The call of the shofar was Women of the Wall’s response to a series of offensive stickers that decorated the partition between men and women at the Western Wall (Kotel) this morning. The stickers read: “To the female public: Refrain from singing out loud at this holy site. Instead, you may celebrate and cheer with the sound, “Lu, Lu, Lu” as is customary. Thank you, the men who are praying.”
This morning Women of the Wall concluded their prayer for the Jewish month of Elul with the only women’s Shofar-blowing at the Western Wall. While traditionally the Shofar is sounded throughout the month of Elul from this day forward through the High Holy Days in September, at the Western Wall only men do so following 47 years of ultra-Orthodox rule over the public, holy site. The women’s prayer group will return for one more call of the Shofar in September, during the Selihot prayers.
The sticker, which refers to women as spectators of prayer in stead of participants or leaders of prayer also relegates women to cheering only: “Lu Lu Lu” and forbids women from praying out loud, a battle which Women of the Wall won in the courts last year.
Anat Hoffman, Chair of Women of the Wall: “The fact that in this holy Jewish place men are allowed to pray and sing to their hearts content and women are being told to refrain from prayer and only make the sound, “Lu, Lu, Lu”, is ridiculous. This is exactly the reason that Women of the Wall have been struggling for over 25 years- to ensure the freedoms of women who come to the Kotel to pray and to celebrate Jewish life events.
Thanks to our determination and insistence, what was once the accepted practice- for only men to sound the shofar at the Western Wall- has now changed and women are allowed to blow shofar in the women’s section of the Kotel today. This was not so a few years ago. This is yet another one of our accomplishments on the way to liberating the Kotel.”
Hoffman added, “Our next goal is to have a bat mitzvah ceremony that will include reading from a Torah scroll in the Western Wall’s women’s section.” Women are currently banned from accessing Torah scrolls at the Western Wall.
Women of the Wall will meet next for Selihot prayers and to sound the shofar in the women’s section of the Western Wall, on Saturday night September 20, 2014 at 10PM. The public is welcome to join.
For over 25 years Women of the Wall has continued to fight for religious freedom and women’s rights at the Western Wall. As Women of the Wall, our central mission is to achieve the social and legal recognition of our right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall.
Contact: Shira Pruce, Director of Public Relations +972 (0)546898351 firstname.lastname@example.org