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women of the wall

  • Religious pluralism cannot be separated from the fight against occupation

    As the 50th anniversary of the occupation draws near, those who consider themselves to be on the left cannot hide behind the battles that keep us in our comfort zone. By Emily Hilton Confrontations erupted at the Western Wall last week between security forces and activists from Reform and Conservative movement, after the activists broke through security barriers with torah scrolls in their arms, defying the ultra-Orthodox authorities that run the holy site. [tmwinpost] The prayer rally was staged after the government failed to implement a resolution approved in January to create a pluralist prayer section at the southern end of the Western…

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  • To reach Diaspora Jews, start by acknowledging their struggles

    Those who dismiss the struggle at the Western Wall because it ignores Palestinians should recognize how important the Kotel is to American Jews. Their struggle for justice might start at the Western Wall, but it doesn't necessarily end there. By Rachel Canar Something unprecedented happened in Jerusalem on Wednesday. More than 200 people, including 12 rabbis — leaders of the Reform, Conservative and Masorti movements — held a major Jewish protest against the status quo in Israel. It wasn’t about the occupation; it was about the rights of Jews of all streams to pray in their respective traditions at the Western Wall,…

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  • WATCH: Will you use Western Wall's new 'mixed prayer plaza?'

    After years of negotiations with reform and conservative movements of Judaism and ‘Women of the Wall,’ the Israeli government agreed to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where men and women can pray in the same space. We went to the Western Wall to ask people how they feel about the decision, and whether they would use the mixed prayer plaza. Read more: Women of the Wall victory can teach us a few things 'Why I cannot stand with Women of the Wall'

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  • Women of the Wall victory can teach us a few things

    If we succeeded at pushing the government to find a solution on a matter as sensitive as the Western Wall, then we can also push Israel's leadership — from a perspective of self interest — to make other, equally positive decisions. By Batya Kallus Last Sunday, following a 27-year struggle by Women of the Wall, the Israeli government approved a plan to create a new pluralistic, egalitarian and feminist plaza alongside the ultra-Orthodox prayer plaza at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. This is first and foremost a victory for Jewish feminists. But imagine — a group of Jewish religious women…

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  • Ultra-Orthodox Jews tear down 'bat mitzvah' ads in Jerusalem

    Buses carrying 'Women of the Wall' advertisements are vandalized and attacked; until earlier this year the Egged bus company refused to run ads featuring photos of women in Jerusalem. Unlike the majority of Jewish communities in western countries, most girls in Israel do not usually have bat mitzvah ceremonies. A new Jerusalem campaign promoting the right of girls to have the ceremonies at the Western Wall has been met with violence by ultra-Orthodox elements in the city. Busses carrying the advertisements, paid for by Women of the Wall, have been vandalized and the posters themselves ripped off of public buses.…

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  • 'Why I cannot stand with Women of the Wall'

    Nothing in Israel, or in the Middle East, is disconnected from anything else. Yet the issue of women’s religious access to the Kotel is treated, especially in North America, as if it exists in a vacuum. By Aryeh Cohen The story of Women of the Wall begins with the Wall. The story of the contemporary Wall begins with the Six-Day War in June of 1967. It begins not on June 7, when the Old City was captured and David Rubinger took his iconic photograph of three battle-weary Israeli soldiers standing in front of the Wall, nor even when the paratroopers’…

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  • Supporting roles: Men stand in solidarity with Women of the Wall

    While the running debate at the Western Wall has been over women’s prayer, Jewish men have been playing a supporting role in shifting 'local custom.' Women of the Wall may be exactly what their name implies: women. But standing and praying in solidarity with them this month were several dozen Jewish men. In between police barricades and the familiar fence enclosing the women's prayer area at the Western Wall Plaza, were about 30 Jewish men – Israel-born, immigrants, secular, Reform and Conservative, young and old. They came out to support approximately 300 Jewish women – many in religious garments traditionally…

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  • From a mother's grief to an immigrant's fear: A week in photos - March 7-13

    This week: The funeral of a Palestinian killed by Israeli forces; olive tree planters face settlers and soldiers; Women of the Wall's protest; a Palestinian action against family separations; Beit Safafa resists a road; solidarity with Samer Issawi continues; Israelis protest for human rights and animal rights, and African immigrants face anger in Tel Aviv.                      

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  • MKs join hundreds of women praying at Western Wall, defying law

    Hundreds of women - including MKs Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), Stav Shaffir (Labor) and Michal Rozin (Meretz) -  gathered at Jerusalem's Western Wall in honor of Rosh Hodesh (first of the Hebrew calendar month, today, Nissan) Tuesday morning. They joined the usual group of women from the Women of the Wall movement, who go every month at 7 a.m. to pray there on the other side of the barricade separating them from the men - but are often harassed and prevented from doing so - and even at times, arrested. According to the regulations at the Western Wall, as determined by its chief rabbi, and…

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  • Women's rights activist: We are reclaiming Judaism's holiest site

    Anat Hoffman, longtime crusader for the advancement of progressive Judaism in Israel and a tireless activist for the rights of women to partake in religious traditions, was arrested last month while saying the Shma prayer at the Western Wall. Hoffman, the Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center and one of the founders of Women of the Wall (and a former Jerusalem City councilwoman) is no stranger to the law: it was the sixth time she has been arrested. Yet she says she has never been charged. When I interviewed her nine days later at a conference in Germany,…

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  • 3 women arrested while praying at Western Wall in 24 hours

    Head of Women of the Wall was held in custody the entire night after trying to pray at the holy site while wearing a prayer shawl - a practice reserved only for men, according to Orthodox Judaism. Three members of Women of the Wall (Neshot Hakotel), a group of Jewish women which seeks to conduct prayers and read from Torah at the Western Wall, were arrested by police in the last 24 hours, during the "Rosh Hodesh Heshvan" (new month prayers) at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. The head of the organization, Anat Hoffman, was arrested last night…

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