Update re Women at the Wall

Update re Women at the Wall

[This links to a NY Times update on this issue; and this links to a way to raise your voice on this matter.] Jake Wallis Simons, reporting from Israel for the British newspaper, The Telegraph, muses on the peculiarities of the ultra-Orthodox in Israel and the latest twist in their battle against Jewish women asserting their rights to pray at Jerusalem’s Western Wall:

…. A couple of years ago, … I interviewed a chap by the name of Rabbi Meir Hirsh for BBC Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent. Rabbi Hirsh is the leader of a controversial Orthodox sect called the Neturei Karta, or “Guardians of the City,” who oppose the existence of the State of Israel. The group has extensive contact with both Fatah and Hamas, and senior representatives have even held meetings with President Ahmadinejad….

Last Friday, … Judaism’s holiest site – highlighted another bitter division within the Jewish world. Police officers were seen dragging away four women who were praying at the wall, including Rabbi Elyse Frishman, a pre-eminent leader of the Reform movement of Judaism, and the editor of the Reform prayer book. The reason? They were praying too much like men. …

Women of the Wall was founded in 1988 to demand “social and legal recognition” of a woman’s right to pray as she pleases. Over the years, negotiation and haggling both inside and outside the courts produced an uncomfortable compromise. …

Last week, however, a fresh diktat banned women from holding a prayer shawl, book of prayer or set of phylacteries in the Western Wall plaza. It was this that led to the recent scenes of anger and confrontation, and eventually to an upsurge in arrests.

In response, the Progressive Judaism organisation issued an acerbic statement. “How ironic that, as Jews around the world celebrate the victory of spirit over forced assimilation, Jews who want to pray have their rights denied by an ultra-Orthodox hegemony,” it said. “Israel still fails to live up to the ideals upon which it was founded, as a haven for Jews everywhere.” It went on to demand that a special area be established at the wall in which men and women could pray together. …

By | 2012-12-25T13:42:00-05:00 December 25th, 2012|Blog|0 Comments

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