Spring 2004

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MERCAZ USA Newsletter — Spring 2004

Movement Praises Upgrade of Masorti Kotel While Objecting To Wall Mechitza Plan

The Masorti Movement is praising an Israeli government decision to prepare a proper prayer plaza at the southern part of the Western Wall to serve the Masorti Movement and other non-traditional minyanim. The new prayer area is to be situated in the archeological gardens to the south of the traditional Kotel area and slightly to the north of the present Robinson's Arch "Masorti Kotel".

Plans for the site include a proper access route and accommodations for the disabled, with storage facilities for Torah scrolls and prayer books to be built in the Davidson Visitor Center, at the entrance to the site.

At the same time, leaders of the Masorti Movement are protesting the construction work at the traditional Kotel area aimed at expanding the separate sex prayer areas immediately in front of the Wall deep into the public plaza.

While the Ministry of Religious Affairs insists that the renovation is motivated purely by the need for additional prayer space, the Masorti Movement has called the project a "creeping effort" to turn the entire area in front of the Western Wall into an Orthodox synagogue. "The Western Wall belongs to all the Jewish people," said Rabbi Ehud Bandel, President of the Masorti Movement. "It cannot be the inheritance of one group of people, who do not even represent the majority of the Jewish People."


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