Toward a Solution
In light of the District Court decision on April 24, 2013 and after 25 years of monthly prayers at the Western Wall (Kotel), Women of the Wall continue to pray in the women’s section of the holy site with tefillin (phylacteries) and tallit (prayer shawl) on Rosh Hodesh.
Women of the Wall share great respect and appreciation for Jewish Agency Chair Natan Sharansky and for his thoughtful, good faith effort to find a resolution to the conflict at the Kotel. We recognize the significance of this plan for an egalitarian section at the Kotel and commend all those who worked tirelessly together to reach an agreement that respects the great diversity of Jews in Israel and abroad.
We continue to pray at the women’s section as is our right and we will continue to stand for the voice of women’s rights and religious empowerment at the Western Wall. However, we cannot in good conscience lobby Israeli society and the government to listen to our voices for 25 years and then refuse an invitation to speak directly to the government when it is offered to us.
In furtherance of its responsibility to pursue all significant opportunities to realize WOW’s mission, the WOW board decided to compile a list of demands for the Prime Minister – the necessary requirements for a third, pluralistic and equal section of the Wall. Unlike the current men and women’s sections, this section would not be administered by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz. The pluralistic section would be governed under the auspices of a group of leaders from all of the Jewish denominations, with fair representation for women.
Some of our supporters are having difficulty with this decision. They are disappointed, as are we, that the Israeli government has chosen to support Haredi overseers at Israel’s most important national monument and holy site.
This new section is now a vision. Until the last brick is put in place and all of the requirements are fulfilled, Women of the Wall will continue to stand strong in prayer in the women’s section of the Kotel. As we look toward the future, we will make certain that Women of the Wall pray at the Kotel, either in the women’s section, or in the new pluralist section, when it is created according to our requirements. Thanks to our thousands upon thousands of steadfast supporters both in Israel and abroad, we have the opportunity to create a new vision and to also continue to stand in support of our unchanging mission.