Women of the Wall Reject New Western Wall Prayer Site as 'Sunbathing Deck’

Activists Reject Naftali Bennett 'Historic' Plan at Kotel

haaretz

By Yair Ettinger (Haaretz)

Published August 25, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Religious Services Minister Naftali Bennett hailed Sunday’s completion of a large platform for non-Orthodox prayer at the southernmost portion of the Western Wall as a history-making event.

But the Women of the Wall, who have led the fight for non-Orthodox prayer at the Kotel, derided the new platform as “a sunbathing deck that overlooks the Western Wall from a distance.”

The 450-square-meter project stands in the archeological park in the area known as the Robinson’s Arch compound. Built at Bennett’s behest, it will enable non-Orthodox prayer services to take place 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It will have its own ark with Torah scrolls and prayer books.

The State of Israel, Bennett said, would be “making history” by opening, under its auspices, a compound for mixed and egalitarian prayer services at the southern wall. Since 1998 there has been a prayer area at Robinson’s Arch that was basically run by the Masorti (Conservative) Movement, but it was small and open for only limited hours.

But something else that had been expected Sunday did not happen: The committee headed by Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit did not present its expected recommendations for a comprehensive solution for prayer at the Kotel, given the complex challenges posed by the demands of the Women of the Wall, a group that is demanding the right to pray in its fashion – singing out loud while wearing prayer shawls and tefillin – at the Western Wall itself.

The Women of the Wall strongly denounced any attempt to mix up the two issues, reiterating that its struggle was to be allowed to pray in the main women’s section of the Kotel, not off to the side.

Read more at 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!
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • 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.