Women of the Wall, the Sharansky Plan, and the Continuing Struggle for Women’s Equality in Jerusalem
by: Abby Caplin on April 17th, 2013 | Comments Off
To what lengths will patriarchal power and arrogance go to retain its hegemony? We are finding out as the struggle for women’s prayer plays out at the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem, at Judaism’s most holy site and national monument.
Since 1988, Women of the Wall (WOW), a prayer group of women from all streams of Judaism (including Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Renewal, Reconstructionist, and unaffiliated women), has met at the Kotel to welcome each new month in prayer. It’s very simple. They wish to pray with prayer shawls, read from the Torah and pray aloud, as men are able to do freely on the other side of the partition (mechitza), which separates men and women according to Orthodox customs. This bothers the ultra-Orthodox power that reigns, which has made the Kotel its private synagogue, upsetting them to apoplectic proportion.