The Jewish Federations of North America has called on Israeli and Diaspora leaders to ensure the Western Wall remains a “spiritual center for all Jews” in an official resolution supporting Natan Sharansky’s efforts for prayer access at the Kotel.
On June 3, the JFNA Board of Trustees and its Delegate Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution supporting the Jewish Agency Chair’s efforts to devise a plan ensuring equal prayer access at the Wall for men and women. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Sharansky to solve the issue, in the wake of demonstrations by the Women of the Wall and counter-protests by some ultra-Orthodox groups.
The resolution expresses JFNA’s “appreciation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s continued commitment to work on behalf of and to strengthen Jewish unity by seeking to resolve the issue.”
Sharansky’s proposal calls for a dedicated egalitarian prayer space at the Robinson’s Arch area of the Wall. JFNA also promised to work with Sharansky as he “develops a pathway whereby the Kotel is a spiritual center for all Jews and a symbol of unity for the entire Jewish community world-wide.”
JFNA has been convening Sharansky and religious leaders from across the spectrum for meetings at its New York offices to discuss the issue, with the most recent gathering taking place last week. These discussions have given Sharansky the opportunity to discuss the community’s positions on this issue.