The Western Wall impasse as an indication of what is wrong with our religious leaders

When I visit the Western Wall for prayers and inspiration, I always observe here Jews, and even non-Jews, of different “colors” – in completely white/black uniforms and in just colorful t-shorts – trying to find here the meaning of their individual lives. Everything looks peaceful and inspiring.

Then I read in the news media:

Clash between Haredi and non-Orthodox Jews at Western Wall. The Western Wall plan continues to spark riots: Today, hundreds of Reform and Conservative Jews arrived at the Western Wall in order to hold an egalitarian prayer service in protest of the decision to delay the plan. At the holy site, they encountered dozens of Haredi Jews who shouted and whistled in order to disrupt their prayer service.

Women of the Wall have been fighting a 25-year long battle “to achieve the social and legal recognition of our right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall.”

In what may have been his first words on the subject in Hebrew, Netanyahu said: “At a time when we are continuing in our efforts to reach a solution that will allow every Jew to feel at home at the Western Wall, there are those who would prefer to divide our people and even declare that other Jews are wicked or not Jews at all. We must reject these words and these inappropriate acts that are opposed to the fundamental spirit of the State of Israel.”

At the Western Wall, the Jews are expressing and strengthening their faith – they are not here because the Jewish law is compelling them to do so. At the Western Wall, the Jews are as inspired faithful individuals – not as an organized group led by a rabbi or somebody behaving like a rabbi.

However, sometimes a rabbi or somebody behaving like a rabbi lead to the Western Wall an organized group that disrupts the Western–Wall harmony of the faithful – with the goal of strengthening his/her religious group and membership and with clear knowledge that it disrupts the Western-Wall harmony of faithful. Those official and nonofficial rabbis put their business-based professional interests above the Jewish faith.

That is a well-observed troubling general trend in the “professional Judaism” – the rabbis of multiple different streams and sub-streams are interested more in emphasizing their difference to attract more members and money instead of searching for and strengthening the common foundation of Jewish faith which is the “design” of the God-guided better world for everybody.

Published by Vladimir Minkov

Vladimir Minkov Ph.D. is a nuclear scientist, published author and writer. He is the co-author of "Nuclear Shadow Boxing", a scientific history of the nuclear confrontation between the Soviet Union and USA during the cold war and is the author of many books on the Jewish identity in the Judeo-Christian civilization. Having lost much of his family in the Holocaust and finding his search for spiritual development stifled in the Soviet Union, Vladimir migrated to the United States in the late 1970s. Here in the USA Vladimir work as a scientist on various peaceful applications of nuclear energy together with American and Soviet/Russian scientist. After his retirement, he concentrated his efforts on the study of the morality of the Judeo-Christian Western Civilization connecting the morality of public life with the morality of religious life with the emphasis on the USA and the State of Israel.

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