May 20, 2013
In Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood, threatening and offensive graffiti was found on the building walls and apartment door of Women of the Wall board member Peggy Cidor. The vandals’ vicious words include, “Women of the Wall are villains”, “Peggy your time is up” “Jerusalem is holy” and “Peggy we know where you live.” Cidor is a widow, who lives in Jerusalem and grown sons who do no longer live with her. A neighbor discovered the graffiti in the morning and called the police, who are investigating. Cidor said, “The hardest part is the threat that my ‘time is up’, something in that is so personal and brutal.”
It is important to realize that though these are most likely the acts of misguided individuals, the vandals are acting in response to the calls of incitement from the ultra-Orthodox rabbis. The writing is now literally “on the wall” for Israeli society, if ultra-Orthodox community leaders and rabbis are not held accountable for their messages and the actions of their followers. Women of the Wall calls on ultra-Orthodox rabbis to condemn these specific acts and all acts of violence against women, including at the Western Wall.
Women of the Wall leadership now includes and has always included Orthodox women. The women’s prayers are within the bounds of Jewish law (halakha) and well within the law of Israel. It saddens us that in a Jewish democracy a Jewish woman who wishes to pray freely at a holy Jewish site can find their life threatened.