by Natalie Bergner, Women of the Wall Intern
Two weeks ago I stood with Women of the Wall for our reading of the Meggilah. Women came in costume with smiles on their faces and graggers in their hands, ready to celebrate the strength of Ester and the Jewish people. For the first time since I have been an intern at Women of the Wall, there were no arrests. The Kotel was basking in the first rays of spring sunlight and the Women of the Wall were allowed to peacefully enjoy the peaceful Purim atmosphere.
Tomorrow morning Women of the Wall will gather to celebrate the coming of Rosh Hodesh Nisan. The month of Nisan marks the first Rosh Hodesh of the Jewish people. “The Lord said to Moses and to Aaron in the Land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.” (Exodus 12:1-3) It is also known as Hodesh haAviv, the month of Spring. For the duration of Nisan the Jewish people celebrate our exodus from Egypt and entry into freedom. We remember and honor the prophetess Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron, for her bravery in saving the baby Moses and her gift of water that she provided the Jewish people in the desert. We sing to Miriam at the Passover Seder, proudly recalling the strength of our female ancestor.
In such a month of new beginnings and celebrations of liberation, I hope that this time of year will mark a new chapter for Women of the Wall—a time in which women will be liberated from having to hide their Tallit, their voices and their Torah. I hope that just as Miriam sang in peace with her brothers and sisters in the desert, the Women of the Wall will be able to read, pray and sing in harmony tomorrow morning, and that this morning becomes an example of peaceful Roshei Hodesh to come.