Twenty-four years ago, in December 1988, a group of us, women from the diaspora, carried a Torah scroll to the women’s side of the Kotel, the Western Wall, in Jerusalem, and began chanting from it. We had been attending a conference about women held by the American Jewish Congress, and represented a cross section of Jewish denominations. Soon after our service began, a haredi woman nearby started shouting that women were not permitted to read from a Torah scroll.
Young people are engaging in the multilayered reality of Israeli life and policy, and thinking independently about solutions.
On the Israel-diaspora front, surprising good news and, unfortunately, not-so-surprising bad news.
First, the bad news. The arrest and harassment of a woman reciting the Shema prayer aloud during Rosh Chodesh services this past week at the Western Wall is nothing less than shameful — an act that Jews of all denominations and beliefs should view as an embarrassment and outrage.
Reform Jewish leaders are calling for an investigation following reports that an Israeli colleague was roughed up by police after leading a women’s prayer group at the Western Wall.
Reform leaders in the United States said Thursday that they have spoken with Israel’s ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren, about the incident involving Anat Hoffman, executive director of the Reform movement’s Israel Religious Action Center and chair of the Women of the Wall.
Jerusalem police arrested and detained four women for wearing prayer shawls at the Western Wall.
The women, members of Women of the Wall, were arrested Sunday during morning prayers, which included special prayers for the new Hebrew month of Elul.
Women of the Wall holds a special prayer service at the Western Wall each month for Rosh Chodesh, or the beginning of new month. The group has met once a month at the back of the women's section at the Western Wall for the last 20 years.