Shalom Life | October 17, 2015

The Women of the Wall Get More Bad News

Police Will Enforce 2005 Ruling Prohibiting Women From Reciting Prayers at Kotel

By: David Shear

Published: April 4th, 2013 in News » Israel

Members of a group trying to garner equal rights for women at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem received some bad news this week.

The Women of the Wall received a letter from Israeli police that they have no choice but to enforce a 2005 legal ruling that prohibits females from reciting the Kaddish mourner’s prayer, and other prayers, at the Wall.

According to Yossi Pariente, Jerusalem’s police commissioner, women who recite the Kedusha and Kaddish prayers are in violation of a Supreme Court ruling, and that his police must enforce the law at services for the start of the Hebrew month of Iyar next week.

“Prohibiting women from saying Kaddish is a shanda and brought on solely by the hegemony and short-sightedness” of the Western Wall’s rabbi, Shmuel Rabinowitz, said Anat Hoffman, Chair of Women of the Wall. Rabinowitz had “without a doubt, crossed a clear red line, as women’s right to say Kaddish is respected and accepted by the entire Jewish world, including Orthodox factions. It’s hard to determine why the police decided to interpret the ruling this way,” Bonna Devora Haberman, a founder of the group, said in an interview with The Times of Israel. “It’s a wrong interpretation.”

“Disturbance of public order was the reasoning of the court ruling,” added Haberman, but “the past 11 years have pretty much proven that isn’t true.” Even when the women wore phylacteries and prayer shawls, counter-protests did not deteriorate into violence.

The group has come together to hold regular monthly prayers at the Kotel for more than 20 years in an attempt to see changes implemented. Last month, three female MKs joined the group.


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