The Kotel is one of the few places of consensus in an otherwise splintered Israeli society. It bolsters the Jewish identity of swaths of Diaspora Jews who have little or no Jewish knowledge and affiliation. Turning this site into a battlefield transforms the Wall from a powerful magnet into a place of contention. It would behoove a group such as WoW, with less than 300 regular worshippers, to consider the desires and needs of the women who are regular denizens of the Wall.
Parenting has forced me to confront the ethical challenges of our many privileges as a family.
Women of the Wall catalyzes engagement in healthy democracy. We are seeking equal ritual access at the Kotel. We query the role of religion in civil society and its form in sacred space, the limits of freedom and coercion, and propose ethical practices for Judaism.
Until the 15th century, the Kotel was almost unknown, certainly unvisited among most Jews. Jewish pilgrims to Jerusalem, and the Jewish residents of the city, expressed their longing for the sacred place, the Temple Mount, from a distance. They climbed the Mount of Olives, to the east of the city, looked toward the Temple Mount,
The annual Jerusalem Day celebration, which Israel’s chief rabbinate has declared a religious holiday, is a celebration of “the reunification of Jerusalem, the nullification of the border.” According to Jerusalem Deputy Mayor David Hadari, “It was previously impossible to reach the Western Wall, but it was liberated and the Temple Mount is in our hands.”
In 1974, as a first-year rabbinic student at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, I joined several of my classmates who were going to the Kotel for Simchat Torah. What an opportunity, I thought, to rejoice with the Torah in Judaism’s most sacred place! As we walked to the Kotel plaza, my classmates turned
Muslims and Jews dispute the ownership of the Burak (known to the Jews as the Wailing Wall). The Burak is sacred to Muslims because it is the site where our Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. It is named “Burak” for the winged horse that the prophet rode from Mecca to Al Aqsa Mosque. The horse
A few months ago, when Women of the Wall (WoW) held their Rosh Chodesh prayer service at the Kotel, I joined them. The experience was powerful, and it demonstrated just how much the struggle for the right to pray at the Wall is representative of a much larger issue: freedom of religion. Prayer at the