The following was written by Jane Kusel about her experience with Women of the Wall on Rosh Hodesh Kislev, November 13, 2015:
Too excited to sleep much last night PM, I finally succumbed and beat my IPad and King David wake-ups a bit before 5AM. Patsy and I were out the door, take-away coffee in hand by 6:05, and at Liberty Bell Park before the 6:20 designated arrival. We were met with warm welcomes and many introductions before boarding our minibus to the Kotel. At this point we probably numbered 30 something with us being the eldest.
However after our arrival at the wall and security checks behind us, our numbers doubled, minimally, and ages spanned the years. Rosh Chodesh prayer books were distributed and a make-shift Bema erected…we gathered about halfway between the women’s side entrance and the Wall. There were Rabbis and Rabinnical students among us, US groups, Hebrew U coeds et al…some without kippot, others with kippot, some with Tallit, and fewer still with Tefillin.
But the spirituality, the knowledge of the Siddur, the joy, the pride, the determination and the sense of communal worship was palpable and the welcoming spirit of the WOW contingency was sincere and loving. As we prepared to begin Worship, I took a moment to pray as I put on my Tallit. I noticed a group of our women laying Tefillin, so with my own yet unwrapped in hand, I asked if someone would teach me… Dina Greenberg, as beautiful inside as she was outside, rose to the challenge, helped me lay and pray… as we placed the phylacteries before my eyes I became overwhelmed with emotion and could barely contain myself… Dina held me and hugged me and I her..I could sense Patsy’s embrace although it was in thought only. The shouts of Mazel Tov and support and pleasure by those around me is something I’ll cherish forever. I glanced over to the Men’s Section and recalled about 28 years ago when I watched Don, with bittersweet envy, being escorted into the catacombs to lay Tefillin…there was a single dove atop the Wall directly in front of me… I glowed within and without.
The service was perfect. Patsy and I joined the other first-timers as we were honored with an Aliyah. We were both so full afterwards, I marvel that we were able to eat… but, hey… it’s the breakfast buffet at KD… a feast for our bodies after our hearts and souls were so completely sated.