Western Wall

Secular Lens, Religious Vision

Italian photographer’s view of religious women upended by project.
04/30/2013 - 20:00
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

04/29/2013 - 20:00

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

04/24/2013 - 20:00

 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

04/21/2013 - 20:00

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.
04/10/2013 - 20:00

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.
04/08/2013 - 20:00
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.

Women's Right To Say Kaddish In Question At Kotel

Confronted by Sharansky, rabbi says arrests won't happen -- but police say rabbi has no authority.
04/04/2013 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Women who want to say the Mourner’s Kaddish at the Western Wall were threatened with arrest in a recent letter from the Israeli police to a women’s rights group, but both Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky and Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, who runs the government body that oversees holy sites like the wall, say it will not happen.

In February, 10 women were arrested after morning prayers at the Western Wall. Photo courtesy Women of the Wall

Oddly Peaceful Prayers

Joined by female MKs and supported by celebrities, Women of the Wall crosses a ‘tipping point.’ Is Barbra next?
03/11/2013 - 20:00
Israel Correspondent

On Tuesday, Rosh Hodesh Nissan, members of the group Women of the Wall and their supporters gathered, as they do at the start of every Jewish month, at the back of the Western Wall’s women’s section.

For the first time in almost 2 years, Israeli police did not detain Women of the Wall participants. Michele Chabin

The Wall For All

02/14/2013 - 19:00

President Obama is now set to visit Israel in March. I’m sure he has a busy itinerary filled with many important meetings with many important people. Yet, in my dreams, I like to imagine that he would have an opportunity to sit down with a particularly important person: Anat Hoffman, of the Israel Religious Action Center, and chairwoman of Women of the Wall.

Rabbi Marci Bellows

UPDATE: Ten Women Detained At Western Wall

Women were wearing prayer shawls in violation of Wall regulations, police say.
02/10/2013 - 19:00
Staff Writer

(Adds comment from detained female rabbi, further comment from Jewish Agency)

Ten women were detained at the Western Wall on Monday, the highest number held at one time amid a spate of similar incidents in recent months, according to a press release from Women of the Wall, a Jerusalem-based group that has been agitating for more than 20 years for the right of women to pray audibly as a group at the Wall.

Ten women were arrested Monday for praying at the Wall in prayer shawls. Photo courtesy Women of the Wall by Michal Fattal
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