Why Are Israeli Police Stopping Jewish Women from Praying?, by Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld

This blog post originally appears in The Huffington Post. To read the full post please click here.

On June 21, for the second month in a row, a Jewish woman praying in a once-a-month prayer service was detained for hours by Israeli police for the crime of wearing a tallit — a prayer shawl — at the Western Wall.

The Western Wall is considered holy because it is directly adjacent to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the holiest spot in Judaism.

Before delving into the issue of whether or not a woman may wear a tallit according to halakhah, we must take note of the fact that there is another related issue here as well. That is the question of whether or not Israeli police should enforce Jewish law at the Western Wall. Should the Kotel be a specifically sacred place in strict accordance with Jewish law, or should it be a place where people can worship and act as they please? However, we are not focusing on that issue here.

Here we are discussing how women were denied the right by the Israeli government to practice Jewish law in a manner that is permitted by many great traditional rabbinic authorities. In essence, the Jewish State denied them their right to practice Judaism.

Let us delve deeper into the nitty-gritty of this law. Click here to read full post.

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