The Kotel is not a Woolworth’s lunch counter. It is the holiest Jewish site on earth today where Jews are allowed to gather and pray. If Jewish women cannot daven there without being disturbed by the actions of Women of the Wall, our right to worship in accordance with our mesorah is being violated. Turning the Kotel into a staging ground for alleged civil rights disputes starts us down a very slippery slope. What comes next, mixed prayer? After all, there may be women who feel a mechitza violates their rights to pray with their husbands or male family members and friends.
Mr. Hoffman and I agree on one thing: the idea of allocating space for Women of the Wall’s service is unacceptable. He is right to deride “separate but equal” – there is no equivalence between the sincere, heartfelt prayers women offer up at the Kotel and the feminist posturing of Women of the Wall.
I was most recently a woman at the Wall in February, and it was, as always, beautiful, poignant, and stirring. I encourage all Jewish women to visit the Kotel and experience it as well; just leave the tefillin, talleisim, and Sifrei Torah where they belong – on the men’s side.
If a woman is truly interested in pursuing closeness to Hashem at the Kotel, the only religious accoutrements she needs are a siddur, a book of Tehillim, and an open heart.