Central Conference of American Rabbis

Condemns Beating of Charlie Kalech and Alden Solovy

By Ushers at the Kotel in Jerusalem

April 22, 2015

The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) condemns, in the strongest terms, the physical assault sustained by Charlie Kalech and Alden Solovy at the Kotel, the Western Retaining Wall of the Jerusalem Temple Mount and Judaism’s holiest site, on Monday, at the hands of men claiming to be Kotel “ushers.”  The violence was an abhorrent response to a great blessing and tremendous courage.  On Rosh Chodesh Iyyar, Women of the Wall gathered to pray, as they have for decades.  Kalech bravely passed a Torah Scroll to the women through the mechitzah dividing the men’s and women’s sections.  For the first time in over twenty years, women held, read, and danced with a full-sized Torah Scroll at the Kotel.

We are disturbed by reports that police denied the victims prompt medical attention, and by reports that the two men were not permitted to be accompanied by their attorneys or witnesses when they reported the assaults to the police.  In an Orwellian turn of events, Kalech was treated as a criminal rather than as a victim, and was arrested for the “crime” of passing the Torah Scroll to the women.

We pray for the healing of our friends and heroes, Charlie Kalech, who suffered injuries to his head, and Alden Solovy, who sustained bruises to his liver and kidneys.   

We demand that charges against Kalech be dropped immediately, and that charges be swiftly brought against the perpetrators of this senseless violence. 

We reaffirm our support for all aims of Women of the Wall, boldly led by Anat Hoffman.

Reform Rabbis will not rest until men and women enjoy equal rights to pray and rejoice with the Torah at Judaism’s holiest site, free from threat of injury, whether physical or psychological.

 

Rabbi Denise L. Eger                                                                      Rabbi Steven A. Fox

President                                                                                           Chief Executive

                                 Central Conference of American Rabbis