Jerusalem District Court Rules on Women of the Wall

Leaders of the Reform Movement issued a statement today about a recent ruling from the Jerusalem District Court that determined that recent detention of Women of the Wall members for their activities at the Western Wall was unjustified and for denying local police requests for restraining orders against the group. Haaretz has more on the ruling and its implications.

URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs said of the ruling,

We were especially pleased to hear the judge state that the Law of Holy Places, which gives visitors to the Kotel the opportunity to pray according to ‘local custom,’ does not mandate that these be Orthodox customs. We expect local authorities to respect the court’s decision and let non-Orthodox Jews pray at this holy site according to their own customs without fear of police detention or restraint.

Other Reform Jewish leaders echoed Rabbi Jacobs’ sentiments of encouragement. Said Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, executive director of Women of Reform Judaism,

Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) is optimistic about the court’s decision today to guarantee the right of women to worship freely at this most holy site. Having recently joined Women of the Wall for a Rosh Chodesh service, we were deeply troubled by the presence of police who were not there to protect, but rather to intimidate and detain. Jews all over the world recognize the significance of the Kotel and no one should have the power to disenfranchise others who pray differently than they do.

And Barbara Kavadias, acting director of ARZA:

ARZA is encouraged that the lower court ruling has been upheld by the district court. We hope the local police find this sufficient not to carry this appeal any higher. We believe this ruling enhances Natan Sharansky’s proposal to provide for egalitarian prayer at an expanded Kotel site and look forward to the day when all people are free to pray at the Kotel according to their own customs.”

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From the URJ

2 Responses to “Jerusalem District Court Rules on Women of the Wall”

  1. avatar
    Ronit Peskin- Women For The Wall Reply April 27, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Women of the Wall have a right to pray however they want. However, when there are certain standards set in a certain place, and yes, the fact that every day since the liberation of the Western Wall, and before 1948, the people who flocked to the Western Wall have been traditional men and women, who want to pray traditionally, makes a difference to what the standards are. When non traditional Jews are able to get daily numbers to the Western Wall in as great numbers as Orthodox Jews and Traditional jews, then maybe it might make sense for them to claim that they have an equal say. But its a very small movement, in comparison to huge amounts of people in Israel that are traditional or traditionally minded, and even if they’re not observant themselves, when they go to pray at the Western Wall or at any synagogue, they want it run by traditional standards. Why should a small group of American people, most of whom are here for one year, have the right to force their standards on Israelis when most secular Israelis aren’t even interested in the Kotel? And if the Women of the Wall wanted to simply pray in peace, and not cause a provocation, they could pray at Robinson’s Arch, a place with the same amount of holiness, just that won’t cause waves. A place of prayer shouldn’t be used as a place to push political agendas or stage protests- that’s what the courtroom is for. The Women of the Wall, regardless of what laws state is allowed or not, are being disrespectful of the vast majority of people who want things run traditionally at the Kotel. <– An organization dedicated to preserving tradition at the Western Wall and making it a pleasant place for women to pray.


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