My mixed impressions about Rosh Chodesh Adar will still take some time to settle, but I feel enriched and empowered knowing that each small step is meaningful in the ongoing struggle for all Jews to feel welcome and respected at that holy space.
The Israeli government promised to come up with a plan for the Kotel deal's implementation by June 1st – but promises yielded to political pressure and procrastination. All the while, visitors to the Kotel continue to be assaulted by the gender police.
Writer Carl Sandburg once said, “If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.” In Israel, the ultra-Orthodox establishment is doing lots of table-pounding and yelling in response to progressive Judaism's many recent achievements.
A rabbi with a black hat and beard once told me that a black hat and beard don’t make a Chassid, a pious Jew who goes beyond the law in fulfilling their duties toward others and God – and a specific gender doesn’t, either.
Moses spoke to the heads of the Israelite tribes, saying: "This is what the Eternal has commanded: If a householder makes a vow to the Eternal or takes an oath imposing an obligation on himself, he shall not break his pledge; he must carry out all that has crossed his lips." - Numbers 30:2-3