For immediate release: After Incitement from Minister of Religious Affairs David Azulai, Women of the Wall Read from Torah on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz

For Immediate Release: After Incitement from Minister of Religious Affairs David Azulai, Women of the Wall Read from Torah on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz

Over 250 women and men came this morning (June 18th) to the Kotel to celebrate Rosh Chodesh Tammuz with Women of the Wall. In honor of the new month, Women of the Wall prayed with a Torah scroll that was brought in covertly through security. Amidst the sounds of whistles and harassment from detractors, five Bat Mitzvah ceremonies were celebrated. Three girls and two women were able to make Aliyah and read from the Torah scroll.

Yesterday, Minister of Religious Affairs David Azulai spoke against women’s rights at the Kotel. “To come with a tallit, tefillin and a Torah scroll isn’t to come to pray, it’s to come to cause a provocation” said Azulai in an interview to Israel Hayom.

In response, Women of the Wall have launched a campaign asking women to take pictures of themselves wrapped in their Tallit with a sign “My Tallit is not provocative – it’s my prerogative” under the hashtag #letmyTorahgo and tag Prime Minister Netanyahu. Women of the Wall call on Prime Minister Netanyahu to condemn such expressions of discrimination from his ministers.

Anat Hoffman, Chairwoman of Women of the Wall: “Minister Azulai should be reminded that he was inaugurated as the Minister of Religious Affairs of Israel, and not the minister for the affairs of ultra-orthodox men.”

Women of the Wall will celebrate Rosh Hodesh Av on July 17th.

For 26 years Women of the Wall has continued to fight for religious freedom and women’s rights at the Western Wall. 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.

Barricades and Locks prevent women and Bnot Mitzvah girls from reading Torah at the Western Wall on Rosh Chodesh Sivan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: BARRICADES AND LOCKS PREVENT WOMEN AND BNOT MITZVAH GIRLS FROM READING TORAH AT WESTERN WALL

A day after the celebrations of Jerusalem’s reunification, Women of the Wall were refused access to pray with a Torah Scroll at the Western Wall in their monthly prayer. Under directions from Rabbi Rabinowitz, police set up barricades and locked the partition to prevent women from reading Torah. One man was detained while attempting to hand over Torah to women.

Six girls who had come after intensive preparations to celebrate their Bat Mitzvah were not able to read from the Torah.

Anat Hoffman: “Rabbi of the Wall may congratulate himself on a victory today. He has successfully prevented hundreds of Jewish women from reading Torah. On one of the hottest days of the year, he was also able to rain on the bat mitzvah celebration of six twelve year old girls who were prepared to read from the Torah today. The Rabbi may call the office of the Prime Minister of Israel, who is the main source of funding for the Rabbi’s western wall heritage foundation, and declare victory. Women did not read Torah today at the holiest site of the Jewish people.”

After an historical prayer last month on Rosh Chodesh Iyar when women set a precedent by reading from a public Torah scroll, Women of the Wall’s Rosh Chodesh Sivan prayer this morning (May 19th, 2015) was dampened by locks and barricades preventing women the right to read from a Torah scroll.  

For 26 years, Women of the Wall are fighting for freedom of religion at the Western Wall. This includes the right to read from a Torah at the Western Wall and to celebrate Bat Mitzvahs. The April 2013 Sobel court ruling formally acknowledged women’s right to pray according to their belief at the Western Wall, claiming that this does not violate “local custom”.

Despite the ruling, regulations set by Rabbi Rabinowitz deny women the right to bring a Torah scroll to read from at the Western Wall. These regulations, were brought up first as having the innocent goal of preventing theft of Torah scrolls from the wall (no such has ever occurred there but all the same, theft prevention was the handy excuse). The real reason for the regulation is “to stop people from reading Torah in a way that is not according to local custom” hence – Women of the Wall. And indeed, while there are over 100 Torah scrolls for public use at the Western Wall, they are all at the men’s section of the prayer plaza and women are denied access to them all.

Despite the regulations, Women of the Wall insist to fulfill their right to read from a Torah at the Kotel. This October, a historical moment was achieved as the first Bat Mitzvah was completed with a Torah reading, from a miniature Torah scroll brought in through security. Last month, Women of the Wall again read from the Torah, by accessing one of the Torah scrolls from the men’s section with the carefully planned help of male supporters.

This morning, however, Rabbi Rabinowitz had his victory over the 12-year-old girls who were denied their right to read from a Torah at the Kotel on occasion of their Bat Mitzvah. Just a day after the city celebrated the historical liberation of the Western Wall, Jewish people in Israel and around the world were once more reminded that the holy site is still not a place they can freely pray according to their tradition. The Western Wall has been hijacked from being a national site welcoming Jews of all denominations to becoming run by an ultra-orthodox minority, with regulations discriminating against women at the site.

The August 2010 regulation is a stain on Israeli law and entire legal system. Women of the Wall, with support of Jewish communities worldwide, act to abolish the regulation and allow women to pray with a Torah scroll at the Western Wall.

Women of the Wall will celebrate Rosh Hodesh Tamuz on June 18h.

For 25 years Women of the Wall has continued to fight for religious freedom and women’s rights at the Western Wall. 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.
בנות מצווה

Drama at the Kotel on Rosh Chodesh Iyar – Women read from Torah

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DRAMA AT THE KOTEL

 

Women of the Wall at last read from a Torah Scroll offered for Public Use at the Week of Israel’s Independence Day, despite physical violence from ultra-orthodox bullies and incitement from state-paid Rabbi of the Western Wall

 

 

WoW celebrate freedom and independence this week – despite government regulations they were able to read from one of the Torah scrolls that are offered for public use. This is the first time WoW were able to stand up and be counted as equal members of the public entitled to read from the Torah.

 

For 26 years, Women of the Wall are fighting for freedom of religion at the Western Wall. This includes the right to read from a Torah at the Western Wall and to celebrate Bat Mitzvahs. The April 2013 Sobel court ruling formally acknowledged women’s right to pray according to their belief at the Western Wall, claiming that this does not violate “local custom”.

 

Despite the ruling, regulations set by Rabbi Rabinowitz deny women the right to bring a Torah scroll to read from at the Western Wall. These regulations, were brought up first as having the innocent goal of preventing theft of Torah scrolls from the wall (no such has ever occurred there but all the same, theft prevention was the handy excuse). The real reason for the regulation is “to stop people from reading Torah in a way that is not according to local custom” hence – Women of the Wall And indeed, while there are over 100 Torah scrolls for public use at the Western Wall, they are all at the men’s section of the prayer plaza and women are denied access to them all.

 

Despite the regulations, Women of the Wall insist to fulfill their right to read from a Torah at the Kotel. This October, a historical moment was achieved as the first Bat Mitzvah was completed with a Torah reading, from a miniature Torah scroll brought in through security. Today, Women of the Wall again read from the Torah, by accessing one of the Torah scrolls from the men’s section with the carefully planned help of male supporters. Despite violence from ultra-orthodox men who physically attacked the men, broke through the mechitzah and went into the women’s section in attempt to take the Torah away from the praying women, women of the wall carried out a full and deeply moving service.

 

Anat Hoffman, Women of the Wall chair, stated that she will not compromise on what is custom for women around the world – the basic right of reading from the Torah as a part of the prayer: “This is the first time that Women of the Wall can stand up and be counted as a part of the public. Nothing you could say could tear me away from my Torah, nothing you could do, ‘cause I’m stuck like glue to My Torah.”

 

The August 2010 regulation is a stain on Israeli law and entire legal system. Women of the Wall, with support of Jewish communities worldwide, act to abolish the regulation and allow women to pray with a Torah scroll at the Western Wall.

 

Please find attached pictures from this morning’s prayer photographed by Miriam Alster along with more details about the 2013 Sobel Court Ruling and our new campaign. Women of the Wall will celebrate Rosh Hodesh Sivan on May 19th.

 

For 26 years Women of the Wall has continued to fight for religious freedom and women’s rights at the Western Wall. 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. 

 

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Starting my Bat Mitzvah Journey Celebrating with Women of the Wall

Tali Medwed

by Tali Medwed

Starting my bat mitzvah journey with Women of the Wall is very special to me in so many

different ways.

I have always been interested in people having the right and the freedom to do what they

want when it comes to practicing their religion. I have been very involved in doing things to get

equal rights for everyone in my community and am an ally for the LGBTQ community. In

addition to this, another area of interest for me is the rights of Jewish women. As an active

member of my synagogue community, I believe that women should be able to do and participate

in anything men can. This includes Jewish freedoms around the world and more specifically, in

Israel.

I have had the privilege of visiting Israel many times. In my previous visits, we did not

usually go to the kotel. On our last visit, we did go to the kotel. On this first visit, my Ima told

me that we would have to go to the smaller side, and that the Torah I saw, was not going to be

available for us. I was very upset and looked at my Ima and said, “But that is not what God

would want.”

My Ima explained to me about Women of the Wall (WOW) but at that time, I didn’t

really understand what she was talking about. But over these last few years as I have grown and

matured, I have heard about women being arrested for wearing a tallit or for reading Torah. I was

very disappointed to learn of this. How could a Jewish woman not be free to pray to God or read

Torah at the kotel in Israel? The Israel I know and love should be a country where all Jews, men

and women, boys and girls, are free to practice religion in meaningful ways to them.

I think that it is so awesome that women are brave enough to go to the kotel to have a real

service with a Torah, tallit and tefillin after people have been arrested for doing this. As I look

forward to taking an aliyah with WOW in June, I know that am entering adulthood with brave

Jewish women surrounding me. This is very special to me.

When I recently heard that WOW got to read from a full sized Torah for Rosh Hodesh

Iyyar, I was shocked and happy. I was happy women who have come to the kotel to pray many

times never got to use a Torah and this time they did. How cool that someone from the men’s

side was giving the Torah to the women, and that shows to me that even though they don’t

always say it aloud, men want women to be able to pray just like the men are able to pray on the

men’s side with a Torah.

I was talking to my younger brother about the women getting the Torah and he asked me

“don’t they always have Torah?” He didn’t fully understand why it was so important that the

women had the opportunity to read from a full-size Torah. I explained to him that the women

were not allowed to read from the Torah and that when they have tried to read, but something

happens like women getting arrested or the Torah being taken away from them. He too was sad

that the women don’t get to read from a Torah every month even though men do.

I am so excited as I begin my bat mitzvah journey and I am glad I get to begin it with

WOW and to be around women who take pride in their tefillah, and who are working for

religious freedom in Israel. This is a journey which has great meaning for me and I am lucky to

be able to have this experience as part of my bat mitzvah journey.

 

Tali &  siblings

Women of the Wall Pray in the Snow at the Kotel

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Women of the Wall gathered this morning for monthly Rosh Hodesh prayer services, a 26 year tradition, despite inclement weather in Jerusalem. Fifty women walked to the Western Wall this morning from all over Jerusalem and gathered for a women’s prayer service in the snow. The women sang and danced, celebrating the new month of Adar and the bat mitzvah of a Brazilian immigrant to Israel, Carla Knijnik, who joined the group from Ranaana. Amidst the joyous, snowy prayer, a few ultra-Orthodox men threw snowballs at the women’s group from over the partition that separates men and women at the holy site (video available).

Women of the Wall will gather for their tradition women’s Megilla reading at the Western Wall in costume for the holiday of Purim on March 6, 2015 at 10AM.

On Friday March 12, 2015 Women of the Wall’s Team will run the Jerusalem Marathon in the name of pluralism, women’s empowerment and unity in the holy city.

For more information, interviews and photo/video footage, contact Shira +972 (0)546898351 media@womenofthewall.org.il

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photos by Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Women of the Wall Commemorates 26 Years of Struggleֿ

Sadly, on this occasion the women’s prayer group was without a Torah scroll

Today Women of the Wall met for their monthly Rosh Hodesh prayer and as the month of Tevet begins, Women of the Wall’s 26th year in existence comes to an end. In 26 years the organization has accomplished much, including the achievement and confirmation of women’s right to wear tallitot, tefillin and pray together, out loud at the Western Wall. However, today’s prayer service in the women’s section of the Western Wall was a difficult reminder of the last hurdle left for the group to cross: Women are still banned from accessing a Torah scroll at the holy site.

For the past 2 months WOW has smuggled a miniature, Kosher Torah scroll into the Western Wall and read from it, successfully completing two bat mitzvah ceremonies in the women’s section. Earlier this month, however, the Torah was returned to its owners, who bravely and generously lent it to WOW. Without this small Torah which can be smuggled in under the radar of security, women are reminded of their day to day reality at the public, holy site: ultra-Orthodox Rabbi and Kotel Administrator Shmuel Rabinowitz allows men the free and unmitigated use of hundreds of Torah scrolls at the Western Wall and women are left without even one. Women are also refused entrance with their own Torah scroll and in this catch 22, Rabinowitz uses his public office to discriminate, refusing women religious freedom and expression.

Anat Hoffman, Chair of Women of the Wall, said, “History will judge Rabbi Rabinowitz for barring women from reading Torah. Under the guise of upholding Jewish values, he has stopped half of the Jewish people from coming close to Torah. This is no achievement. In the future, there will be women reading Torah and there will be bat mitzvah ceremonies at the Wall. His decree is obsolete and he doesn’t yet know it. As for Women of the Wall, history has already written us as Jewish heroes, women who took their fate into their own hands and demanded equality and a voice in the public sphere in Israel”.

Today’s prayer service of 70+ women reading the Torah portion from a book and praying without a Torah scroll is reminiscent of the darkest days in Jewish history, including those days in 167 BCE when Antiochus took away the religious freedoms of Jews. The miracle of Chanukah is that after the victory of the Maccabean revolt against Antiochus, only a single flask of oil was found for the rededication of the Temple and that oil, which was only meant to last for one night, lasted for 8 nights. At the intersection of the organization’s 26th anniversary and Rosh Hodesh Tevet, which falls on the 7th day of Chanukah, the truth is that Women of the Wall is an organization that was not meant to last 26 years. Women’s equal rights and religious freedom at the Western Wall should have been ensured and defended then in 1988 and preserved until today, in a Democratic Jewish state. It is not a miracle that Women of the Wall is still here fighting in 2014- it is a shame.

The organization remains dedicated to the struggle for equality of Women at the Western Wall, praying that by the end of their 27th year the struggle will be over. In 2015 Women of the Wall wish to see the repeal of Rabinowitz’s decree and other legal, political action which will allow women full access to Torah scrolls at the Kotel and bat mitzvah ceremonies in the women’s section.

For 26 years Women of the Wall has continued to fight for religious freedom and women’s rights at the Western Wall. 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. 

Press contact: Shira Pruce +972-54-6898351 media@womenofthewall.org.il

Interviews, photos and video footage available upon request.

 

 

A Bat Mitzvah about Justice: Shayna Amster

Shayna Amster Bat Mitzvah D’var Torah August 30, 2014Collages

Imagine a different world from the world we currently live in. A world that is harsh, unfair and filled with countless injustices. Think for a moment what that world might look like. Picture waking up this morning and turning on the television to your local news channel. The news is censored by the government and only the information they want you to hear about is being broadcasted. Next, you try to text message a friend about wanting to carpool to my Bat Mitzvah, but the cellular phone networks were shut down by the government and you are unable to send out messages. After that, you go to the Davis farmers market, and there are police officers with a sign that reads only men are allowed in the market and women are not. You then attempt to eat breakfast at Crepeville, however, they will not serve you because of the color of your skin, your ethnicity, or your religion. And finally, imagine you are driving or walking to the synagogue and you have to stop at a checkpoint with armed guards and have to present your identity papers. When the guards feel like it, they can choose to not let you pass or even put you in prison. You are lucky you were able to get past the security check point and to make it safely to my Bat Mitzvah today.

I presented you with this extreme story to give you a sense of what the world could look like without justice. Sadly, there are many places in the world today where this story is true and happens every day. Many people live under repressive governments, have no basic rights, and live in fear everyday that they can be arrested. My Torah portion of this week, Parashat Shoftim, teaches about the importance of justice within a society. The portion gives us an example of creating a well balanced and just society with laws to govern fairly.

Specifically, this portion of the Torah gives many examples of how justice should be pursued. In fact, one of the most famous verses from this portion is “Justice, Justice, shall you pursue”. It is interesting that Justice is repeated, to doubly emphasize the importance of pursuing justice in creating a society.

In ancient Israel, this Torah portion required court judges to never play favorites or to take bribes. Imagine living in a society where judges took bribes, and whoever had the most money and power always were favored in legal cases. This would create an unfair and corrupt legal system. This portion also talks about if a person accidentally caused someone’s death, cities of refuge were established where that person could go so that the family of the deceased would not seek revenge and kill them without a fair trial. This is similar to our current legal system that says you are innocent until proven guilty. This system protects the person who might have committed a crime.

This Torah portion also tells the ancient Israelites never to cut down fruit trees during war because the fruit trees cannot protect themselves by running away. I think this law is very applicable today. When a country attacks another in war it is important not to destroy natural resources and food supplies for innocent civilians.

Another interesting set of laws from the portion advises how the ancient Kings of Israel should rule. The king must live a humble life and have a Torah with him at all times. The king is required to study the laws of Torah all throughout his life to make sure that he is never arrogant towards his people. Although we don’t have a king ruling us today, we do have a president. I think a just president is similar to a king in ancient Israel who should know the laws of the country and obey them by not putting him or herself above the laws.

All of us have felt at some point in our lives a form of injustice. In my own life, I have experienced what it feels like to be treated unfairly. A story that I want to share with you is when I went to Israel three years ago for Passover to visit my uncle Eric and his family. During the visit, My dad, my Uncle, two of my male cousins, and I, went to the western wall in Jerusalem to pray. The western wall, also known as the kotel, is the most holy of Jewish sites. The western wall is the only retaining wall standing from the second temple when the romans demolished it in 70 C.E. Today, at the wall, the ultra-orthodox community separates women and men from praying together, and I had to be on a different side from all of my family members. I felt scared being alone especially because most of the women there seemed to speak a different language and I was in a foreign country. Also the women’s section of the wall is much smaller and crammed with many people, while the men have more space to pray. Finally it felt unjust to me because I wanted to pray with my family and to not be alone in such a holy spiritual place.

Pursuing this further, today if a woman wants to wear a tallit or read from the Torah, just like I am doing, even on the women’s side of the Kotel, she can be arrested or harassed. As I think about my own experience at the wall and the importance of equality and justice in our Jewish tradition, I wanted to do something that would make a difference. For my mitzvah project I have decided to raise money for an organization called Women of the wall. Known as, Neshot HaKotel, this organization is a multi-denominational feminist organization based in Israel whose goal is to secure the rights of women to pray at the Western Wall in a fashion that consists of singing, reading aloud from the Torah and wearing religious garments such as the tallit and kippah, traditionally worn only by men. The group holds monthly prayer services for women at the wall on Rosh Hodesh, which is the first day of each Hebrew month and falls on the new moon. These actions have upset members of the ultra- Orthodox Jewish community, sparking protests and arrests.

The organization was founded in December 1988 by North American women during the first International Jewish Feminist Conference in Jerusalem. A group of approximately one hundred attendees praying in the women’s section of the wall were verbally and physically assaulted by ultra-Orthodox Jews at the site. When the conference ended, a group of Jerusalem women continued to meet at the wall and formed Women of the Wall to assert their right to pray there without difficulty. In 2003 the Israeli Supreme Court ruled to prohibit women from carrying a Torah or wearing prayer shawls at the wall. It wasn’t until May of 2013 that another judge ruled that the Supreme Court had misinterpreted this, and that the prayer gatherings at the wall should be legal.   The issues regarding women’s justice at the wall is the most covered women’s issue in the history of the Israeli media.

I feel that women should have the same rights as men in the Jewish community. I feel that they should have a right to read from the Torah, to wear a tallit and kippah, and be able to celebrate becoming a Bat Mitzvah. I am grateful that I am part of a Jewish community that allows me as a woman to participate equally in the Jewish community as men. Becoming a Bat Mitzvah means that I am now considered an adult in the Jewish community. Bat Mitzvah literally translates into English to become a ‘Daughter of the Commandment’. Being a Bat Mitzvah means that I am now obligated to follow the commandments talked about in the Torah and to contribute to my community as an adult participant and leader. One of the commandments of becoming a Bat Mitzvah is to read from the Torah and to teach about it’s meaning in my life. Another commandment is called Tikun Olam, which is an obligation to make the world a more just and better place for all people regardless of religion, ethnicity, and gender. I am proud that my Jewish community has women playing equal roles in leading prayers and serving in the community.

To raise money and support Women of the Wall, I have decided to do fundraiser that incorporates one of my favorites activities, playing water polo. I am going to do shoot – a –thon, where I will shoot water polo goals against one of my team members to raise money to support Women of the Wall. After services, you will have an opportunity to sponsor me to help raise money to support this important cause to create a more just opportunity for women to pray at the wall. I believe that a just society should allow men and women to have equal roles. I would invite you to think about ways you can make a difference in our society to be a more just place for everyone. I feel really fortunate to live in America, that has equal opportunities for boys and girls, and men and women.

Many people have helped make my Bat Mitzvah possible, and I would like to take this time to thank them. First, I would like to thank Rabbi Wolfe for being my Rabbi since I was baby and for teaching me about Judaism and helping me prepare for my Bat Mitzvah. I would like to thank Malka, and all my Sunday and Hebrew school teachers for giving me a great Jewish education and inspiring me about being Jewish. I would like to thank Carrie Shepherd for being my Bat Mitzcah tutor and teaching me my Torah portion, haftorah and blessings. I would like to thank my parents for helping me prepare for my Bat Mitzvah and for their love and support even when I was being difficult and not wanting to practice my Hebrew studies. I would like to thank Grammy Judy and Gramps Harvey for purchasing my Tallit when we were together in Israel when I was six years old, and also for hosting Shabbat dinner last night. I would like to thank my out of town family and friends for traveling to Davis to be together with me for my special day. Especially my Uncle Eric, Aunt Bracha, Cousins Noam, Yedid and Rachel for coming all the way from Israel. Also I would like to thank my friend Simone for helping me shop for my dress. And finally I want to thank my friends from Sunday school, Holmes Jr High school, and my water polo team for being such great friends and supporting me here today. Thank you everyone for being here this morning and I wish you a happy Shabbat Shalom.

A Bitter-Sweet Historic Moment at the Kotel for Women of the Wall: The First Women’s Chanukah Candle Lighting at the Western Wall

Women of the Wall were joined by over 100 women for Chanukah candle lighting at the Kotel, despite the opposition of Rabbi Rabinowitz, Western Wall Administrator. The 120 women lit 28 Chanukah menorahs and were joined by Members of Knesset Tamar Zandberg and Michal Rozin from the Meretz party and Rabbi Susan Silverman with her sisters actress Laura Silverman and comedian Sarah Silverman.

Together the women said the blessings and sang, praying that the light of the Chanukah candles would expel the darkness brought upon the holy place by Rabinowitz. The first-ever women’s candle lighting was held as the “official” candle lighting ceremony of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation ended in the men’s section. In the state-sponsored ceremony only men were honored and only men spoke and sang- excluding women completely. Women who wished to see the candle lighting were forced to stand on plastic chairs and peer over the partition.

On November 17, 2014, Women of the Wall sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu to request that an equivalent menorah to that which stands in the men’s section be erected in the women’s section to provide women with the same opportunity to hold candle lighting. The Prime Minister transferred the letter to Vice Minister of Religious Affairs, Eli Ben Dahan, for reply, who passed the letter on to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz. Rabinowitz decided that women will not be allowed to light the Chanukah menorah at the Kotel, nor will they be able to participate or witness the ceremonies, as they are held in the men’s section.

Security at the entrance to the Kotel confiscated Chanukah menorahs from several women as they entered, claiming that they had orders from Rabinowitz. Despite Rabinowitz’ opposition, Women of the Wall succeeded in entering with 28 menorahs, lit them and celebrated, singing and dancing festively.

Members of Knesset Zandberg and Rozin joined Women of the Wall, and not for the first time. The two feminist Members of Knesset have been with Women of the Wall throughout the struggle, always willing to join the women at the Kotel to see that their rights are upheld and to bear witness Rabinowitz’s discriminatory regulations.

MK Rozin said, “It is my pleasure to return to the Kotel once again, and to light candles on the third night of Chanukah in honor of the miracles, which we will not passively wait for but struggle and work towards; and for the wonders like Women of the Wall who continue to inspire me with their determination and their just work. The struggle for gender equality and pluralism is one we all must fight.”

MK Zandberg: “I was touched to light candles with these inspirational women. It is unfortunate that something like lighting Chanukah candles has to be a controversial struggle, but I am proud to be a partner in this fight.”

Anat Hoffman, Women of the Wall Chair said, “Rabbi Rabinowitz’s decrees are as predictable as the decrees of Antiochus. When it comes to women’s rights his answer is always the same, ‘No, No, No.’ The time has come to take the keys to the Kotel back from Rabinowitz. The Kotel belongs to us all and each of us, men and women, have the right to light Chanukah candles in this public, holy place.”

Women of the Wall activist Rabbi Susan Silverman was joined in the women’s section by her family, including Sarah Silverman, acclaimed American Jewish comedian and actress. The Silverman sisters certainly found the humor in the situation at the Kotel, from the ridiculous ban on Chanukah menorahs at the entrance, to the police officer who monitors and films Women of the Wall’s every move, like criminals. Perhaps the biggest joke of them all is that in 2014 in democratic Israel Rabbi Rabinowitz, as a public servant, acts to exclude women from all activities, ceremonies and prayers at the Western Wall.

For 26 years Women of the Wall has continued to fight for religious freedom and women’s rights at the Western Wall. 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. 

Press contact: Shira Pruce +972-54-6898351 media@womenofthewall.org.il

Interviews, photos and video footage available upon request.

 

 

 

Light One Candle with Women of the Wall

Thanks to all who contributed and stood with Women of the Wall this Chanukah!
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Don’t see your photo here? send it by email to media@womenofthewall.org.il with your name and we will add it!

We are asking Jews around the world to light one candle for us, for Women of the Wall.images

On Thursday December 18, 2014 Women of the Wall will gather for a women’s candle lighting at the Kotel.

Each year on Chanukah, a large, majestic Chanukah menorah is erected in the men’s section of the Western Wall. Each night, a candle lighting ceremony is held and different Israeli politicians and religious leaders – all men, are honored and women are left to stand on plastic chairs barely able see the festivities and the candles.

This year, Women of the Wall requested that a large chanukiah be placed in the women’s section as well. Our request was denied by the Rabbi Rabinowitz, Kotel administrator. Therefore, we will light many small lights (in more than one sense) in the women’s section, with our personal Chanukah menorahs.

In the spirit of miracles, be a light in the face of darkness! Stand with us in our struggle against the exclusion of women at the Kotel. You can JOIN US from your home and in your synagogue.

Here’s how:

  1. On the third night of Chanukah, December 18, light one candle in honor of Women of the Wall
  2. Take a picture of yourself lighting your WOW candle, perhaps with your family
  3. Fill out the form below and upload your photo to send to Rabbi Rabinowitz, to show him you stand with Women of the Wall
  4. Donate $18 to Women of the Wall, to help us continue our work, to be a light at the Kotel, fighting for women’s rights and pluralism at the holiest place, the Kotel, a home for ALL Jews: http://my.israelgives.org/ennew/Women_of_the_Wall
  5. Share your photo with Women of the Wall on Facebook or Twitter! #lightonecandle

Invite your family and friends to join us as well!

THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING. This campaign is now over but you can click here to see how you can TAKE ACTION and stand with Women of the Wall.

Despite Opposition from Rabinowitz, Women of the Wall to hold women’s candle lighting on December 18th, 2014 at 17:00 at the Kotel

Each year on Chanukah, a large, majestic Chanukah menorah is erected in the men’s section of the Western Wall. Each night, a candle lighting ceremony is held and different Israeli men- politicians and religious leaders- are honored.

This year, on November 17, 2014, Women of the Wall sent a letter Prime Minister Netanyahu to request that an equivalent menorah be erected in the women’s section to provide women with the same opportunity to hold candle lighting and ceremonies to honor female leaders.

In their letter to the Prime Minister, Women of the Wall declared, “Chanukah is a festive opportunity for the public to gather, like a family, to share in celebrating the miracle and wonders of the survival of the Jewish people and the light in our lives. In years past, women have been forced to stand on plastic chairs, to attempt to peer over the partition in order to see the ceremony and the candle lighting in the men’s section. This does not honor or respect women or the holiness of the Kotel. We believe that you understand the importance of this place and of providing equal opportunities to women.”

The Prime Minister transferred the letter to the auspices of Vice Minister of Religious Affairs, Eli Ben Dahan, for reply, who passed the letter on to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Authority of the Western Wall and Holy Places.

Rabinowitz’s response was a negative one claiming that, “the large and fancy Menorah is erected in a place [in the men’s section] that can be seen from a far”. Rabinowitz decided that women will not be allowed to light the Chanukah menorah at the Kotel, nor will they be able to participate or witness the ceremonies, as they are held in the men’s section. (The letter is available in Hebrew upon request)

The Prime Minister, who has made many public statements to the Jewish world declaring that the Western Wall belongs to all Jews (during his address to the 2013 JFNA General Assembly, for example), declined many requests to respond or comment.

Anat Hoffman, Women of the Wall Chair, stated, “In his letter, Rabbi Rabinowitz speaks of bringing together and uniting the nation, and yet his actions exclude and discriminate against women, as if women are not a part of this same nation. Since he was chosen for this public position, Rabinowitz has never invited Women of the Wall or any other woman to participate in the ceremonies or to be honored with the lighting of a candle at the Kotel on Chanukah, despite the fact that women are obligated equally to men in this mitzvah (religious act).”

Hoffman continued, “Unfortunately, Rabinowitz does not recognize the genuine intention and right that Jewish women have to heartfelt prayer at the Kotel. He has chosen to respond negatively to such a basic request, for Women of the Wall and many other women to hold a Jewish ritual at the Kotel, which is permissible and required of us according to Jewish law. We cannot accept the fact that all over Israel and the world Jewish women will be lighting candles and saying the traditional blessings, and only at the Western Wall, which has been turned into the private backyard of Sherriff Rabinowitz, this is forbidden.”

Rabinowitz’s actions, decisions and regulations remind us of times in Jewish history when the men and women of the Jewish nation were forced to hide and smuggle Jewish ritual items, like Chanukah menorahs and hold the ritual ceremonies in secret. It is unacceptable that in the free and democratic State of Israel, a rabbi would prevent women from holding a Jewish ritual, not because it is prohibited by Jewish law, but because he has been given unlimited, unmitigated authority to rule over the public, holy site.

Women of the Wall will be holding a candle-lighting ceremony for women at the Western Wall, despite Rabinowitz’s opposition. Join Women of the Wall, and bring a Chanukah menorah with candles to light in the women’s section of the Western Wall on December 18, 2014 at 17:00.

For 26 years Women of the Wall has continued to fight for religious freedom and women’s rights at the Western Wall. 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. 

Press contact: Shira Pruce +972-54-6898351 media@womenofthewall.org.il

Interviews, photos and video footage available upon request.

 

 

Women of the Wall Welcome Tiny Torah Scroll, for the Second Month in a Row, to the Kotel Women’s Section.

In celebration of the new month of Kislev, called the “month of miracles”, Women of the Wall met in the women’s section of the Western Wall for prayer with over 70 women and another 30 male supporters standing not far away, just beyond the partition. For the second month in a row, the women, while banned from openly entering the Western Wall with a Torah scroll and refused requests to use one of the hundreds of Torah scrolls at the Wall held for “public use” were forced to smuggle a tiny, historic Torah into the holy, public site.

Despite last month’s claims by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Administration of the Western Wall and Holy Places, that “in the future, efforts will be made to ensure that this event is not repeated” (according to Arutz Sheva), the tiny Torah was successfully brought into the Kotel under the radar of security and read joyfully in celebration of the new month as well as a bat mitzvah. The second girl to celebrate a bat mitzvah at the Kotel with a Torah is Ruth Antman, a Jerusalem native, and daughter of Avigail Antman, an Orthodox feminist and a poet who herself grew up in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Antman is a member of the Women of the Wall executive board.

The small and unique Torah scroll read by the women this month was the same as was used this month, on lend to Women of the Wall by John and Noeleen Cohen from London. This 28 centimeter, 200 year old Torah belongs to John and Noeleen Cohen of London and is certified Kosher (by an Orthodox Sofer Stam). Mr. Cohen’s great-grandfather carried this Torah with him from Lithuania to South Africa in 1880, and he loaned the family heirloom to Women of the Wall. Cohen said, “The purpose of a Torah Scroll is to be read and I can think of no better place for the Scroll to be on Rosh Hodesh Heshvan than at the Kotel, in the women’s section, being read by women who want and have every right, to read Torah at the Wall and, in my view, at every other place that a man can read Torah.” The Torah will be returned to the Cohen family later this month. Women of the Wall have been honored to use this scroll, already so rich in Jewish history, to make history for women at the Kotel.

While women’s Torah reading is legally permissible according to both Jewish Law and the Israeli courts (Thanks to the April 2013 Sobell Decision), Rabinowitz’s local ordinance to ban entrance to the Kotel with a Torah acts to discriminate against women, who cannot access Torah scrolls any other way while men have hundreds at their disposal on the men’s side of the Wall. Women of the Wall looks to the government, to our nation’s leadership to see that this regulation be repealed and that women be allowed to worship freely at the Western Wall.

Women of the Wall’s prayers this morning were dedicated this morning to the triumph of light over dark, inspired by the story of Chanukah, and for peace and an end to the most recent wave of violence in Israel.

For over 25 years Women of the Wall has continued to fight for religious freedom and women’s rights at the Western Wall. 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. 

Contact: Shira Pruce media@womenofthewall.org.il +972-54-6898451

A Most Meaningful Heshvan

by Lexi Erdheim, HUC-JIR Rabbinic Student and Women of the Wall Intern

The month of Heshvan is distinct in the Jewish calendar because it is the only month without any holidays. It is “acharei hachagim” – after the long slew of holidays in Tishrei and is associated with getting back into the swing of things and getting back to work.   But as far as I am concerned, we began this Heshvan with something profound to celebrate – the first time women have legally and proudly chanted from a sefer torah at the Kotel in twenty six years.

Abraham Joshua Heschel famously stated when he marched for Civil Rights in Selma, Alabama that he, “felt as if he were praying with his feet.” This past Friday morning at Women of the Wall Rosh Hodesh prayers, I experienced the opposite: I felt as though I were protesting with my prayers. Usually when I pray, I include in my kavana (prayers from my heart rather than prayers on the page) thoughts and hopes for equality and justice. This Friday morning I had the privilege of realizing equality and justice through not only the intention of my prayer, but through the act of prayer itself.

This Rosh Hodesh was my first with Women of the Wall, and I was extremely fortunate to be a part of history. As Sasha chanted Torah as a bat mitzvah, I looked over to see Lesley Sachs, the executive director of Women of the Wall, overcome with joy, tears welling in her eyes. In that moment, I could only imagine her overwhelming sense of pride and accomplishment. I cannot even begin to comprehend how powerful it was for a woman who had been fighting for women’s right to free prayer at the Kotel of over a quarter of a century to witness a young girl chant from a sefer torah. I was overwhelmed by gratitude for the tireless work that Lesley and all of the brave women who have participated in Women of the Wall have done.

Sadly, I know that despite this momentous occasion, the battle is not over. I am reminded of a quote from Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers):

“לא עליך המלאכה לגמור, ולא אתה בן חורין לבטל ממנה”

“You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it”

(Pirkei Avot, 2:21)

As I begin my internship with Women of the Wall, I know that perhaps I will not be able to complete the work in the next few months, or over the course of my rabbinate or perhaps even my lifetime, but I look forward to the challenges, the struggles, and the triumphs that the work brings.

Women of the Wall Read from a Torah Scroll at the Western Wall

WOW hold first Kotel Bat Mitzvah in History

Women of the Wall completed the first
ever full Rosh Hodesh (new moon) prayer service and bat mitzvah in the women’s section of the Western Wall today.

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After Women of the Wall’s Torah was banned at the entrance to the public, holy site, an alternate Torah, a tiny 200 year old Torah was brought into the Western Wall, under the radar of theauthorities. This 28 centimeter, 200 year old Torah belongs to John and Noeleen Cohen of London and is certified Kosher (by an Orthodox Sofer Stam). Mr. Cohen’s great-grandfather carried this Torah with him from Lithuania to South Africa in 1880, and he loaned the family heirloom to Women of the Wall. Cohen said, “The purpose of a Torah Scroll is to be read and I can think of no better place for the Scroll to be on Rosh Hodesh Heshvan than at the Kotel, in the women’s section, being read by women who want and have every right, to read Torah at the Wall and, in my view, at every other place that a man can read Torah.”

12 year old Sasha Lutt of Beer Sheva read from the Torah for her bat mitzvah ceremony this morning, completing the first ever full bat mitzvah at the Western Wall. Irina Lutt, the proud mother who moved to Israel from Russian when Sasha was just a baby, looked on and supported her daughter during the ceremony.

Lesley Sachs, Executive Director of Women of the Wall, said, “This morning was historic and emotional for us all. The Torah scroll we used was probably created for just this purpose, for Jews who were banned from publicly celebrating Jewish rituals and ceremonies in the past. We read from the Torah today, in the women’s section of the Kotel, with no disturbances. So the only question remains, why does Rabinowitz, a public servant, try to deny women this right at the Kotel, a public holy site?”

The Torah is central in Judaism and binds all Jews, across denomination, religiously, spiritually, culturally and historically. To deny any Jew access to a Torah scroll, as has been done so many times before throughout Jewish history, is an affront to religious freedom. To refuse women access to Torah has no basis in halakha (Jewish law) and has no place in a public site in a democratic state.

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, overseen by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, runs a lucrative and active industry of Bar Mitzvah celebrations for boys at the Western Wall. The foundation offers no such ceremony for girls, in fact Rabinowitz actively prevents any type of bat mitzvah ceremony for girls by refusing women access to Torah scrolls at the holy site. Legally, the April 2013 Jerusalem District Court ‘Sobel Decision’ guarantees Women of the Wall the right to pray freely according to their tradition, which should include Torah scrolls. Rabinowitz has put in place local regulations banning entrance to the Kotel with a Torah scroll and refusing women access to even one of the 100 scrolls held at the Western Wall for “public” use. Women of the Wall maintains their right to read Torah from a scroll at the Western Wall and celebrate bat mitzvah ceremonies at the holy, public site.

For over 25 years Women of the Wall has continued to fight for religious freedom and women’s rights at the Western Wall. 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.

Photos and video will be available upon request

Contact:
Shira Pruce
Director of Public Relations
+972 (0)546898351
media@womenofthewall.org.il

Women of the Wall Launch Public Bus Campaign: “Mom, I Too Want a Bat Mitzvah at the Kotel”

On Sunday, October 12, 2014 Women of the Wall launched an ad campaign on Jerusalem public busses promoting Bat Mitzvah ceremonies for girls at the Western Wall (Kotel). The first ever of their kind, the campaign ads feature Israeli girls, ages eleven to fourteen, wearing a Tallit, traditional Jewish prayer shawl, and holding a Torah scroll in front of the Western Wall. The busses will travel throughout Jerusalem encouraging girls and their families to celebrate bat mitzvah ceremonies with Women of the Wall at the Western Wall. The ads read in Hebrew: “Mom, I too want a bat mitzvah at the Kotel” and “V’zot Hatorah (Translates to “Here is the Torah”, also a pun in Hebrew as the phrase is in feminine form): Now it is my turn.”

The young women who took part in the campaign are: Ashira Abramowitz-Silverman, daughter of Yosef Abramowitz and Rabbi Susan Silverman, Devora Leff, daughter of Lauri Donahue and Rabbi Barry Leff, Sasha Lutt, daughter of Irina Lutt and Alma Weiss-Abraham daughter of Sharon Abraham-Weiss and Yoav Weiss.

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, overseen by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, runs a lucrative and active industry of Bar Mitzvah celebrations for boys at the Western Wall. The foundation offers no such ceremony for girls, in fact Rabinowitz actively prevents any type of bat mitzvah ceremony for girls by refusing women access to Torah scrolls at the holy site. Legally, the April 2013 Jerusalem District Court ‘Sobel Decision’ guarantees Women of the Wall the right to pray freely according to their tradition, which should include Torah scrolls. Rabinowitz has put in place local regulations banning entrance to the Kotel with a Torah scroll and refusing women access to even one of the 100 scrolls held at the Western Wall for “public” use. Women of the Wall maintains their right to read Torah from a scroll at the Western Wall and celebrate bat mitzvah ceremonies at the holy, public site.

The Torah is central in Judaism and binds all Jews, across denomination, religiously, spiritually, culturally and historically. To deny any Jew access to a Torah scroll, as has been done so many times before throughout Jewish history, is an affront to religious freedom. To refuse women access to Torah has no basis in halakha (Jewish law) and has no place in a public site in a democratic state.

The public bus campaign is spearheading Women of the Wall’s pursuit for the Jewish new year: to read from a Torah scroll in the women’s section of the Western Wall, at Rosh Hodesh (New Month) prayers each month and in bat mitzvah ceremonies. Lesley Sachs, Director of Women of the Wall spoke at the launch, “These brave young girls and others have the right to have their bat mitzvah at the holiest site for Jews. That is one of the things we are fighting for and that is why we have launched this campaign- so that girls and mothers will call the number on the ad and find out more about how to join Women of the Wall. We will be able to tell them how to make this wonderful time in their lives into a meaningful, fulfilling bat mitzvah experience.”

Please save the date to join Women of the Wall for Rosh Hodesh Heshvan, Friday, October 24, 2014 at 7AM at the Western Wall, for the first Torah reading from a Torah scroll in the women’s section.

 

 

Selihot and Sounds of the Shofar

סליחות

A Letter to Women of the Wall

This summer, I spent two months in Jerusalem on Onward Israel, and I had the amazing opportunity and privilege to attend Rosh Chodesh services with Women of the Wall. I was there both on Rosh Chodesh Tamuz and Rosh Chodesh Av. I could spend pages writing about my experiences, but I will simply say this: joining WOW for services was a life-changing experience. Never before have I felt so welcomed while praying. Never before have I been in such a nurturing, positive environment even in the midst of so much tragedy happening in the region and the country. Never before have I connected on such a deep level with my own Judaism. I have always considered myself Jewish and have seen religion as having an important role in my life, but praying with WOW was the first time I have ever connected with the words written in the siddur. The services I attended with WOW were the first times in which I realized how well the traditional prayers I recite every time I pray from a siddur mirror my thankfulness for everything good in my life, as well my despair about everything that is unjust and wrong and my intense desire for the world to be a better place. For the first time, I was moved to tears because I felt the power behind the prayers not just from my own heart, but from the hearts of all of those Jews who have recited and continue to recite the same prayers every day.

I am now back in the United States and have returned to college for my third year, but I still think about WOW every day. My experiences this summer have inspired me to become even more involved in my campus’s Hillel; I am one of the leaders of the Reform Minyan, and I am working this semester to gather a group of women to pray on Rosh Chodesh in solidarity with WOW.  Since I’ve returned from Israel I have bought WOW’s Rosh Chodesh siddur, the Reform siddur Mishkan T’filah, and read Women of the Wall: Claiming Sacred Ground at Judaism’s Holy Site. These texts and the experiences I’ve had this summer have changed the way I see my own Judaism, and have motivated me to consider attending rabbinic school. Whatever career path I choose, I know I will continue to learn about Judaism and to both seek out and create environments like the one I was so lucky to be a part of this summer. I am so thankful for my experiences with Women of the Wall and cannot wait to join them again the next time I am in Israel.

Thank you,

Rachel Leiken

For the Women of the Wall

By Rabbi Tina Grimberg, Rabbi of Darchei Noam Toronto

25 years of love is 25 years of struggle,

Hard, you tried to make your way to Your Wall,

Hard you tried to reach for its rough surface,

So worn from tears and lips,

Hard, was on your neck as you looked up at doves nestling in the Wall crevice,

25 years, you were called deranged, rude, an imposter;

You, who could nurture an egg in your womb,

Was pelted with eggs,

25 years you did not bend,

25 years of prayer,

In gratitude and celebration,

We turn to You, our Holy One, on this Rosh Hodesh Elul, the month of forgiveness, thought and prayer,

Your daughters stand tall, embraced in the folds of your Shehinah;

25 years of love is 25 years of struggle….

Women of the Wall’s Prayers Conclude with Six Women Sounding Six Shofars

The call of the shofar was Women of the Wall’s response to a series of offensive stickers that decorated the partition between men and women at the Western Wall (Kotel) this morning. The stickers read: “To the female public: Refrain from singing out loud at this holy site. Instead, you may celebrate and cheer with the sound, “Lu, Lu, Lu” as is customary. Thank you, the men who are praying.”

This morning Women of the Wall concluded their prayer for the Jewish month of Elul with the only women’s Shofar-blowing at the Western Wall. While traditionally the Shofar is sounded throughout the month of Elul from this day forward through the High Holy Days in September, at the Western Wall only men do so following 47 years of ultra-Orthodox rule over the public, holy site. The women’s prayer group will return for one more call of the Shofar in September, during the Selihot prayers.

The sticker, which refers to women as spectators of prayer in stead of participants or leaders of prayer also relegates women to cheering only: “Lu Lu Lu” and forbids women from praying out loud, a battle which Women of the Wall won in the courts last year.

Anat Hoffman, Chair of Women of the Wall:  “The fact that in this holy Jewish place men are allowed to pray  and sing to their hearts content and women are being told to refrain from prayer and only make the sound, “Lu, Lu, Lu”, is ridiculous. This is exactly the reason that Women of the Wall have been struggling for over 25 years- to ensure the freedoms of women who come to the Kotel to pray and to celebrate Jewish life events.

Thanks to our determination and insistence, what was once the accepted practice- for only men to sound the shofar at the Western Wall- has now changed and women are allowed to blow shofar in the women’s section of the Kotel today. This was not so a few years ago. This is yet another one of our accomplishments on the way to liberating the Kotel.”

Hoffman added, “Our next goal is to have a bat mitzvah ceremony that will include reading from a Torah scroll in the Western Wall’s women’s section.” Women are currently banned from accessing Torah scrolls at the Western Wall.

Women of the Wall will meet next for Selihot prayers and to sound the shofar in the women’s section of the Western Wall, on Saturday night September 20, 2014 at 10PM. The public is welcome to join.

For over  25 years Women of the Wall has continued to fight for religious freedom and women’s rights at the Western Wall. 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.

 Contact: Shira PruceDirector of Public Relations +972 (0)546898351 media@womenofthewall.org.il

Support from Spain

Solidarity with Women of the Wall at Bet Shalom in Barcelona, Spain!

The service was led by all of the women in the community. 

Kol Hakavod! Yasher Koach! Todah!

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RH Tammuz: Standing strong with the people of Israel

Standing strong with the people of Israel, ‘Women of the Wall’ is saddened and shocked by the kidnapping of Naftali, Eyal and Gil-ad six days ago. The fabric of the Jewish people is a diverse and colorful one- woven together tightly by faith. Women of the Wall have faith that the boys will be returned to their families swiftly. Until then, we pray and stand united.

On Rosh Hodesh Tammuz, June 29, 2014, Women of the Wall will gather to pray at the Kotel. Though we cannot know what the fate of our nation and the kidnapped boys will be in ten days time and we pray for a celebratory occasion, either way we invite women to gather with us at the Kotel – to pray for peace and the welfare of the State of Israel. 

We remain dedicated to women’s free prayer at the Kotel, with a Torah scroll. Now more than ever, we depend on our faith, our traditions and Torah to get us through. We continue to look to Israel’s leaders to ensure women’s rights at the Kotel. For more information and to get involved, go to www.womenofthewall.org.il/letmytorahgo