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The Western Wall in Jerusalem has a new historical footnote, as Jewish feminists prayed legally for the first time at one of Judaism’s holiest sites.
Under police protection the Women of the Wall wore traditional shawls to pray at the female section. It follows a court ruling which overturned a ban on women performing religious rituals which Orthodox Jews say are reserved for men.
After 20 years of fighting for women’s right to pray at the wall, the issue continues to divide opinion in Israel.
Knesset Member on the committee dealing with holy places, Miri Regev was following the event closely.
“For me, as a woman, a traditional woman, it is hard to see women wrapped up in prayer shawls. On the other hand, I also understand that all citizens of the State of Israel want to pray at the places that are sacred to them.”
Calling the police ‘nazis’, spitting and throwing objects at the women, according to reports, hundreds of Orthodox Jewish protesters showed their anger over the ruling.
Three orthodox men have been arrested for disturbing the peace and two policemen were injured in the scuffles at the holy site.
More about: Human Rights, Israel, Jerusalem, Women’s rights
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In a major victory for feminist religious group Women of the Wall (and for all women who want to worship freely at one of Judaism’s holiest sites), an Israeli court ruled on Thursday that women could pray at the Western Wall while wearing prayer shawls.The decision comes after a series of clashes between female worshipers and the Orthodox rabbis who manage the Wall according to a strict interpretation of Jewish law. The rabbis’ enforcement of Orthodox tradition barred women from wearing tallit (prayer shawls), reading aloud from the Torah and entering certain areas around the Wall, all of which significantly restrict women’s ability to pray. Women were often arrested for defying these restrictions.But the court ruled on Thursday that their presence did not pose a threat and did not violate “local custom,” as the Washington Post reports:Continue Reading… … Read More
In a major victory for feminist religious group Women of the Wall (and for all women who want to worship freely at one of Judaism’s holiest sites), an Israeli court ruled on Thursday that women could pray at the Western Wall while wearing prayer shawls.The decision comes after a series of clashes between female worshippers and the Orthodox rabbis who manage the Wall according to a strict interpretation of Jewish law. The rabbis’ enforcement of Orthodox tradition barred women from wearing tallit (prayer shawls), reading aloud from the Torah and entering certain areas around the Wall, all of which significantly restricting women’s ability to pray. Women were often arrested for defying these restrictions.But the court ruled on Thursday that their presence did not pose a threat and did not violate “local custom,” as the Washington Post reports:Continue Reading… … Read More
For months, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky has been working to broker a compromise between Jewish women who want to pray at Jerusalem’s Western Wall and the ultra-Orthodox rabbis who have called their presence an “abomination.”And a compromise may be on its way, as Jane Eisner at Forward reports:If implemented, the proposal, a product of months of deliberation, would mark a dramatic acknowledgement by the state of Israel that prayer at the Wall — regarded as Judaism’s holiest site and a modern-day symbol of national sovereignty — should include non-Orthodox practice in which men and women pray together. But it is uncertain whether the proposal will satisfy Women of the Wall, who for years have tried to hold full prayer services in the women’s only section and may see this compromise as a betrayal of their mission… Under the proposal, sources said, the area now known as Robinson’s Arch on the southern end of the Wall will be greatly expanded to create a prayer space roughly equivalent to the existing men’s and women’s sections. Egalitarian prayer is currently permitted at the Arch, which is an archaeological site, but that prayer is only available at limited times and with an entrance fee. The expectation is that the enlarged space would be free and open around the clock, as the Kotel is now, but that could not be confirmed. The plan also calls for the plaza surrounding the Wall to expand, so that visitors approaching the site in the Old City could clearly chose between praying at the egalitarian section, or the existing sections reserved only for men and for women. Still under discussion is governance of the new prayer area, but several sources said that they thought it would be run by something other than the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the organization that currently controls the Kotel.Women of the Wall head Anat Hoffman has signed off on the proposal while expressing her reservations about its “separate but equal” premise, but the measure still requires approval from the Netanyahu government, “where it may face resistance from Orthodox groups unwilling to share authority over the holy site,” Eisner notes.h/t Adam Chandler at Tablet MagazineContinue Reading… … Read More
A few weeks ago, my sister was in the Passover aisle of her local supermarket when a woman came up to her and asked if she knew where the tahini was. She didn’t. The woman explained that it was always in this particular aisle but now wasn’t, which led my sister to explain that it had likely been moved because it isn’t kosher for Passover, which in turn led the woman to begin inquiring about Passover rules. That blossomed into a larger, nearly half-hour-long conversation about Judaism, with the woman asking lots of questions and my sister trying to answer them. “I did the best I could,” she told me. As anyone who’s ever been expected to represent their entire religion/race/ethnicity/gender/world view knows, it’s a pretty difficult task.Continue Reading… … Read More
Reuters is reporting that ten women, including the sister of comedian Sarah Silverman, have been detained at Jerusalem’s Western Wall for wearing prayer shawls.
Under Orthodox law, which is observed at the Western Wall and upheld by law, women’s public prayer rights are limited–including the ability to wear prayer shawls. According to a spokesperson for the site, wearing a prayer shawl is a right reserved specifically for men.
Susan Silverman told Reuters that “They (police) said ‘take off your prayer shawls’, and we said ‘no’.” She criticized the law, comparing it to “spitting on Sinai.” Irrespective of gender, ”all Jews are in a covenant with God,” she said.
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Too much teeth.
This is the phrase that sears through me as I stare at the rabbi who’s been hired to preside over my cousin’s small, graveside funeral. Minus the gray hair, he looks exactly the same as he did two decades ago, when he wasn’t a rabbi and we lay together partially clothed one late summer night in a neighborhood playground that I had loved as a child.
“Give me head,” he had said after about 20 minutes of making out in the playground’s sand pit underneath the swings.
“You want me to give you head?” I was a barely 19-year-old, conflicted Orthodox Jewish girl, the type who wore long skirts for synagogue and short ones for drinking at bars that let me get away with my fake ID. I was also a virgin who hadn’t yet solved the problem of branching out sexually while keeping what I would later recognize to be a rather idiosyncratic covenant with God.
He undid his belt, clearly disregarding the question mark at the end of my sentence. “That would be nice.”
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