In response to the other women of the Wall

To Leah Aharoni (author of the Other Women of the Wall),

Kol HaKavod to the women who pray inside the Kotel tunnels. I am sure that your prayer is sincere and heartfelt. Please don’t disparage our prayer because we follow rabbis and scholars who understand halakha differently than you do. Women of the Wall would be happy to remove the cameras and journalists, not to mention the police which intrude on our sincere and heartfelt prayer. We don’t “polish the lenses”, although we do welcome them, only because they show the world our true intentions. They show that our prayer, including the wearing of ritual garments does not disturb the prayers of others at the Kotel. That is a pretense of those who oppose us. In the first week of Shevat, a group of us came to the Kotel with our siddurim and tallitot. No police, no cameras, no journalists. We came to pray and having accomplished our goal we continued with our daily affairs. While we hope to do this again, we will not give up on our tradional Rosh Hodesh prayers. We are sure you are aware of the significance of Rosh Hodesh for Jewish women.

You claim that the impact of your prayers “run deeper and broader’ than those of some of our supporters. How dare you suppose to know the level and commitment of our  conversations with God!  You choose to go to the tunnels with your sefer Tehillim. We choose to go to the women’s section of the Kotel plaza with our prayer books. We choose to wear tallit. You choose not to. When our sages disagreed the Talmud commented, “These and these are the words of the living God”. What was true then is true now.

We commend your practice and thank you for your invitation to join you. We also extend an invitation for you to join us.

Cheryl Birkner Mack

Women of the Wall Board

1 thought on “In response to the other women of the Wall”

  1. Kol ha’kavod for your gentle admonition! It is disheartening when women condemn each other for approaching the Kodesh Boruch He in different ways. Even as the sages argues amongst themselves, they knew no one had the one, single right answer.

    Judaism is based on argument. It’s okay to differ and it’s time honored tradition to debate.

    Let those women experience the greatest kavanah with their prayers just as the Women of the Wall experience the greatest kavanah at their prayers. And may the depth and intensity of that experience embrace us all.

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