Jerusalem — Standing alone in the cool shadow of the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount, God’s representative on Earth to 800 million Catholics slipped a typewritten white sheet of paper into a crack in the holiest site in Judaism, and then he prayed.
The powerful moment, symbolizing Pope John Paul II’s desire to build a new peaceful relationship with Israel and the Jewish people, was relayed to tens of millions around the globe on the Internet and television, and in newspapers.
Into the fray comes the Reform movement. On Sunday, members of the Conservative movement were verbally accosted by some ultra-Orthodox teenagers while praying in a mixed-gender service at the Western Wall on Shavuot morning. There was pushing and shoving as well, according to eyewitness accounts.
Jewish leaders worldwide continue to express outrage and sadness over the Vatican’s action to bring 19th century Pope Pius IX — who called Jews “dogs” and conspired in the kidnapping of a Jewish child — one step closer to sainthood.
Jerusalem — At about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff in the history of Catholicism to recognize a State of Israel on its own soil.
Clutching his wooden staff under a steady rain, the stooped, white-robed Pope stood at a lectern at a festively decorated Ben-Gurion Airport landing strip, and in a hoarse voice said in English: “I greet all the people of the State of Israel.”
It's a question rooted in an age-old practice but made new by the vicissitudes of modern technology: Is it kosher to ask mechila by e-mail? Asking forgiveness, or mechila, for wrongs committed against others is emphasized during the month of Elul, and given particular attention during the 10 Days of Repentance from Rosh HaShanah to Yom Kippur.
Their backs were against the Wall, so to speak.
But a flood of faxes sent to Israeli legislators has staved off — at least temporarily — consideration of a new law that if passed, would ban women from conducting any religious ceremony in their section at the Western Wall.
The bill, submitted to the Knesset by members of the United Torah Judaism party, would prohibit women from opening a Torah scroll, blowing a shofar, or wearing a tallit or tefillin at Judaism’s holiest site. Violators would face seven years in prison.
In one of the last weeks before he leaves office, a tenure marked by controversy during the last three years, Israeli Prime Ehud Olmert this week toured the Western Wall and the adjacent excavations in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Areas that also have been the center of controversy.
At the Western Wall, prayers are written on small pieces of paper and stuck between the stones. They're not taped on, as above. But this wall is made of canvas. And it's located in Camp Mesorah, in Guilford, N.Y., past the Catskills.
The government of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon came under fire at home this week for allegedly disregarding Palestinian civilians in its zeal to combat terrorists, and from the United Nations, which called upon Israel to remove its security barrier that Arabs call a land grab.
The controversy within Israel arose after the Israeli military launched one of the largest series of air strikes against terrorists in the Gaza Strip on Monday. Five air strikes were conducted against suspected Palestinian terrorists and a weapons factory in Gaza City.
Trekking through ice-coated fields in a brutally cold Russian October, Lt. Arthur Wollschlaeger pressed on, as he and his swastika-emblazoned companions conquered the western Russian city of Orel — another victory for the unrelenting German Werhmacht infantry. He had earlier taken part in invasions of Poland, Holland and France — a World War II military career that began when he first entered the Czechoslovakian Sudetenland, in 1938.