Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll

WOW, W4W- Lets get together and really make some noise

Like most of you, I’m quite done with this whole WOW (Women of the Wall) W4W (Women for the Wall) thing.

As with most dramas, it didn’t need to be this way. Had the WOW been allowed to pray as they wished for the one hour a month that they wanted- no arrests, no jail etc. all would be quiet. The utter stupidity of arresting a woman for wearing a tallit? Hell, they had my support the minute the cops did that.

Of course WOW had to fight. And like most people would when fighting for something they believed in, they fought with all they had. And when backed into a corner, they fought harder. I can relate to that.

For those who have been asking, my official opinion on this issue is that the WOW should not be kept from praying as they wish. So long as they are not preventing (actively- not because their very existence bothers people) other people from praying as they wish, sacrificing humans or animals (is it illegal to sacrifice an animal at the Kotel?), or creating disruption (again, actively, not because others don’t want them there), they should be left alone.

As to the W4W- they greatly disappointed me. I am certain that there is an element of wanting to defend what they see as the tradition of the place. They feel the WOW are usurpers and trouble makers who are trying to liberate them- this is offensive to them as they don’t feel any need to be liberated and are quite happy with the status quo, so they wanted to show them that.

You know what? I can respect that notion too- to a point. You want to tell them you don’t like it? You want to show them you don’t want a change? Ok- demonstrate- that’s your right. But what you did was go the Rabbis and get agreement and support. And so, what happened? You were bulldozed and all your good intentions went out the window.

Busloads of young women were sent. Many did not know why they were there. There was confusion and disdain. The hooligans who are always ready to spit and throw took center stage from you- and you acted surprised. That is not how you make a point ladies. You don’t ship in people who will pretty much do whatever their leaders tell them to and try to prove it means that you’ve got majority support. And for the love of all that’s good, calling it a prayer rally for unity? On all subsequent conversations I’ve read from you, you spoke of how WOW are trampling your rights at the Kotel, but never explain what you mean. Well, you lost my support with the disingenuity and using people.

After the fiasco at the Wall which was actually painful to most of us, I put out a very sincere call on Facebook asking both parties to channel all of this energy and passion into a cause we can all agree upon- let’s choose from the many available: sexual abuse, spousal abuse, female trafficking,   women chained to recalcitrant husbands… is there a lack of causes to get behind? Is there a dearth of areas where a committed group of intelligent, passionate women coming together to make a change could save lives??

It is my dream to bring about change because the people demand it and will not tolerate the ‘status quo’ anymore. I think I had hoped that it would be centered around helping people and not a turf war. I have no doubt that we can find common ground and that we can turn the world on its ear with our power.

My offer still stands and I am willing to be the first to put my hand out to both groups. I believe in both of your rights to pray as you wish so long as you respect others.

Now, can we really make some noise?






About the Author
Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll is a writer and an activist. Cofounder of She loves her people enough to call out the nonsense. See her work at
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