Cantor Tamar Havilio, who led Rosh Hodesh Kislev Shaharit, morning prayers, at the Kotel wrote this about her experience:
Modim Anachnu Lach: I am feeling gratitude because I did something this morning that perhaps was one of the most proud and gracious moments (besides marrying my husband and the birth of our sons) in my life. After last months arrest of Anat Hoffman, I was compelled to use my voice, or my prayer within the heart of the struggle of the Women of the Wall. I went to Anat a couple of weeks ago and told her that I want to do something for the women of the Wall-she said she had just finished talking with the organizers and they need a Shlichat Tzibbur for Rosh Chodesh Kislev. She asked me on the spot…”Tamar will you do this?” I really felt called and as it is a traditional weekdays service (I teach this to my students at Hebrew Union College) and I know the liturgy well. At this moment I really felt called to share my voice, my prayers and raise their voices with mine. I was a little scared…but I reached the Wall early (we started praying at 7am and I arrived at 6:40am)and felt so at home there…I actually felt empowered. I have always dreamed of praying with my full voice at the Kotel. I am a chazzan after all, but more than this-I have always felt a powerful presence at the Kotel that yearns to hear also the women singing. The women’s group surrounded me (as they said that they would to protect me) and I started praying…my voice did not give out on me and I felt that I was able to sing out like never before…certainly never before at the Kotel. I was in a zone-as they say- and I felt both the power of the women praying around and with me and something quite heavenly…as if angels were calling me to prayer. I prayed so hard for peace and when we reached the repetition of the Amidah I felt as if I was literally wailing to the wall….praying so hard for a new tomorrow…a miracle of sorts. I thought of all of those mothers in the southern region of Israel racing to bomb shelters with their children in their arms. I reached a point as a prayer leader that I teach my students…that prayer is real and now and this will make us all stronger. I will never forget this experience and look forward to the next time when I can lead prayers with full heart and voice…with the strength, beauty and inspiring courage of the Women of the Wall. Modim Anachnu Lach…
2 thoughts on “Modim Anachnu Lach”
I am so sorry I missed hearing you lead the service. I really hope you will lead us again. Thank-you for your courage and support.
I was there and prayed with you. Your strong voice and even stronger kavana inspired all of us.