The International leadership of Masorti Olami and MERCAZ Olami are thrilled that after many years of struggle for acceptance at the Western Wall (Kotel), the voice of pluralistic Judaism has finally been heard. The historic decision of Israel's government to create a pluralistic prayer plaza at the Kotel recognizes non-orthodox streams of Judaism and broadens opportunities for Jews around the world to connect to Israel, Judaism and Jewish history. There will be one entrance to the Kotel, opening up pathways for choice, education and tolerance.

This important decision shows the respect the Israeli government has for all Jews who come to the Kotel from all over the world to pray, to celebrate Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies, and for many other occasions.

As an international Jewish Zionist movement, the worldwide Masorti movement, together with our representatives on the Jewish Agency Board of Governors and in the World Zionist Organization, has strived for and supported this solution. 

"I remember as a young student, praying at the Kotel with the Masorti Movement on Tisha B'Av. The ultra-Orthodox hurled objects and curses at us while we were davening. It was we, the Masorti daveners, who were declared in violation of Israeli law and forced from the Kotel, rather than the ultra-Orthodox. At that moment I understood that we had to fight for the freedom of Masorti pluralistic expression in Israel.

This struggle and our movement's presence brought us to this great day - the day the government officially recognized the right of Masorti Jews to daven in their own way in the same cherished place.

If, all those years ago, we had stayed outside the Kotel gates, we would not have effected change. Instead, we chose to take ownership in the building of our country. This hallmark decision by Israel's government has validated our pluralistic approach to Judaism.

As we approach the 120th anniversary of Theodor Herzl's first Zionist Congress in Basel at which Zionist ideals were initially laid out - that Jews from around the world will come together to rebuild their national home in Israel - Masorti Olami & MERCAZ Olami congratulate Israel's government on reaffirming those ideals." - 
Masorti Olami & MERCAZ Olami Executive Director, Rabbi Tzvi Graetz.

Click here to view a timeline that outlines the Masorti Movement's involvement in the struggle for Egalitarian Prayer at the Kotel.