Conservative Movement's Synagogues Call For Global Flash Mob In Support Of Women Of The Wall
"The arrest of Anat Hoffman [at the western Wall last week for reciting the Shema prayer out loud] compels us to be participants in the creation of a Jewish Homeland for all Jews. In the spirit of our deep and unshakeable love for Israel, we will continue to coordinate and work with our partners to address this issue in a sustained and long-term manner."
Since the release of our statement yesterday responding to the shocking arrest of Anat Hoffman at the Kotel for the ‘crime’ of wearing a tallit and reciting the Sh’ma, we have been overwhelmed by emails and calls from our kehillot, members, affiliates and friends who want to know how best to respond.
As the arrest of Anat Hoffman, the leader and organizer of Women of the Wall, is but the most recent instance of the growing religious intolerance within Israel to expressions of non-Orthodox Judaism, we are organizing to let the Government of Israel know that its current climate of religious extremism is unacceptable.
Committed, observant Zionists who love the Jewish Homeland, we are now taking a proactive role in the struggle for the soul of Israel and have devised a three-pronged course of action:
First, we urge our members, friends and affiliates to flood Prime Minister Netanyahu’s e-mailbox with letters of protest, expressing our outrage at Anat Hoffman’s arrest and treatment our concern for the future of the state. Letters can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will find a sample letter attached.
Secondly, we are calling on our kehillot to dedicate at least one Sh’ma over the course of Shabbat to this struggle. I suggest that individuals or kehilla leaders write a creative Kavanah to precede the public recitation of Sh’ma that highlights the meaning of the prayer and calls upon the Government of Israel in the spirit of the literal meaning of the Sh’ma -- “Hear O Israel” -- to create a climate of respect and dignity for all Jews.
Finally, we are hereby announcing that on Monday afternoon, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, we are coordinating a Global Sh’ma FlashMob. At that moment across the world, we are asking our kehillot, members, friends and affiliates and everyone who cares about this matter to gather to recite or sing the Sh’ma, adding a short statement about who they are, where they are located and why they support the cause of religious pluralism in Israel. Each public Sh’ma recitation and statement should be filmed (keep it low-tech; smart-phones are fine) and then immediately posted to the Facebook page we have just created at http://www.facebook.com/groups/uscjglobalshma/?notif_t=group_added_to_group.
For those in Manhattan on Monday, we invite your participation at our daily minyan, held at the headquarters of United Synagogue at 820 Second Avenue, corner of 44th Street.
The arrest of Anat Hoffman compels us to be participants in the creation of a Jewish Homeland for all Jews. In the spirit of our deep and unshakeable love for Israel, we will continue to coordinate and work with our partners to address this issue in a sustained and long-term manner.
Rabbi Steven Wernick