What is WOW’s Mission?
As Women Of the Wall, our central mission is to achieve the social and legal recognition of our right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall. The goal is to give Jewish women religious voice and expression at Judaism’s holiest site, as Jewish men have been enjoying since 1967.
The Women Of the Wall are a religiously and socially diverse group of women who come together once a month, on the New Moon (Rosh Hodesh) to pray at the Kotel Ha’ma’aravi, The Western Wall, in Jerusalem, one of Judaism’s holiest sites. They have been doing this consistently since the group’s founding in December 1989. The women are Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and self-defined Jews. WOW is unaffiliated with any group, religious or political, and is the only group in the Jewish religious world that brings together Jews from across the religious spectrum for the purpose of prayer.
We work to further our mission through social advocacy, education and empowerment.
In our social advocacy work, we aim to change the status-quo that is currently preventing women from being able to pray freely at the Western Wall. This goal has great ramifications for women’s rights in Judaism and in Israel and must be achieved through social advocacy in order to raise awareness and change the social perception of these issues. We take it upon ourselves to educate Jewish women and the public about the social, political and personal ramifications of limiting and eliminating women’s right to pray as a group at a holy site. When the law and the society literally, publicly and deliberately silence women in prayer, it is a violation of civil rights, human rights and religious freedoms. Education is the key to changing perspectives, laws and lives. Every time we meet to pray, we empower and encourage Jewish women to embrace religion freely, in their own way. We stand proudly and strongly in the forefront of the movement for religious pluralism in Israel, in the hopes to inspire and empower women from all over the world and across the spectrum of Jewish movements to find their spiritual voice. With this great mission before us, our vision is to strengthen and expand our organization, to reach out and influence policy makers and leaders, to demand full access to prayer at the Western Wall for women. In addition, Women of the Wall works to expand our network of allies and partners around the world who will advocate and take action with us.
As it stands, there is not religious freedom in Israel. An amendment to the Holy Sites Law of 1967 states that “no religious ceremony shall be held in the Western Wall’s women’s section. That includes taking out and reading a Torah scroll, and reading fom it, blowing the shofar, or wearing tallitot or tefillin. A provision to the Regulations for the Protection of Places Holy to the Jews 1981 forbids any religious service at the Western Wall “not according to local custom, which may hurt the feelings of the worshipers toward the place.”
Despite some important progressive developments in recent years, religion in Israel is very conservative. The Ministry of Religion is under the control of Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Judaism. Many of these issues have come to the forefront of Israeli society with current mainstream issues like women’s segregation in the Public Sector.
Aside from the shocking sheer hatred of some, and the threatened, and occasionally, actual violence against us, perhaps the hardest thing is to see people, especially women, who should be our allies staying indifferent: other feminist groups; human and civil rights organizations.
You can check online at our website for more details about the next Rosh Hodesh Service, sponsoring a Rosh Hodesh Oneg (Kiddush) here. Also, you can email us at if you have any questins. We look forward to you joining us and bringing your friends and family!
There are many ways to support the WOW mission. You can make a tax-deductible donation or purchase our unique Tallit or Rosh Hodesh Siddur. You can sponsor a Rosh Hodesh Oneg (Kiddush). Please click here to support us now.
We love ideas! Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share them with us now!
If you or your group would like to get in touch with us for a Rosh Hodesh Prayer service, meet Anat Hoffman in Israel or invite her to speak at your synagogue, conference or home, or have any other inquiries please feel free to email us at email@example.com.