Latest update: October 4th, 2013
Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz has requested that Haredi girls not fill the women’s section of the Kotel plaza the next time the Women of the Wall arrive to pray, perhaps on Friday.
“When Jews fight with each other at the Western Wall, there is no greater desecration of God’s name,” a statement from his office read.
A fragile compromise on multidenominational prayer has been taking shape through a committee convened by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and headed by Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky.
“Therefore we should await the decision of the committee, so that we can create order that will return calm and brotherhood to the Western Wall,” according to the rabbi’s statement.
The WoW may arrive to the area on Friday, the first of the two days marking the new Hebrew month of Cheshvan, although they have been granted their own prayer area at Robinson’s Arch, at the southern end of the Western Wall but less popular among tourists and visitors than the section at the plaza.
WoW spokeswoman Shira Pruce told The Jewish Press Wednesday that the agreement to allow women to reads the Torch and pray at a minyan at a more remote area is a solution that smacks of “separate and unequal.” She said that the women are adopting a “wait and see” policy on whether to accept the compromise since the government has not yet built the promised facilities for the women.
Regardless of where they pray on Friday, they will be without a Torah scroll, which is read during the morning prayers on the new month, because their scroll has been damaged by mold. The Jewish Press reported here on Wednesday that the Women of the Wall blame the government for the damage because there are inadequate storage facilities at Robinson’s Arch.
Haredi girls have swarmed the women’s section of the Western Wall Plaza in recent months to make it almost impossible for the smaller WoW group to organize, let alone sing out loud.
Following raucous protests from the men’s section, whistles, catcalls and even chair-throwing, Rabbi Rabinowitz has concluded, although very belatedly, that a “provocation” could upset the “sensitive security situation at the Temple Mount, which is now at its zenith.”
The JTA contributed to this report.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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