Last week we hosted our friends for Shabbat lunch and one of their kids was in a naughty mood. Her mother tried to calm her down but the kid, being a kid, just laughed.
“You’re stepping out of line,” her mother warned her.
Golan, my 7-year-old daughter, trying to understand what that meant, said, “But mommy, I thought it’s ok to not always be inside the line”. Thinking about coloring outside the lines, she offers us an interesting analogy.

In her Emmy Award acceptance speech, Jewish actress and director Alex Borstein dedicated her Emmy award to her grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. “She was in line to be shot into a pit and turned to a [Nazi] guard… and asked, ‘What happens if I step out of line?’ He said, ‘I don’t have the heart to shoot you, but somebody will.’ She stepped out of line and for that, I am here, and my children are here.”

So sometimes, despite what we were told when we were children, disobedience or stepping and coloring out of line, is the brave and just choice.

I recently captured a video at the Kotel – a group of young women, dancing and singing to welcome in Shabbat

Up until 2013 and the very public struggle of Women of the Wall, it was forbidden for women and girls to pray aloud in the women’s section of the Western Wall. For those Orthodox women to be able to sing and dance at the Kotel the way they did, the world needed a few willing Women of the Wall to “step out of line” and demand that the laws at the holy site be changed. Since 1988, Women of the Wall have been praying in song and advocating for this right. Today, women are allowed to raise their voices at the Kotel, thanks to the disobedience of our Women of the Wall sisters and predecessors.

On this Shavuot holiday, while we learn and celebrate Torah, remember that women are still denied the right to read Torah at the Kotel. This beautiful, colorful tradition that women have been taking part in for centuries, is a criminalized offense at the public holy site in Jerusalem. The Western Wall authorities use every Rosh Hodesh as a chance to remind us that we are not welcome and we are not equal.

Albert Einstein said, “You have to color outside the lines every once in a while if you want to make your life a masterpiece”.

Women’s voices and Jewish pluralism make Israel a democratic and a Jewish masterpiece. This is why we will continue to pursue the right to read from a Torah and hold B’not Mitzvah ceremonies at the Kotel. Inspired by iconic Jewish leaders Albert Einstein and Alex Borenstein, we will continue to step out of line in the name of justice, to pray for peace, the safe return of our Hostages, and a peaceful future for Israel.

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