I have no professional training, especially no PR training. I was not schooled in how to say things so that the world hears what I am intending to say and not what they think they’re hearing. I am a mom and wife, first and foremost, then a frugality blogger. Politics is not my forte, nor is it even my area of interest.
What interests me most is to end the endless infighting between the Jewish people, and to increase Torah throughout the Jewish world.
I’ll admit, I’ve made mistakes in the past with my phraseology when writing blog posts. You can have a message and get it completely wrong if you phrase it incorrectly. I’ve been working with people to help me phrase things in ways that are respectful, polite, and not emotionally charged, because those are things that your opponents are able to accept more easily than heated rhetoric.
This is why I am very bothered by a lot of the statements put out by WoW members, especially board members and PR staff. The statements, in many cases, are completely incorrect, many are exaggerations, and other statements are using heated rhetoric and using holocaust imagery, which get a rise out of people and paint a picture different than what really happened.
Examples of such rhetoric include WoW PR head saying WoW was “exiled” and “marched into a ghetto of sorts”, “fenced in a cage”, saying that they hope to one day be “free… in our Jewish state” implying that there is no freedom now, saying that women were denied the “right to pray freely at the Kotel” when thousands of women, religious and secular, prayed freely at the Kotel yesterday and everyday. WoW can follow the Supreme Court compromise and pray however they want at Robinson’s Arch section of the Western Wall or at the main plaza of the Western Wall if they choose to pray in a traditional fashion.
WoW also has said things like “there is Orthodoxy and there is normalcy, and you can’t confuse the two”, and compared Israel to Saudi Arabia. They constantly demonize religious Jews and Israel on the world media, on their site and Facebook page, and in Temples worldwide on speaking tours. They’ve also blamed W4W for inciting violence, when, unfortunately, the violence against WoW has been going on since their inception (as written about in their book) and Women For the Wall came into the picture because we were upset with the violent way people were opposing WoW, and said it was important that people stand up to WoW with dignity and respect, not violence, and we’ve made great efforts to stop the violence.
This feels to me like sensationalism, words used to try to paint pictures in a very different light from reality, and words like this cause hatred and fighting, which no one wants, and are counter productive if one’s mission is peace and love and Jewish unity.
W4W has been very careful not to use overblown rhetoric, and to only quote WoW in full. While we’ve gotten very negative reactions from WoW members and supporters when we do this, we find it only is fair that people are aware of what WoW says, no matter who their audience is. Sensationalism and hateful rhetoric makes it harder to attain unity and peace.
What is important is transparency and honesty.
Women of the Wall- please, be honest about who you are, what you do, what every single last one of your objectives are, so that there isn’t one story written in the Sun Sentinel, another on BBC, another in the NY Times, and another on Haaretz.
You’d be respected so much more and get a lot further in attaining your goals if you were upfront about what you wanted, and didn’t blow things out of proportion using holocaust imagery.
I understand you’re upset about what happened yesterday at the Western Wall, when you prayed near the entrance of the Kotel Plaza, and not in or near the Women’s section. You could have chosen to join the thousands at the Wall today if you did so in a way that respected thousands of years of tradition.
State that, no histrionics or sensationalism. Just pure honest feelings, and straight out facts. “We are very saddened/disappointed/frustrated that WoW was not allowed to have our prayer service in the Women’s section of the Western Wall like we desire.” State the truth, “We don’t want to go to Robinson’s Arch because we want to be able to pray our way in the women’s section of the Kotel Plaza.”
Integrity is important. Honesty is important. Not being sensationalist is important. Communication is important.
I believe in peace, and I believe in unity, and I believe that when all parties involved stick to facts and feelings and not accusations and histrionics, and are honest about their objectives, Women for the Wall and Women of the Wall will be able to work together to find a solution that promotes peace and unity in the Jewish people and ensures that the Kotel remains a place free of strife, while finding ways to make sure that all sides feel that their needs and desires have been met.
Honestly, I’m working on expressing myself in ways that create more unity too, and I know I’m not perfect at it. I’m learning and I’m doing my best. Perhaps after reading this you feel that I’ve misunderstood you or accused you of things you disagree with. If so, please let me know in a comment. Let’s please work together to create greater understanding.