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women of the wall

  • 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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  • Women of the Wall and Pussy Riot: Unlikely partners in the same struggle

    From Pussy Riot to Women of the Wall, our male religious authorities are so intimidated by women mobilizing support for religious freedom and expression, that they feel the need to restrain, detain and jail this great potential for change. By Shira Pruce I admit that a few weeks ago, if you asked me, “What do Women of the Wall and Russian punk band Pussy Riot have in common?” I would have had a good long laugh while waiting for the punch line of your joke. However, since the arrests on Sunday, August 19, of four women at the Western Wall of Jerusalem, there has been nothing…

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