The Central Conference of American Rabbis Condemns Invasive Body Searches of HUC-JIR students at Kotel
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
The Central Conference of American Rabbis condemns, in the strongest terms, invasive body searches of female students of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, conducted by security forces at the behest of Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall, this morning, in violation of an Israeli Supreme Court order forbidding such searches.
Reform rabbis take this incident personally: The women who were violated and dishonored are our future colleagues.
The searches constitute violations of fundamental Jewish values of tzniut (modesty) and kavod(honor), violations committed in service of an unjustified prohibition against women bringing Torah scrolls and tallitot to the Kotel.
The Central Conference of American Rabbis commends Cantor Tamar Havilio of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and Rabbi Gilad Gariv, Executive Director of the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, for their efforts to protect the female students’ dignity. We stand in full support of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, its students and faculty, and its President, Rabbi Aaron Panken.
We call for an immediate apology, and for the appropriate discipline of Rabbi Rabinowitz and the security personnel who carried out these immoral, unnecessary, and undignified searches.
Rabbi David Stern Rabbi Steven A. Fox
President Chief Executive
Central Conference of American Rabbis