Welcoming Hundreds or Thousands

Women of the Wall look forward to welcoming hundreds of supporters and possibly thousands of Israeli seminary girls to the Kotel tomorrow, July 8th, 2013 at 7AM. We so look forward to a peaceful mass women’s prayer on Rosh Hodesh Av.

MK Gafni and Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Pindrus have seen it fit to use their positions as public servants to arrange for the busing of ultra-Orthodox girls to the Kotel to coincide with the monthly prayer of Women of the Wall. Though this may be intended to intimidate and overpower Women of the Wall, we truly welcome the young women and their prayers. This act just proves what we have always said: there is enough room at the Kotel for all women from all backgrounds and traditions to pray side-by-side. Women can share the space at the Kotel.

Ours is a women’s prayer of tolerance, celebrating diversity through pluralism and respect. Women of the Wall come from all over Israel, from Orthodox and non-Orthodox backgrounds and we have managed to pray side-by-side for nearly 25 years, despite our varying different traditions. Some of these women wear tallitot and tefillin and all wish to hear and see the reading of Torah on the women’s side of the Kotel. All of our prayers are well within the bounds of halakha (Jewish Law). Please read more about the halakhic rulings which allow women to wear tallit, pray aloud, and read from the Torah.

While you are welcome to follow along in our siddur and join our prayer, you may prefer to pray privately and quietly. Please know that we respect your tradition and your beliefs; we will do everything in our power to protect your right to pray in that way at the Kotel. We will also continue to pray as we believe. The women’s side of the Kotel is large enough for all of us and we look forward to sharing this space peacefully, as sisters.

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. To learn more about Women of the Wall please go to www.womenofthewall.org.il 

omri golan 2
Photo by Omri Golan
About the Author
Shira Pruce is an activist and communications professional. After living in Israel for 13 years, she has recently moved back to New Jersey. She is former director of public relations for Women of the Wall, and has advanced the work of MASLAN- the Negev’s Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Support Center and the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, to name just a few. She received her BA in Women and Gender Studies at Douglass College, Rutgers University.