March 5, 2016
Women of the Wall respond to Rabbi Amar’s statement:
“We are in agreement with Rabbi Amar’s statement that no one body or person can or should have ownership over the Western Wall. Women of the Wall have long opposed the relegation of the Western Wall to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation and the sole authority of Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz over the holy site. Ideally, the Western Wall would not be divided at all, but opened up to all Jews and their traditions.
It is unfortunate that, despite so many opportunities for unity including this new plan for the Kotel, the ultra-Orthodox leadership in Israel uses their platform to incite hatred against fellow Jews and Jewish women. The baseless hatred that the chief rabbis in Israel express towards Women of the Wall and non-Orthodox Jews, only stands to show how truly out of touch they are with the modern-day Jewish people.”
Today, the Prime Minister cancelled a meeting that was intended to progress the creation of the third section at the Kotel. The first benchmark on the timeline was already missed last week, when Religious Services Minister David Azoulay refused to sign the new regulations that will establish the new prayer area at the Western Wall.
It is this very reason that Women of the Wall remain committed to the struggle for women’s access to the Torah in the women’s section at the Kotel, and continue to pray there until the third section is up and running. The struggle for equality at the Kotel is far from over.
The government approved the plan for a pluralist prayer section at the Kotel after three years and hundreds of hours of negotiations between the relevant parties. Women of the Wall, along with the rest of the world, watch and wait in anticipation for the government to implement the agreement, which will provide a place for all Jews to pray according to their traditions in a respectful and dignified manner.
Women of the Wall will gather on Friday March 11 at 7AM in the women’s section of the Western Wall for Rosh Hodesh Adar II prayers and the bat mitzvah of Ashira Silverman-Abramowitz.
On Friday March 25 Women of the Wall will meet for women’s reading of Megillat Esther for the holiday of Purim in the women’s section of the Western Wall.
For 27 years Women of the Wall have led the struggle for women’s right to pray at the Western Wall with tallit, tefillin and the Torah at the Western Wall. After the arrests and detentions of 50 women at the Kotel, and thanks to the work of activists all over the world, in 2013 a Jerusalem District Court judge ruled that Women of the Wall may pray at the holy site, each woman according to her tradition. Unfortunately, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Administrator of the Western Wall and Holy Places implemented regulations preventing women from accessing Torah scrolls at the Western Wall. In 2016, spurred on by the insistence of Women of the Wall, partners and activists worldwide, the Israeli government approved a plan to build a third, pluralist section at the Western Wall. The execution of this plan may take some time and until its completion, Women of the Wall continue to pray in the women’s section of the Western Wall, remaining steadfast in the fight for women’s rights to read from the Torah at the Kotel.