We created the following materials for the Jewish Agency’s exploration of solutions for the Western Wall, in February 2013, and thought they may be of more general value. Since then,…
Haredim will abandon any government that “gives away” the Kotel to “the Reform”. Put another way – any government that distances itself from the Kotel Agreement could receive Haredi support on other issues, such as the Palestinians. See how you have an influence?
Significant changes are afoot in Jerusalem, as the Israeli government has agreed an "historic compromise". Back in 2013, as these shifts were being mooted, we produced some materials exploring Jewish attachments to the Western Wall.
These are the four case studies we worked on at GJFIII. The pdfs are downloadable here, and we list links to further information regarding these topics.
The Silent Judge
This lesson explores the nature of historical narrative: the ways in which we interpret historical events. We will learn a four-genre model of literary style, and use this model to look at the key events from Zionist history through 4 different different prisms. (more…)
Women at the Temple Margins
If you have been to the Western Wall recently, you may have noticed that the women’s section is markedly smaller than the men’s section, despite the fact that the number of visitors on both sides is approximately the same. This leaves many women feeling disrespected, not to mention uncomfortable, while praying at one of the most holy sites of the Jewish people.
Israelis who define themselves as “chiloni” (non-religious) nevertheless choose to undergo traditional Jewish lifecycle events, circumcising their sons, celebrating bar/bar mitzvah ceremonies and weddings, and burying their dead according to traditional practice. Some of this participation is enforced by Israeli law (more on that in the lessons on marriage and death), but the rituals of childhood are entered into voluntarily (at least by the parents…). While the circumcision ceremony has remained largely identical to the traditional one, the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony has evolved and changed – perhaps because it is a relative newcomer on the scene. Other ceremonies contain different mixes of tradition and new invention.
In terms of the Israel connection in life cycle observances in the Diaspora, the liturgy of the brit, and of bar/bat mitzvah, does not contain explicit references to Israel or the hope of return. However, pidyon haben is wholly bound up with preserving the role of the kohanim and thus serves as a reminder of the Temple and its centrality.