By: Rabbi Tamara Miller, Skilled Volunteers
Accept the prayer of your people as lovingly as it is offered. Restore worship to your sanctuary. -Rosh Chodesh Amidah
Ta’ali . . . al tif’achadi . . . zeh rak avanim. “Go up. Do not be afraid. They are only stones.” The young woman reached for my hand. I ascended the natural bimah at Robinson’s Arch.
The Women Of the Wall Rosh Chodesh Av morning prayer service began at 7:00 a.m. One-hundred women created a semi-circle in the back of the women’s section at the Western Wall. Our female voices added a sweet soprano sound to the kotel plaza.
Nevertheless, we were under special security. A young policewoman scanned and recorded the proceedings, while another policeman weaved in and out of the crowd, admonishing several young Israeli women to adjust their tallitot: One of our women was detained last month because she wore a masculine type prayer shawl in a “manly” way.
One woman, holding her prayer shawl under her arm, stood on the side.
“Would you like to put on your tallit?”
“No,“ she replied. “I don’t want to be arrested before Shabbat. I wouldn’t get home in time.”