Western Wall

Women Of The Wall Leader Harassed With Threatening Graffiti

05/20/2013
Story Includes Video: 
Video

Threatening graffiti was spray-painted on the Jerusalem home of a longtime board member of Women of the Wall.

The Torah Is For All Of Us

05/17/2013
Jewish Week Online Columnist

In all of the storied history of the Jewish people, there was no single event that had greater short and long-term consequences than the revelation of Torah at Sinai. 

The festival of Shavuot, which we celebrated this week, marked the anniversary of that extraordinary (in both the literal and figurative senses of the word) day.  It encouraged us to recall, or recreate, if you will, the power, majesty and mystery of that luminous moment when God and humanity communed as one.  The world would never be the same thereafter.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

Praying For Peace: A Rabbinical Student Reports On Rosh Hodesh At The Wall

05/10/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

As I pushed through the jampacked Kotel on Rosh Hodesh Sivan, thousands of religious girls pointed at my kippa and screamed in my face. Not only did they stick out their tongues, but they made the shape of a gun with their hands and rotated between pointing it at their heads and pointing it at mine. Scanning through the faces of the young girls, I wondered if in a different setting, we could’ve been braiding challah or lighting Shabbat candles together as friends. Some of their eyes leaked with hatrid and disgust, while some overflowed with intrigue, curiosity, and at times boredom. A large portion of the girls seemed to be mulling about, happy to be spending time with friends, and waiting for us to leave.

Jenn Maggin

Sharansky, Understanding The Need, Presses On For Kotel Changes

Support faltered, then rebounded, this week for Natan Sharansky’s bold plan to transform the Western Wall into a site for both traditional and alternative prayer, as the Jewish Agency chair held intense discussions with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s office, seeking to establish a timeline for the project and move it forward.

Secular Lens, Religious Vision

Italian photographer’s view of religious women upended by project.

05/01/2013
Special To The Jewish Week

A woman from Sderot carries her 6-month-old baby while she picks grapes on a kibbutzPhotos by Federica Valabrega

A member of the Breslov sect dances at sunset near her home in Beit Meir, Israel.

Editor's Note: For staff writer Steve Lipman's story about the Gil Cohen-Magen's photography of Mea Shearim and other haredi communities, click here.

Italian photographer Federica Valabrega always believed religious women were oppressed and unhappy.

Sharansky Kotel Plan Loses Support From Orthodox And Non-Orthodox

04/30/2013
JTA

Natan Sharansky’s proposal to reduce tensions at the Western Wall has lost support from both Orthodox and non-Orthodox leaders.

When Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, made the plan public a few weeks ago, it received at least tacit approval from a range of activists, including the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz.

The plan would expand the egalitarian section of the Western Wall Plaza – called Robinson’s Arch – and create a unified entrance to the Wall’s traditional and egalitarian sections. It was meant as a compromise between haredi Orthodox leaders who wanted to maintain exclusive control of the Western Wall, and religious pluralism activists who wanted the site opened to egalitarian prayer.

Sharansky: Asked by Netanyahu to find compromise at Judaism's holiest site.

Western Wall Rabbi Hints At Rejection Of Sharansky Plan

04/25/2013

 Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall, said rabbis must weigh whether to oppose a compromise proposal over egalitarian prayer at Judaism's holiest site.

In a statement Thursday, Rabinowitz vowed to fight against "the slightest deviation" from customary practice at the Western Wall. However, he left unclear whether the compromise forged by Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky, which would create a permanent site for egalitarian prayer at a section of the Western Wall called Robinson's Arch, constituted such a deviation.

Sharansky's Wall Plan Gets Green Light

04/22/2013

JERUSALEM -- Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky was given a green light by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pursue his plan for a permanent egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall.

Free To Go

Arrested after morning prayers, Women of the Wall are released by a judge without charges or conditions.

04/11/2013

Five women were detained by Jerusalem police for wearing prayer shawls at a Women of the Wall service at the Western Wall, but a judge later said there was no cause for arresting them, and released them, according to a statement from Women of the Wall, a group that agitates for women's prayer rights at the holy site.

Women were arrested during morning services, but a judge dismissed the police's complaint. Photo courtesy Women of the Wall

Sharansky Plan For Equal Prayer At Kotel Moving Forward

Historic proposal would be a major victory for pluralism.

04/09/2013
Editor and Publisher

Charged by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to come up with a Solomonic solution to the growing controversy over women’s prayer at Judaism’s holiest site, Natan Sharansky, the chair of the Jewish Agency for Israel, has prepared a bold and grand plan to allow any and all Jews to pray at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.

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