Where freedom confronts communal values
In the U.S., our cultural ideal is “freedom”: freedom from restrictions, individual freedom to do anything we want that is not illegal. Freedom is not so much an Israeli ideal, rather “sustaining community” – belonging to something sacred and larger than oneself – is what moves Israelis.
During one of my recent trips to Jerusalem I visited the Kotel, as I often do for a spiritual uplift. But this time I was disheartened. All I could see was barriers and obstructions. The women’s section seemed squeezed into an even smaller space than it was in my previous visit, and no one could really see over the barriers into the men’s section. I got the distinct feeling that I was not welcome, even...
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