Apr 17, 2011

Masorti Foundation: Masorti Jews in Netanya Attacked as they exit Shabbat davening

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the masorti (conservative) movement in israel - promoting religious pluralism and building community through inclusive, traditional, egalitarian Judaism
Dear Friends,
I would have much preferred to make this message just one of wonderful good wishes, but the senseless hatred of some in the ultra-Orthodox world calls for something more.
I awoke the day before the start of Pesach to read the message below from Yizhar Hess, the Executive Director of Masorti in Israel. It would be bad enough if this were the first report in Israel of such incidents, but alas it is not. The Mayor of Netanya did immediately issue a strong statement condemning these attacks.
As we each prepare our celebrations, we should not forget, but neither should we dwell on, the deeds of evildoers.
Thank you for your continued support of the work of Masorti.
Hag Sameach to all.
David H. Lissy
Executive Director
Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
Though we are nearly at the eve of Pesach, I must share with you an event so very far from the holiday spirit.

Last Erev Shabbat, a group of young men dressed in "religious attire" arrived at Kehillat Bet Yisrael in Netanya, throwing stones at the worshipers as they exited, following the conclusion of Shabbat prayers.  
This was the third such instance to occur in recent weeks. In the previous incidents, in addition to the throwing of stones, the young men attempted to enter the premises in order to create a disturbance inside. Complaints have been filed with the police. Security cameras have been installed in an effort to identify the perpetrators, should they return.

This incident is a continuation of a series of such violent events that has targeted the non-Orthodox streams in Israel. Last Thursday, windows were shattered at the Reform kehilla in Raanana, even as the walls were sprayed with graffiti. A few months back, both the Masorti and Reform kehillot in Raanana were targeted. On the eve of Rosh HaShana, eggs were thrown at the Masorti kehilla in Kfar Saba, Hod V'Hadar, even as the walls were spray painted with vulgarities.

One would be hard pressed to think of anything less in the spirit of Judaism than the stoning of a synagogue on Erev Shabbat. This wave of ugly violence against the non-Orthodox synagogues in Israel must serve as a warning, a red flag, if you will, to all who are concerned with the democratic future of our State. The Masorti movement has established eight new kehillot during these past two years. As non-Orthodox congregations in Israel increase in number, Jewish fundamentalist intolerance rears its ugly head.

May we be blessed with good news and may we all enjoy a Hag Sameach!
Yizhar Hess
To learn more, please contact:
Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 832
New York, NY 10115-0068
(212) 870-2216; 1-877-287-7414
http://www.masorti.org/; info@masorti.org

Rabbi Menachem Creditor
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