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September 19, 2014 / 24 Elul, 5774
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Letter from Women of the Wall

(left to right) Reform Rabbis Pamela Frydman, Anat Hoffman, Shoshana Devorah and Cheryl Birkner Mack, of Women of the Wall.

(left to right) Reform Rabbis Pamela Frydman, Anat Hoffman, Shoshana Devorah and Cheryl Birkner Mack, of Women of the Wall.
Photo Credit: Dan Pine

Dear Editor,

I read with interest Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu’s February 24, 2013 article entitled, Women of the Wall Rabbi Calls Knesset Achashverosh.

In 2003, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision that allows Women of the Wall to pray at the Kotel once a month on Rosh Hodesh.

That is why Women of the Wall only pray at the Kotel on Rosh Hodesh and at very few other times. Furthermore, it is the absence of blanket permission by the court or the Knesset that prevents other women’s minyanim from ever being able to pray at the Kotel.

Women of the Wall read Torah on Rosh Hodesh at Robinson’s Arch where egalitarian worship is allowed and Women of the Wall are permitted to read Torah. Yes, we would like to read Torah in the women’s section at the Kotel Plaza, but in order to do so, we would need the support and enforcement of the Israeli government.

Prime Ministry Netanyahu has asked Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky to come up with a unity plan for the Kotel. However, neither the Prime Minister nor the Knesset have instructed the police to allow Women of the Wall to wear tallitot during worship while a long term solution is worked out.

Instead, the government and her leaders are complicit with police confiscating tallitot from women at security and then taking women into custody and keeping them in custody for hours if they do wear a tallit in the women’s section at the Kotel Plaza.

If our Prime Minister and the Knesset were to look the other way while police confiscated the tallitot of men and arrested men who did wear a tallit while Mr. Sharansky was working out a solution. I do not think haredi leaders would be so kind as to draw a Purim analogy between the Knesset and the king.

(Reform) Rabbi Pamela Frydman, Co-Chair of Rabbis for Women of the Wall

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4 Responses to “Letter from Women of the Wall”

  1. Chaia Beckerman says:

    Note that the caption to the accompanying photograph is incorrect, identifying not only Rabbi Pamela Frydman as a Reform rabbi, but the other three valiant women as well. Anat Hoffman directs the Israel Religious Action Committee which is indeed affiliated with the Reform movement, Rabbi Shoshana Devorah is a Renewal rabbi in the U.S. who has worshipped with WOW countless times over the past 24 years, while educator Cheryl Birkner Mack is an observant Masorti (Conservative) Jew. Orthodox women are also active members of this group whose diversity is far too exceptional in the Jewish world.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The reform movement has only brought assimilation, intermarriage and the rejection of the Torah as our source of halacha. It has destroyed millions of lives taking them off the derech that Hashem has commanded. They may be nice women with good intent but their actions are dangerous and only bring bad to the Jewish state and its people. We should fight them (in a respectable) way and not let them get any more power than they have at present. They are a danger and we shouldn't be duped. Those ideas destroyed Europe and we should not let them grow in Israel.

  3. Ben Plonie says:

    You are right. Rather than identifying the women as 'Reform', they should have been identified as 'anti-Orthodox', or 'Alternative'. I am skeptical over the assertion that any recognizably Orthodox women participate in civil disobedience and protest against Orthodox religious authority regardless of the label they use to self-identify.

  4. I was at the Kotel with Women of the Wall in November, 2010. I have met with Anat Hoffman in Tel Aviv. I am an educated Reform Jew in Los Angeles and have been Hazan at Bat Mitzvah in Kehillat Mevesseret Zion, I have suffered the outrageous behavior of the "religious" beggers at the Kotel. I have heard them shame our religion by hurling profanities at the women on the other side of the Mehitzah. Israel was not founded to make Jews suffer. Women have every right to pray and leyn and lead. They have every right to wear what they want and to ride on the Eged in any seat they want. The Kotel is unclean from the actions of the Haredi men, not the Kadosh behavior of the women.

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Dear Editor, I read with interest Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu’s February 24, 2013 article entitled, Women of the Wall Rabbi Calls Knesset Achashverosh. In 2003, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision that allows Women of the Wall to pray at the Kotel once a month on Rosh Hodesh. That is why Women of the Wall only […]

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