Western Wall

The Diaspora's Frustration With Israel: A Good Thing

American Jews absolutely love to speak and behave as though what we think should have immediate practical and political bearing in Israel.

Women of the Wall, which agitates for prayer rights at the Kotel, has much American support. Photo courtesy Women of the Wall

Let's Disagree, But Not Dismiss

The end of 2012 saw an increase in arrests of women at the Western Wall who demand the right to pray there in groups, out loud and wearing prayer shawls and tefilin.

Visitors to the Western Wall leave written prayers as well. Getty Images

Will Western Wall Be ‘Source Of Unity?’

Jewish Agency tasked with studying demands of women who want right to pray at holy site.
12/25/2012 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet dissident and chairman of the Jewish Agency, to study the issue of women’s prayer at the Western Wall and to help the government turn the wall into a “source of Jewish unity, rather than division,” an agency spokesman told the Jewish Week.

Letter: Sharansky Protests Restrictions At Western Wall

Wall is a symbol of connection with Israel for "each and every Jew," Jewish Agency head writes.
11/11/2012 - 19:00
Staff Writer

Pressure mounted on Israel this week to consider relaxing the restrictions governing prayer and behavior in place at the Western Wall, with the head of the Jewish Agency writing a letter to the government that expressed “deep concern” about policies at Judaism’s holiest site.

The Western Wall: a contested site. Getty Images

Reform Leaders Call For Israeli Police Probe Of Anat Hoffman Arrest

10/20/2012 - 20:00

 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.

Women Arrested For Wearing Prayer Shawls At Western Wall

08/18/2012 - 20:00

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.

David Arquette Bar Mitzvahed at Western Wall, 27 Years Late

06/11/2012 - 20:00

 Actor David Arquette, 40, star of the “Scream” movie series and occasional professional wrestler, celebrated his bar mitzvah at the Western Wall on Monday, according to reports.

The soon-to-be-former husband of Courtney Cox, who played Jewish Monica Geller on NBC’s “Friends,” was in Israel to film an episode of “Mile High,” his show on the Travel Channel.

Israel Expands Smoking Ban

05/02/2012 - 20:00


Smoking was snuffed out at public events and outdoor sites, including the Western Wall, under an expanded anti-smoking measure passed by Israel's Knesset.

The legislation passed Wednesday, which will take effect next month, also includes a ban on smoking at bus stops and outdoor concert venues. Smokers also will not be able to light up within 10 yards of a medical clinic and a hospital entrance.

Smoking at stadiums will be allowed to continue.

How Frank Met Esther Avital

02/05/2012 - 19:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist


“I prayed that God would help me find my bashert, [meant-to-be spouse]” says Esther Avital, “and my prayers came true.”

Esther Avital Gottesman was not born Jewish.  She was born Heather Fuller to Christian parents in Santa Ana, California.  Around the age of 10, she didn’t want to be Christian anymore. She didn't like having to pray through an intermediary and she had a teenage obsession with Adam Duritz, lead singer of Counting Crows, who was Jewish.  

Esther Avital and Frank Gottesman.
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