American Jews Launch Protests for Women's Right To Pray at Western Wall

Support Monthly Women of the Wall Prayer in Jerusalem

Gimme Prayer: Demonstrators outside the Israeli embassy in Washington backed women’s right to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
nathan guttman
Gimme Prayer: Demonstrators outside the Israeli embassy in Washington backed women’s right to pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

By Nathan Guttman

Published March 12, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

The struggle over the right of women to pray as they wish at the Western Wall has reached the U.S. as American Jews on Monday kicked a nationwide series of protests over the emotive issue.

More than 100 protesters gathered Monday evening outside the Israeli embassy in Washington to show solidarity with the Women of the Wall, which holds monthly civil disobedience protests at the kotel over restrictions on women’s prayer.

WATCH the Forward’s video story about the Women of the Wall support rallies.

It is not every day that Jewish activists openly protest the Israeli embassy and organizers sought to make clear they did not seek a fight with the state of Israel.

“We’re actually not protesting Israel — we’re all supporters of Israel,” said Judith Gelman, chair of Ameinu, a liberal Jewish group, and one of the organizers of the Washington event. “What we’re fighting for … is the rights of Israelis to celebrate Judaism in a pluralistic way.”

“It isn’t really a protest, it is a show of solidarity with a specific group of people in Israel,” she added.

Participants included members of local synagogues, activists with the New Israel Fund and from other Jewish organizations that had taken a stand in support of women’s right to pray at the Wall.

On Tuesday, rallies were planned in support of the Women of the Wall in New York’s Union Square and outside the Israeli consulate in San Francisco.

The protests could be significantly more antagonistic in Jerusalem, where ultra-Orthodox residents have called for mass protests against this month’s prayer session.

Billboard signs posted in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem called on residents to “save” the wall from desecration by the women seeking to pray wearing a talit, the traditional Jewish prayer shawl.


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!
  • 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:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • 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.