April 4, 2013
Women of the Wall Responds to Prohibition of Women’s Right to say Kaddish at the Kotel
Increased Threats and Severity of Enforcement against Women at the Western Wall
Women of the Wall received a letter from Israeli Police at the pressure and request of Rabbi Rabinowitz, Chairman of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, and Rabbi Meir Porush of Agudat Yisrael faction of United Torah Judaism, to enforce the strictest prohibitions against women’s free prayer at the holy site. The letter summarizes the most recent interpretation of the 2003 Supreme Court ruling by the Attorney General, in which women are forbidden to pray the Kaddish prayer, including the mourner’s prayer. In his letter, Jerusalem Chief of Police Prienti, asserts and threatens that as of Rosh Hodesh Iyar, when Women of the Wall will gather for their monthly prayer at 7AM on April 11, 2013 at the Western Wall, the police will enforce the full extent of the law against women violating this ruling.
Anat Hoffman, Women of the Wall Chair, “Prohibiting women from saying Kaddish is a shanda (Yiddish for shameful) and brought on solely by the hegemony and short-sightedness of Rabbi Rabinowitz. He has, without a doubt, crossed a clear red line, as women’s right to say Kaddish is respected and accepted by the entire Jewish world, including Orthodox factions.
The end of the Jewish month of Nissan and the start of Iyar bring Israel’s Days of Remembrance for the Holocaust and Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism. These days are observed all over the world and in Israel with a somber mood of mourning and prayers, centrally the mourner’s Kaddish for those who have died in the name of their Jewish identity and the State of Israel.
Hoffman continues, “These days symbolize the unity of the Jewish faith and fate, as well as the shared national and personal price we pay. To refuse mothers and mourning women the right and obligation of saying the mourner’s prayer, Kaddish, is cold-hearted. Women of the Wall will be at the Kotel and will say Kaddish, with the utmost religious intention and emotional commitment that is deserved and require of us.”
Women of the Wall calls all Jews around the world to stand in solidarity, to say Kaddish and demand full religious freedom for women at the Western Wall.
For nearly twenty-five 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.
Press Contact: Shira Pruce, Director of Public Relations +972 (0)546898351 [email protected]