I am glad that Ariella Rosen wrote her blog describing what happened two days ago on Rosh Hodesh Sivan at the Kotel. She describes so eloquently what I was feeling. I was standing next to her and I too was wearing a long tallit.
What exactly is one supposed to do when asked to change one’s tallit during Shema? I think we both got it right — comply respectfully at the end of the prayer. Looking back, it was obvious that this was a trap. Why else would the police officers wait 30 minutes until exactly that part of the service to ask us to remove our tallitot if not to catch us when we could not do so?
I came to the Kotel to pray. I came to the Kotel to sing the songs of Hallel with others and to hear the Torah read for Rosh Hodesh. As is my custom, I wore my tallit.
I was at the end of the group so a different police officer stopped me on the way out. Perhaps my police officer was nicer, perhaps it was because I pretended to not understand, but they just collected my information and let me on my way.
Three months ago I came to Rosh Hodesh at the Kotel with my 12-year-old daughter. I am glad she was not at the Kotel yesterday. Mine may be a 25-year-old tallit she calls old and boring, but when she was little she made designs out of its fringes when she was bored at shul. I am glad she did not have to see police pull her mom aside for wearing it. That is not the Judaism I want her to learn.
Sheryl Erez and her family are from Atlanta and have been living in Petah Tikvah for almost a year. Sheryl joined minyans in support of WOW years ago but was only able to join the WOW at the Kotel for the first time this year for Rosh Hodesh Adar.