Respect and authenticity are two different concepts, yet they often are confused in discussions about access to the Kotel, conversions and “who is a rabbi” (“Diaspora Jews In A Bind On Next Moves,” July 7).
Though Orthodox, I am a political progressive, and I respect those who disagree with my understanding of what is true and what is not religiously. Though I am confident in my own beliefs, for me, I recognize that there is a subjective element in arriving at one’s theological position, and I acknowledge that perspectives different from mine can be arrived at by intelligent, good people.
But that respect has nothing to do with determining authenticity. Reform Judaism and Conservative Judaism, though cousins, simply are not the same religion as traditional Rabbinic Judaism, even if believed by their adherents to be a more accurate expression of reality.
I know the issue has become an emotional one, but it is an historical fact beyond legitimate dispute that on the Temple Mount, the Temple, the Torah mandated karbonas [animal sacrifices] to be sacrificed there, and they have always been sacred and holy to those who believe in traditional Judaism. That is not the case for the “modern movements.”
In that context, non-Orthodox claims to the Kotel are no more valid than would be Lutheran claims to the Vatican, even if they called themselves Reform or Conservative Catholics.