I had never felt more divided.
Yesterday, as I stood in front of dozens of young men dancing in a circle marked by high levels of testosterone, I struggled to hear my own prayers over those Carlebach niggunim sung and shouted so loudly that my ears actually hurt.
Of course these young men had every right to a loud festivity. And they had every right to hold it in front of the Western Wall.
And it was about as tasteful as could be (while being so rambunctious). These young men were off in a corner in the back, where they would be the least distracting.
And I also want to commend these men for choosing that back corner, where they prayed parallel to some female family and friends of the crew. Even if these women’s voices were not heard per se, and even if they were literally not seen, the presence of these women was fully acknowledged by their vociferous male counterparts.
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Jonah Rank is a musician and writer and is the co-founder of Oholiav: A Community for Viewing Arts & Entertainment through a Jewish Lens. Jonah received a B.A. in Music at Columbia University and a B.A. in Jewish Music at the Jewish Theological Seminary. At the latter, Jonah is enrolled as a rabbinical student, and he is currently studying in Israel.