Boston Woman Detained Over Tallit at Western Wall

Police Question Her for Wearing Prayer Shawl 'Incorrectly'

courtesy of women of the wall

By Haaretz

Published June 21, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Jerusalem Police detained an American woman for nearly four hours on Thursday for wearing a tallit, or prayer shawl, “incorrectly” at the Western Wall.

Deb Houben, a native of Boston, was taken aside by police after concluding a prayer service celebrating the beginning of the Hebrew month with 65 other people from Women of the Wall, an organization that campaigns for the equal right to pray publicly at Judaism’s most holy site.

Many of the women participating in the service were also wearing prayer shawls, but Houben was detained for wearing hers “incorrectly” – meaning wrapped around her shoulders, rather than draped across her neck like a scarf.

Houben said that police officers approached her during the prayer session and told her to readjust the shawl, to which she complied. Following the prayer session, as the women made their way through security down to Robinson’s Arch to read from the Torah, she put the prayer shawl back around her shoulders, at which point police pulled her back through the security gate and detained her for disturbing the peace.

“I was wearing it incorrectly. I was wearing my tallit like a tallit, not like a scarf,” said Houben. At no point was she told to remove the shawl completely, she said.

For more, go to Haaretz.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.