I am a Man with No Rights at the Kotel
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
in honor of Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin & Rabbi Debra Cantor, detained today for wearing a tallit at the Kotel
As my wife just commented, the arrest of women at the Kotel for wearing Tallitot: “confirms …that if there is any anti-Semitic country in the world, it is Israel. And that makes me terribly sad.”
And while the language is certainly harsh, isn’t it clear that, in any country other than Israel that claims to democracy and rights for all religions (as encoded in the Israeli Declaration of Independence), the only group in Israel without true religious freedom is Jews with convictions other than those of the Charedi-dominated Rabbinate? It is harsh, in that way.
The Kotel, the Wailing Wall, is an Israeli national landmark, not an Orthodox synagogue. It is public space, and is state maintained.
To those who believe women already have a space to pray at the Wall:
I am a man who cannot pray at the Kotel, because my prayer is based in this world, a world in which Jewish access to God cannot be limited based on gender. I can only truly pray if my wife, daughter, sister, and mother are treated by the Jewish State as equals in the eyes of God.