To all women who wish to pray at the Western Wall,

This Friday May 10th, Women of the Wall will gather, as we have for nearly 25 years, for Rosh Hodesh prayers at the Kotel. This month is different from past months; we have received the legal ruling of the Jerusalem District Court to pray freely on the women’s side of the Kotel. After many months of intimidation and arrests, we will stand together this month in celebration and in peaceful prayer, each woman according to her own custom and yet together as sisters. We are happy to invite you all – Haredi, Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Renewal, Reconstructionist and unaffiliated Jews – to join our women’s prayer.

We know that there are new groups organizing to recruit women to come to the Kotel early on Rosh Hodesh and protest our prayer. We hope that these groups, who very know little about Women of the Wall, are not coming to the Kotel to provoke conflict, but to pray. Such fringe groups have organized just in the past two months, since media has begun to gather at the Kotel on Rosh Hodesh. Though each group has a right to assemble and to claim their 15 minutes of fame, Women of the Wall eagerly awaits the day when all women pray, free of media, protester and police alike.

If you are an independent, free-thinking woman, who has been recruited by these groups, we urge you to take a moment, listen to our prayer and see our honest intent. If the mood strikes you, you are welcome to pick up a copy of our siddur, see what we are really about and pray with us. We ask that you not give in to conflict, or lashon harah (speaking ill of others)  as so many have in writing about us in past weeks.

For those women coming to pray on Rosh Hodesh, with us or separately, nothing could make us more proud. We have faced cursing, physical assault, spitting and more on the journey towards women’s religious freedom at the Kotel. We have done so in order to pave the way for our own daughters and for women like you, who begin now to gather in groups at the Kotel. Not long ago, seminary and ulpana girls were told that they were not allowed to pray Kabbat Shabbat prayers aloud together, as it was not permitted.  We are proud that our struggle has now made this possible and legal; it gives us great pleasure to see women organize, so long as it is for the purpose of raising the spiritual ground of the Kotel and not to protest others’ peaceful prayer.

When we arrive at the Kotel on Friday, we will all have a choice: To be on the side of baseless hatred of Jew against Jew or to pray with Women of the Wall for peace and unity amongst Jews. We welcome you to join us as we pray side-by-side, each woman as she believes, with respect for the other.

We look forward to sharing our sisterhood with you,

Shira Pruce

On behalf of Women of the Wall