Vandalism at Kehillat Ra’anan, Reform congregation of Ranana
This morning, November 24, the members of Beit Samueli, Kehillat Ra’anan awoke to find their synagogue vandalized with spray painted death threats directed at the heads of the Reform Movement in Israel and the US. The vandalism included a spray painted Jewish star and writing “The Divine Presence will never move from the Western Wall”. At the synagogue’s entrance a knife was found with a quote from Rambam’s laws for murder written on it, alongside the names of Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center, Gilad Kariv, Executive Director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, and Rick Jacobs, President of the Union of Reform Judaism in the US.
Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center, in response to this morning’s events: “This vandalism is a result of a wave of incitement that points out Reform Jews as second class citizens. Our work is to ensure that there are no second-class citizens in Israel – not women, not Arabs, not Reform Jews. Israel should embrace its diversity and not let extremists dictate life choices for the rest of us.”
Noa Sattath, Director of the Israel Religious Action Center, said in response to this morning’s events: “This is a shocking, hateful occurrence and an escalation in the aggression against the Reform Movement and its institutions seen over the past year, and is fueled by the unprecedented attack of Reform Judaism lead by senior figures in the Haredi community. We will continue to combat this kind of hatred by working to advance equality, freedom and democracy, and the values of acceptance and tolerance.”
Yossi Cohen, Executive Director of Beit Samueli, Kehillat Ra’anan, said: “Upon arriving this morning at my second home, I was shocked to see that once again people are persecuting and harming progressive Judaism. In this space, we run three kindergartens, and my first concern was to make sure that everything was okay, although I’m not sure what to say to children when this is the first thing they see when arriving to kindergarten.”
This threatening act of vandalism comes on a backdrop of incitement of Reform Judaism by senior ultra-Orthodox rabbis and politicians over the past year, and the struggle for the implementation of an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall promised by the government this past January.
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