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