Israel’s Knesset to hold pluralist menorah lighting

Ben Sales

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Israel’s Knesset will hold a Hanukkah candle lighting including women and representatives of the Reform and Conservative movements.

The lighting, to take place Tuesday, was set up by Knesset member Michal Rozin of the left-wing Meretz party as a response to a state candle-lighting ceremony at the Western Wall on Sunday that did not include women. Women of the Wall, which organizes monthly women’s prayer services at the Western Wall, held its own candle lighting at the site on Sunday, also in protest of the state ceremony.

Tuesday’s lighting will include Reform Rabbi Gilad Kariv and Conservative Rabbi Yizhar Hess — leaders of their respective denominations in Israel — as well as Women of the Wall chairwoman Anat Hoffman; Hanna Kehat, founder of Kolech Religious Women’s Forum, and Mickey Gitzin, founder of the religious pluralism nonprofit Be Free Israel.

“We are creating a growing circle of Israelis that don’t only support religious pluralism on a political level, but also demonstrate that it can be done,” Kariv told JTA. “We are moving forward with building a wide alliance of religious and secular groups that accept the pluralist reality in Israel as a fact and blessing.”

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