray at the Wall as equals.

  13. Francine Abramoff says:

    I am in total agreement with this statement. It is an important and necessary resolution.

  14. Susan says:

    I have prayed wearing my tallit at the Kotel with Women of the Wall. If I wear my tallit in America there is no reason I should be forbidden to wear it in Israel. I am the same Jewish woman wherever I am and it is my custom to pray with a tallit

  15. Marsha Goldwasser says:

    Thank you WLCJ. We also need to make sure that the right to pray at the site is safe and secure. I know of families who have used the site only to have ultra Orthodox Jews disrupt their services. If they are going to restrict our access to the main plaza and even use security personnel to enforce their control, then the same security should be offered to those at Robinson’s Arch to be able to pray without being harassed.

  16. marlene herman says:

    We should be standing with the Israeli sisters and organizations rather than urging the government when we are not living in the State and therefore have no standing. I do agree that our strengths are a necessary voice on the subject.

  17. Grace Graiser says:

    I agree with the resolution.

  18. Elaine Mintz says:

    It is time for the Haredi community to stop making the rules. They are only a small part of the Jewish people as a whole. I fully support this resolution!

  19. Sharon Benveneste says:

    I fully support this resolution. It is an embarrassment that the Government does not implement and support it due to the influence of a minority.
    Political influence and should not interfere with enforcement.

  20. Karin Kruger says:

    I support the concept of a third pluralistic section of the Wall; however, I grew up as an Orthodox Jew and would still go to the separate Women’s section rather than the egalitarian section. Unlike other comments, I believe our Jewish values are strengthened by following Halachah; at the same time, as an original Women’s Libber, I support women wanting to enhance their spirituality in a different manner than mine.

  21. Lisa Ribot says:

    I support this resolution. That we are still waiting for Israel’s government to allow equal access to pray at the Western Wall is embarrassing and shameful. This isn’t my Judaism.

  22. Cathy Kodroff says:

    I agree with supporting this resolution.

  23. illene Rubin says:

    It’s so important that we stand up and be counted! Thx!

    1. Mindy Steinholz says:

      I fully support this. Judaism does not stay stuck in one place or one vision- it grows and changes. It is time to move forward for all Jews especially for our daughters and our daughters’ daughters.

  24. Claire Pettigrew says:

    Women have always been such cornerstones of our faith. I stand by this resolution to allow any women who wishes to pray, adorned as she feels she should be passed.

    While I am traditional about somethings, this is one area that I feel the men are once again dragging their heels.

    I say Yes!!!!

  25. Elinore Ehrlich says:

    The Israeli Knesset passes a law but does not implement it. This resolution must pass and force the issue. Elinore Ehrlich

  26. Barbara Feinberg says:

    I am in full support of this resolution supporting religious pluralism at the Kotel. Thanks to WLCJ for creating a process for its members to join the discussion and have our voices heard.

    1. Lauren Wishnew says:

      I am in complete agreement with this resolution; it is imperative that women are assured the same rights as men, and that Masorti Judaism is deemed legitimate.

    2. Sally Greenstein says:

      I support this Resolution and cannot understand why the Israeli government cannot enforce what is law.

  27. Frances Bokser says:

    I agree with supporting this resolution.
    Frances Bokser

  28. Judith krongold says:

    Women can accomplish a great deal by uniting .
    Let’s use our woman power and finally get our
    rights to pray as we choose

  29. Ruth Aach says:

    I say yes

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