Historic First Reform Service at Western Wall!!!

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Rabbi Zavidov leading Reform Worhsip Service at Western Wall

On Thursday, February 25, Rabbi Ada Zavidov (center in photo above), of Kehilat Har-El, Jerusalem, and Rabbi Zachary Shapiro (left), of  Temple Akiba, Culver City, California, in the framework of the CCAR convention, led the first official Reform worship service at the Western Wall,  following the Israeli government’s decision to formally grant an egalitarian prayer space at the site.  The prayer book used during the service was B’hadrat Kodesh.  This volume, published in Israel by the Society for Classical Reform Judaism and Har-El Congregation of Jerusalem, and edited by Rabbis Howard A. Berman and Ada Zavidov,  is a modern Hebrew translation of historic English passages from the SCRJ’s Union Prayer Book- Sinai Edition, Revised. It was conceived to provide a worship resource for Israeli Reform Movement, enabling it to embrace the shared heritage of Progressive Judaism around the world.

Responding to this occasion, Rabbi Howard Berman, SCRJ Executive Director said: “Over a hundred American rabbis – already experiencing this emotional historical moment, were introduced to our work and influence in an unprecedented way.  I cannot overstate the immense significance of this for the Society – in  “one fell swoop”, more rabbis and leaders have encountered the renewed vitality and vision of the Classical Reform renaissance than we have ever achieved in any other setting. The broadened awareness and appreciation for our mission that they will bring back to their congregations throughout the country, will be immeasurable, and will have lasting effects.  And as the attached photos reveal, all of the national leaders – Rabbis Rick Jacobs of the URJ, Steve Fox of the CCAR, Aaron Panken of HUC, and Denise Eger, CCAR President, were all there and sharing in this experience.

4-Kotel service 1

Update: Friday morning, February 26

“The significance this (of the opening of the new egalitarian section of the wall and of the use of B’handrat Kodesh for the first official Reform Worship Service), added Rabbi Berman,  is reflected in the proclamation this morning by leading Orthodox rabbis in Jerusalem, of a Day of Mourning and Fasting for the desecration of the Wall by the Reform ” heretics and agents of Satan…”


Click here to read the Jerusalem Post article about the event and to watch a video clip of the gathering.

Click here for more information about  B’Hadrat Kodesh.

Click here to learn more about Kehilat Har-El and Rabbi Ada Zavidov in Jerusalem.


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