web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Meet the Women of the Temple Mount

Several hundred women dare to pray near the Western Wall where they usually are prohibited. Several hundred men also are there. Women of the Wall? No. Meet the Women of the Temple Mount.
Young women at the "Sivuv Sha'arim" march around the old gates to the Holy Temples.

Young women at the "Sivuv Sha'arim" march around the old gates to the Holy Temples.

Share Button

If you think you “have seen everything” in Israel, you probably are wrong. Call it an event, a spectacle or what it really is – prayer in its purest form – it is called “Sivuv Sha’arim,” literally “Around the Gates,” referring to the old, closed gates to the Temple Mount.

Lest anyone be put off because of prohibitions by the Chief Rabbinate of ascending the Temple Mount, praying at the gates of the Temple Mount is similar, in terms of Jewish law, as praying at the Western Wall or any synagogue in the world.

It happens every eve of a new Hebrew month, unless the Arabs get antsy around Ramadan. Several hundred women and men, sometimes up to 3,000, walk and sing in prayer and dance around the old gates to the Temple Mount.

They have been doing this for several years, and last week, I joined them on the eve of the Hebrew month of Kislev, Rosh Chodesh.

I have written about the “Sivuv” in the past as reporter for the Jewish Telegraph Agency, the Jerusalem Post and Arutz Sheva, but this time I am writing it as my own personal experience.

Before the march begins, the organizers brief the crowd on behavior: Follow orders, don’t start up with the police or Arabs and keep all of the senses focused on prayer and the place where the Holy Temples once existed.

The march winds thorough the Muslim and Armenian Quarters under heavy police guard to make sure the Arabs don’t cause any trouble. This past week, there were about 100 police officers, one for every 10 worshippers, and almost ever policeman toted a machine gun.

The prayers are said with strict separation between men and women, and girls hold up a banner the width of the streets in the Old City, with “men” written in Hebrew on side and “women” written on the other side to ensure modesty during singing and dancing.

Young girls and young men, many of them with earlocks half-way down to their belly buttons, their shoulders, wave purple flags of the Temple Mount. There were a handful of the over 60 crowd, like myself, and several Haredim. Other than that, the average age was less than 20.

At each of the old gates, the crowd stops and sings a Psalm. The young men break out in dance, and the loudspeakers that are on a trolley that follows the crowd and separate the men from the women, blares out a Psalm, “Our feet shall stand within thy gates, Jerusalem.”

As I walked back from one gate with the men, it was the girls’ turn to approach the gate and pray. I saw one woman – yes I did look at a woman other than my wife – stopping for several minutes as several hundred others walked past to get near the gate and pray. She covered her face with her hands and moved her head from side to side and in quick motion, totally intense in her thoughts.

What happened? Did she lose a boyfriend? Was a relative sick? More likely, she was totally wrapped up in absolute goodness on a spiritual path.

I began to cry.

I was there once upon a time, when I made aliyah on my first visit to Israel in 1983, at the age of 39. Everything in Israel was good – even the Knesset, where I marveled at a picture or tapestry of King David and realized how everything in this Land of the Jews is connected to Judaism. It simply depends with what eye you are looking and what objective you have in mind.

A cynical visitor could consider the enthusiasm of the monthly crowd as acting out some sort of fantasy. To the cynics I answer that these people, especially the girls, are totally holy in their innocence and innocent in their purity.

The prayers took place last Sunday night, several hours before the so-called Women of the Wall (WoW) gathered for their monthly routine of strutting their spirituality.

The Women of the Wall barely manage to get 100 women to make the trip to the Kotel each month. Last week was an exception, and they came up with approximately 700. One reason for the unusually large number was the 25th anniversary of their monthly outing. Secondly, many of the women were Americans who flew in for the event, and we will probably seem them again in another 25 years.

Share Button

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.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

One Response to “Meet the Women of the Temple Mount”

  1. Anonymous says:

    In another 25 years, G-d willing Mashiach will have come and these so-called "Women of the Wall" will finally understand the Truth and be doing t'shuvah for their chillul Hashem activities!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
Ukraine Shul Firebombed
Ukrainian Synagogue Firebombed (Video)
Latest News Stories

Rav Bina, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh has sent the following letter out to alumni of the Yeshiva: Dear Alumni, This Wednesday one of my grandchildren will be undergoing crucial surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his leg. I ask all of you to please recite tehillim for him during the surgery, […]

Naftali Bennett speaking in the Knesset

PA president Abbas, who is about 9 years late for democratic elections, has threatened to dismantle the PA and annul the Oslo Accords. Sounds good to us…

Hamas supporters marching on the Temple Mount, waving Hamas flags.

Rabbi Meir Soloveichik and his family’s visit to the Temple Mount was cut short when violent rioting once again broke out on the holy site.

Ukraine Shul Firebombed

Anti-semitic attacks have escalated with the firebombing of a synagogue in the Ukraine. Watch the video of the attack…

A surprised group of hikers stumbled across human bones in a Gush Etzion cave. But what they actually found was even more astounding.

Many Pakistanis consider bin Laden a “hero of Islam.”

Two major obstacles have kept Israel from joining the program: Allegations by U.S. officials that Israel has discriminated against Arab- and Muslim-Americans seeking entry, and a proliferation of young Israelis traveling to the United States as tourists and then working illegally.

A Lebanese man who was arrested in Thailand on suspicion of belonging to Hezbollah admitted to targeting Israelis, Thai media reported.

On Friday afternoon, Syrian fighter jets hit opposition/rebel targets and villages on the Syrian side of the Ramat HaGolan (Golan Heights), in the Quneitra region. Large pillars of smoke are seen rising from struck areas. Quneitra is the site of an official crossing between Syria and Israel on the Golan. IAF jets were sent out […]

As Rabbi Stav said, “You’re free to think what you want. But do you want me to recognize Chelsea Clinton’s child as a Jew?”

Chimpanzees and Orangutans eat Matza, unleavened bread traditionally eaten during the Passover holiday, at the Ramat Gan Safari on Thursday, April 17, 2014. I hope they can digest it. On Passover no leavened bread (Chametz) is allowed in Jewish possession, and that includes food we feed our animals.

Following intelligence reports of further expected Arab rioting and violence on the Temple Mount today, the police have placed restrictions on Muslim entry to the Jewish holy site, according to a report on Arutz-7. Entry will be limited to Muslims over the age of 50, and women, also they must be Israeli citizens or residency […]

PA President Abbas’s refusal to publicly condemn the terror attack that killed Baruch Mizrachi is putting a damper on the parade.

The Shas political party, founded and run by the late Rav Ovadia Yosef, has a appointed a new spiritual leader, according to a Galei Tzahal report. The rabbi chosen to replace Harav Ovadia and be the new president of the party’s Council of Torah Sages is Rabbi Shalom Cohen. Aryeh Deri is the political leader […]

In 1941, the Jews of Kiev received a similar leaflet. When they showed up the next day, more than 34,000 were murdered.

Teen stabbed in South Florida high school.

More Articles from Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
Police manhandle a youth in expulsion from the Hebron Peace house in December 2008.

The government’s approval of Jews moving into the Hebron building marks a return to a bit of political normalcy.

Israel is preparing a program to help absorb an increasing number of Jews making aliyah.

There is nothing like a good round of anti-Semitism to sober up Jews to move to Israel.

Card-carrying Israeli citizens in a totally Arab city in the western Galilee already are preparing celebrations for what they expect will be the return of their “heroes” who killed Israelis in terrorist attacks. The United States is trying to work out a deal with Israel to allow freeing several Arab terrorists with Israeli citizenship in […]

The BDS movement has done us a favor by showing the world they are idiots over the Scarlett-SodaStream duet.

Yesha leader have a problem condemning violence if it carried out “for the cause.”

The Sheldon Adelson Family Foundation has contributed $16.4 million to the Israel Lunar Project to build the world smallest spacecraft that SpaceIL hopes to land on the moon. The donation is nearly half of the project’s budget, estimated at $36 million. SpaceIL is an Israeli non-profit founded at the end of 2010 by three young […]

It might be best to say the Traveler’s Prayer on the airplane before putting on tefillin.

It won’t happen so soon, but it is only a matter of time until Jewish in Efrat finally can be like Jews in Tel Aviv.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/the-other-side-of-israel-blog-women-of-the-temple-mount/2013/11/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: