April 13, 2024
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Denigrating Non-Orthodox Jews Is Inappropriate

I am writing in response to the article “10,000 Girls Participate in Atzeret Tefillah at the Kotel,” March 10, 2022. The article praises the huge crowd of seminary girls who showed up to an organized atzeret tefillah at the Kotel on Rosh Chodesh Adar. However, the article contains a much more malicious undertone.

The entire piece—in complimenting the “true bnot Yisrael” who attended the event—is littered with attacks against Reform Jews, Conservative Jews and any Jews who support creating a space at the Kotel where anyone can daven and feel most connected to Hashem. The exclusionary language implies that these Jews who pray differently are not “true” Jews. The author reports that the atzeret tefillah was organized to counter those who “wish to compromise the kedusha of the Kotel,” but by using the Kotel and tefillah to protest the prayers of other Jews, they were the ones compromising the Kotel’s holiness.

The event, according to the article, was organized and sponsored by an organization known as Eretz Hakodesh. From what little I could find of them online, one of their platforms includes “Ahavat Yisrael” which, in their words, means “the unconditional love and concern for all Jews, regardless of background or level of religious observance.” The website goes on to say that the organization “will strive to ensure that the bond between all Jews be strengthened.”

However, the authors of this article indicate with pride that: “By filling the women’s section and the plaza with true bnot Yisrael, by default there would not be room for others” (Emphasis is mine.)

Tell me, does this language make it sound like Eretz Hakodesh intended to strengthen the bond between all Jews, or drive a nail through it? As a community paper, I believe that The Jewish Link should be more sensitive to all of its readers.

Sarit Greenwood
Yeshivat Frisch ’23
West Orange
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