Once again we deal with the absurdity of women being detained by Israeli police for the apparent “crime” of expressing their Jewish identity.
Every Rosh Hodesh, Women of the Wall conduct services at the Kotel in Jerusalem. They daven shacharit in the women’s section, making no effort to infringe in any way on the much larger section reserved for men. Leaders of Women of the Wall include many from Masorti, and each month Masorti has a delegation of men and women (including members of the NOAM youth movement) at the Kotel with Women of the Wall.
This morning, once again, two women were detained by police for the offense of wearing their tallit the way we all typically do, rather than making it look like a scarf or item of apparel. One of those detained was Rachel Cohen Yeshurun, a leader of a Masorti kehilla. She told me how she was brought in for questioning and fingerprinted. She, and all those involved, deserve a kol hakavod from us.
Last night, while with a group of women from Hadassah and not specifically davening for Rosh Hodesh, Anat Hoffman, the leader of Women of the Wall, was detained and kept overnight in jail. Why? Apparently while at the Kotel she was too enthusiastic and loud in her rendition of Shema so it was deemed she was disturbing the peace.
Yizhar Hess, Executive Director of the Masorti movement in Israel, put it well when he said: “In all honesty it must be said we have misunderstood our own history. The Kotel was never liberated, rather, it was handed over to the Ministry of Religion and to the Haredim who fully control the area. In a process of exclusion, this national symbol has been turned into an Orthodox synagogue. The women of Hadassah may be good enough to build hospitals but not good enough to pray and sing.”
David H. Lissy
Executive Director & CEO
To learn more, please contact: Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 832 New York, NY 10115-0068 (212) 870-2216; 1-877-287-7414 http://www.masorti.org/; [email protected]