I was delayed by the guard at the entrance to the kotel plaza as he handled my large Tikun Korim suspiciously and prodded my tallit bag. As I walked towards the women’s section I could hear Ahuva Batz leading Shaharit in a beautiful, loud and clear voice. There were around 60 women surrounding her and some 10 men around the women’s section who looked like supporters.
No major incidents, some guy screaming at us from the men’s section and some ominous chair rattling and banging – but the chairs stayed on the ground. The funniest incident was the haredi women shouting at us that we were doing ‘strange’ things and disturbing her tefila – and just as she reached a crescendo, we all went quiet as the silent Amidah prayer started. She went silent pretty quickly too!
Fran Immerman then led us melodiously and joyfully in Hallel. We marched out of the Kotel plaza to be reunited with our banned Torah scroll, singing what seems to have become the group’s ‘anthem’ – Ozi V’zimrat Yah, G-d is our strength and song…
I personally enjoy this walk and use the opportunity to wave at and welcome the tourists as they enter the Kotel Plaza.
The torah reading saw lots of excited readers and aliyah honorees. We even had a bride getting her aliyah before her wedding day this month and we didn’t miss the opportunity to dance and sing ‘Mazal Tov U’Siman Tov’. We prayed for the healing of many sick people including Nelson Mandela.
This week’s service was dedicated to Gilad Shalit’s 5 years in captivity by Hamas in Gaza. Aviva Shalit was invited to attend the service but couldn’t join it this time. A note signed by many, many WOW followers for his welfare and speedy release was inserted into a crack in the Kotel, together with thousands of other prayers…
A delicious Oneg was sponsored by Rabbi Kim Geringer, Rabbi Linda Henry Goodman and Cantor Josee Wolff. We all wished each other “Hodesh Tov” and went off our separate ways strengthened by the morning’s prayer service and as usual, sad a bit too that it’s so difficult to have a simple prayer service at the Kotel.
– Rachel Cohen Yeshurun