Year-In-Israel Students Respond to their First Trip to the Kotel

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Eggs and Hatred Won’t Kill Prayer at Kotel ­– The Jewish Daily Forward

First-year rabbinical student Jenn Maggin writes, “Heading over to the Kotel for Rosh Hodesh with Women of the Wall, we knew we were striving for social justice — that we would chant our prayers and pray with all of our heart. That day, we would work toward liberating the Kotel once and for all.  I felt like I was floating on a hammock of happiness while being surrounded by my HUC-JIR classmates who share the same dream of becoming Reform rabbis, cantors, and educators, and improving the world through Judaism. As we begin our new journey toward becoming Jewish leaders, we think about the long journey Women of the Wall has taken, and how far we have come toward freedom of prayer.”

God’s Guestbook: My First Visit to the Kotel – HUC-JIR’s Student Blog, Meet Our Students

First-year rabbinical student Laura Seide writes, “The Kotel is kind of like God’s guestbook. The pale smooth stones practically beg to be painted with the colors of life and hopes and dreams. I know that when I choose to leave a prayer or a wish behind, wedged into a crack, that wish will long outlive me, the ink, and the paper.  At the Kotel, I felt, more than anywhere else, my capacity to make a difference and my own impact on history. As long as I live my life in a way that honors my prayer, then I will always have left a piece of myself, my own glorious, unique, wonderful self, in the stones that will always stand in the Jerusalem sun.”


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the nation's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu