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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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200 WOW Drowned Out by 10,000 Seminary Girls

No one was really hurt, and that's what really counts. Eat your heart out, Pew Institute, down here we're all Orthodox Jews…
According to Israel Radio, things had gone a little out of hand near the end, and the WOW had to sneak out of there through a side exit, as Haredi men were cursing them out and one man was arrested on suspicion of spitting and throwing stuff at them.

According to Israel Radio, things had gone a little out of hand near the end, and the WOW had to sneak out of there through a side exit, as Haredi men were cursing them out and one man was arrested on suspicion of spitting and throwing stuff at them.
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster

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The first day of Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan (which is, really, the last day of Tishrei) was yet another eventful installment in the lengthy and often repetitive saga featuring:

The Kotel (a supporting wall for the King Herod-renovated temple)

The Women of the Wall (a group of largely Reform and Conservative women who have been attempting to conduct their distinctly unorthodox services at the site practically since the crusades)

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the Kotel Rabbi, who, after having fueled the WOW campaign and giving it life for years has finally decided to leave them alone—about a decade too late

And 10,000 lovely, cheerful, sweet seminary girls, who told everyone they were there to pray for the recovery and well being of the ailing mega-scholar Rav Ovadia Yosef.

Look at the funny ladies with talitot and teffilin…. Photo by: Miriam Alster

“Look at the funny ladies with tallitot and teffilin…” Are the onlookers amused, angry, or both? Photo by: Miriam Alster

According to Haredi reports, the WOW just disappeared in the enormous crowd of youthful young ladies. Talk about integration!

According to Israel Radio, things had gone a little out of hand near the end, and the WOW had to sneak out of there through a side exit, as Haredi men were cursing them out and one man was arrested on suspicion of spitting and throwing stuff at them.

Religion brings out the best in people.

The email from the WOW read: “Nearly 200 Women of the Wall prayed this morning in the women’s section of the Kotel—out loud and as a group, with tallitot (prayer shawls) and tefillin (phylacteries). The multi-denominational prayer group prayed without police enclosures and restrictions, for the first time since April 2013.”

OK, very positive, so far. Not for long, though:

“This great achievement was tainted by the incited, abusive behavior of some of the women and girls who came to pray at the Kotel this morning,” the email continues. “Of thousands who came to pray for the health of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, there was a large group of women and girls who surrounded Women of the Wall, cursing, spitting and yelling throughout the prayer.”

Also: “A mass prayer was led by Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Yitzhak Yoseph, over loud-speakers, drowning out women’s prayers.”

They should join forces with Jerusalemites who are exposed to Mosque loudspeakers drowning all other sounds five times a day, every day. Let’s ban all megaphonic religions!

“Despite the provocations of the girls and the loudspeakers, out of great respect, Women of the Wall stopped their prayer to listen and join Rabbi Yoseph’s prayer for his father. The women added “amen” and continued the prayer only when his was finished.”

That’s a hopeful sign, then. Let the man go first, especially if he owns the decibel machine…

“It was a trying and emotional morning for the women many of whom left the Kotel in tears, saddened but also resolved to continue to pray at the holy site,” says the email.

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About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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21 Responses to “200 WOW Drowned Out by 10,000 Seminary Girls”

  1. Not true, about "sneaking out" they have left that way before. There was more security than WOW this am

  2. Were there really 10,000?

  3. Dan Silagi says:

    Do I detect a note of sarcasm in Yanover's essay (regarding the "seminarians" who yelled, screamed, and cussed out WOW while ostensibly praying for the recovery of the esteemed Tzadik Ovadia Josef), or is that just my imagination?

    If 10% of what was written in Ha'aretz is true, the "seminarians" outdid themselves in disgracing both the educational institutions they attend and orthodox Judaism as a whole.

  4. David Blatt says:

    The Sem girls behaved in a disrespectful & reprehensible manner. Obviously they did nothing in Tishri. I suggest they re-open Selichot!

  5. Sharon Marks Altshul says:

    huge crowd Hadassah Levy, will post photos asap remember the women' section is larger now.

  6. Cody Flecker says:

    So what is woman want to pray at the Wall. I am sure that these young woman can perhaps shout out the Palestinians who are slowly taking over all of Jerusalem and of Israel proper. Let these young woman put on Army uniforms and really defend Jerusalem.

  7. I feel that the comment "Look at the funny ladies with tallitot and teffilin" is a very very very sick one and relfects where the writer is at with HIS Judaisim = nowehre at all and is far more destructive than any woman wearing a tallit (I saw no tfillin in the picture!!!) These woman have a right to pray and if their Jewish identity has to be competative with men then they are also lacking for they do not know the true nature of a Jewish woman – who sets the spiritual tone of every home, who has been given the God given right to bear children as being as close to creation as the human can get, who gives birth in pain but the passive husband (the orgiinal Adam who did not stand up to his wife for the truth) has given pain to the woman in brith for his sin (and not so muvh for hers although she lied to the serpent) and who is not obligated to prayer for the most part as what she does far outways anything the man does through his thrice daily prayers etc etc. Woman it is time to wake up to whom you are and don't need to compete IT IS VERY HURTFUL TO AM YEHUDI TO HAVE THIS JOURNAL COMMENT AS IT DID!!!! Dr Pesach Aceman Ob/Gyn

  8. Alan Kardon says:

    Any person who ridicules, spits, insults or harms someone who is praying is not a true believer in the almighty. Everyone has a right to worship. No one has a right to attack them. If you think otherwise do it in the privacy of your own home, not in a place that should be available to all.

  9. Alan Kardon says:

    Are you ready to put on a uniform to defend Jerusalem?

  10. Yeah, and “women of the wall” are saints.

  11. Stop being so sanctimonious

  12. those “pious” bastards insulting other jews who only want pray in the most important jewish place. Yes, so pious

  13. Gideon Jones says:

    Spitting and such are wrong, but it is foolish in light of the Pew Poll that just came out in America (and the other studies previous to that which agreed) to even entertain the incorporation of non-Orthodox practice in Israel. Importing what has been proven to be a suicide pact for Judaism into Israel is well…suicidal.

    I understand that this fact is a hard pill to swallow and will ruffle a few feathers, but its long past the time we should start acting like adults and not spoiled brats demanding we get our individualized selfish ways. Well, only if you actually want the Jewish people, and Israel, to survive that is.

    The stats are in; non-Orthodox Judaism is suicide. As has occurred in the U.S., going down this path ends in death and the complete destruction of Judaism. Doing the same thing over and over again is insanity. Someone inform Hoffman.

  14. Gideon Jones says:

    Spitting and such are wrong, but it is foolish in light of the Pew Poll that just came out in America (and the other studies previous to that which agreed) to even entertain the incorporation of non-Orthodox practice in Israel. Importing what has been proven to be a suicide pact for Judaism into Israel is well…suicidal.

    I understand that this fact is a hard pill to swallow and will ruffle a few feathers, but its long past the time we should start acting like adults and not spoiled brats demanding we get our individualized selfish ways. Well, only if you actually want the Jewish people, and Israel, to survive that is.

    The stats are in; non-Orthodox Judaism is suicide. As has occurred in the U.S., going down this path ends in death and the complete destruction of Judaism. Doing the same thing over and over again is insanity. Someone inform Hoffman.

  15. Gideon Jones says:

    We all do know don’t we that all of the so-called reports of disrespectful behavior came ONLY from WoW, (hardly an unbiased source), right?

  16. Dan Silagi says:

    If the stupidity of Orthodox Judaism is its future, I'd rather be dead.

  17. Jenny Holcberg says:

    I already wrote three times commenting and it was erased WHY?

  18. Jenny Holcberg says:

    I already wrote three times commenting and it was erased WHY?

  19. Jenny Holcberg says:

    I was erased 3 times but I am stuburn and I will start over again.
    I say that reform is here to stay,and better accept it.
    Men have always dominated women,without G"s acceptance and it is
    all about loosing their grip on women.Let The Almyty decide which prayer he will accept.Let the women pray as they see fit ,Times are changing,and women woke up to take part in the services,with the only intencion to pray to our Lord with
    devotion ,they want to have the same oportunities as man,to come closer to the Divinity,shall we blame them for this yearning?
    Or shall we encorage them
    Men are afraid to lose their power over women especialy the ortodox who consider women good only to serve them,work for them,bear their children.
    But they will no longer prevail Womens prayers will open the gates of mercy
    and set them free.

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