Western Wall Rabbi Blasts Women's Protests

Shmuel Rabinowitz Insists Holy Site Is For All Jews

For All? Deb Houben of Boston is bundled away by police for wearing a prayer shawl ‘incorrectly’ at Western Wall last summer.
For All? Deb Houben of Boston is bundled away by police for wearing a prayer shawl ‘incorrectly’ at Western Wall last summer.

By JTA

Published November 02, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Western Wall is for all Jews, the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, said even as he blasted women’s protests there as ‘provocations.’

“The Western Wall is the place of prayer for every individual in the nation, and as such, it must carefully safeguard the individual’s right to privacy and respect during the precious moments of prayer. The secret of the Western Wall is the secret of diminution which demands that each one of us minimize the traditions in which we differ and focus on what is common and which unifies us,” Rabinowitz said in a statement released Thursday.

The statement came in response to the arrest last month of Anat Hoffman for leading more than 200 women in the Shema prayer in the back of the women’s section at the Western Wall. Jewish groups have called for a police investigation into the arrest and changes in the decision-making process on policies at the holy site to include non-Orthodox Jews.

Rabinowitz decried the incident, saying: “The prayer of thousands of people who came to the Western Wall from afar was disturbed by illegal demonstrations, provocation, and arrests that were meant as a show for the media.”

He added that “the organization of the Women of the Wall and the entire Reform movement are the only Jewish stream who received from the State of Israel its own private area for prayers at the Western Wall, at an investment of $2 million of taxpayers’ money. All the other tens of streams and sub-streams in the Jewish nation crowd together in the Western Wall Plaza in peace and brotherhood, with mutual respect, and not one of them complains ‘this place is too small.’”

“This is the one place, perhaps the last, where we are all united as Jews. It would be terrible if here too we emphasize the differences among us. As the rabbi of the Western Wall, it is my job and my obligation to make sure this does not happen,” the rabbi wrote.


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!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • 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.