By Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman
Before we are overwhelmed by Passover preparations, I wanted to share a description of a unique Purim celebration here in Jerusalem. We have been struggling with increasing attempts of the Ultra-Orthodox to ban women from the public sphere (ha-adarat nashim in Hebrew). Women members of Kol HaNeshama helped organize a women’s megillah reading in Zion square. The reading was held a day before the traditional reading of the megillah (in Jerusalem we read it a day after the rest of the Jewish world on Shushan Purim). About a hundred people attended (men were invited to come dressed as women).
The women who read from the megillah included representatives of all the Jerusalem Reform congregations and the Israel Religious Action Center. Most impressive were the young adults who read – despite the difficult surroundings. No doubt it made an impression on the hundreds of passers-by who cheered on the readers (for all it was a first for them to hear women chanting from the megillah). It might be considered setting the bar low – but the event was considered a success, especially since no one was arrested or attacked. We hope to make this an annual event.
Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman is the rabbi at Kol HaNeshama in Jerusalem. He is pictured above (on the right) with Rabbi Stanley Davids, immediate Past President of ARZA.