Kabbalat Shabbat at the Egalitarian Kotel (Ezrat Yisrael)
Rationale: Israel is not only the country of the Jews living within its boundaries, but the nation state of the Jewish people. As such, the State of Israel has a great responsibility to the Jews of the Diaspora - a responsibility to transform Israel into a Jewish center in the world and a home in which every Jew will feel comfortable. The Kotel is not just a place of prayer, rather it is Judaism's most significant national symbol and the place to which all Jews throughout the generations have turned their hearts and their eyes.
Need: While the Egalitarian Kotel allows for the celebration of an egalitarian Kabbalat Shabbat, the location - at the southern end of the Kotel - has not yet developed the transformational reputation that would attract liberal Jews to celebrate their Kabbalat Shabbat there. The Egalitarian Kotel is attractive to both Israeli and Diaspora Jews who have become frustrated and alienated by the restrictions at the Kotel main plaza where friends and families cannot pray together in their own tradition. Up until this visionary project, the Egalitarian Kotel has remained largely unpopulated during Kabbalat Shabbat due to lack of resources and government funding for religious services at this area of the Kotel. While the space is often filled with B’nai Mitzvot on Torah Reading days, it is very quiet on Friday night. To this end, there is an unmet need to implement a regular weekly Kabbalat Shabbat service that will become part of the local tradition, and will help to populate this special prayer space.
Project description: Our goal is to fill this unmet need and create an exciting and spiritual experience that connects our love of Shabbat and traditional prayers for welcoming Shabbat with our modern embrace of Judaism and spirituality.
Shabbat in Jerusalem can be a unique, beautiful and spiritual experience. A quiet atmosphere descends upon the city as the sun slowly disappears and daily activities cease. Kabbalat Shabbat services in every style, stream and color help both residents and visitors welcome Shabbat in the tradition that brings meaning to them as they come together at the end of the week.
The Kotel on Friday night bares a particularly festive atmosphere in welcoming the Sabbath Queen. This eternal Jewish place that has been a symbol of our longing and tradition for generations is a beacon drawing those from near and far to pray together and celebrate our holy day.
We will now have a place where families and friends can join together for a Kabbalat Shabbat without barriers. Please consider supporting this project with your presence and your funds.
Please come join us at the Egalitarian Kotel (Ezrat Israel). Together, families and groups, youth and adults, Israelis and travelers from around the world, will pray in a halachic and egalitarian prayer service that will move you in an abundance of song and joy.