Women of Wall Make 16-Point Demand To Move Prayer to New Kotel Area

Insist on Right To Read From Torah

getty images

By JTA

Published October 28, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Women of the Wall presented the conditions under which the group would move its monthly prayer service to a third, egalitarian section of the Western Wall’s plaza.

The 16 conditions – which the group’s leadership presented Monday ahead of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – pertain to the section’s size, appearance, management, accessibility, budget and name. Together, they mandate that the new section be treated as equal to the existing Western Wall plaza.

Women of the Wall, which meets at the beginning of each Jewish month for a women’s prayer service at the Western Wall, announced earlier this month that it would drop its longstanding demand to hold its service in the wall’s women’s section, should its demands for the egalitarian section be fulfilled. Until then, the group said, it will continue meeting in the women’s section.

“This is not as simple as saying we’re leaving the women’s section and going somewhere else,” Women of the Wall spokesperson Shira Pruce told JTA. “We’re coming into this with our eyes open. We’re staying in the women’s section until the last condition has been met.”

The list presented Monday, though, is comprehensive and could take years to implement – should the government agree to it.

A group within Women of the Wall has objected, in recent weeks, to the possibility of moving the service to the third section – but these conditions could make the internal debate theoretical.

Some conditions accord with an outline for the third section presented in April by Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky, such as the demand that there be a unified entrance to all three of the plaza’s sections. Others are already in effect, such as the condition that the section be open, free of charge, 24 hours a day.

But others may prove harder to fulfill. The first condition states that the new section – which is currently a few stories lower than the existing plaza – be elevated to the same height and be adjacent to the wall itself.

Accomplishing that would require the approval of the Islamic Wakf, a body that controls the Temple Mount and that has thus far been resistant to physical changes to the site.

Several other conditions could spark political conflict. One condition demands that the authority of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which now administers the plaza, be restricted only to the existing men’s and women’s sections. A new body, with equal women’s representation and including Women of the Wall’s leadership, would run the remainder of the plaza, under the Women of the Wall’s conditions.

The group also demanded that it be allowed to bring a Torah scroll into the women’s section for its monthly service, which is now prohibited.

Pruce said that Women of the Wall would be negotiating with the government and suggested that the group could be flexible on some of the conditions.

“We aren’t going to argue over one centimeter here or there,” she said. “We’re going into negotiations, that’s a given, but every single condition is a part of a vision that creates equality.”

A joint plan for the wall’s new egalitarian section, formulated by Sharansky and Israeli Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit, is due out in the near future.


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!
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
  • From The Daily Show to Lizzy Caplan, here's your Who's Jew guide to the 2014 #Emmys. Who are you rooting for?
  • “People at archives like Yad Vashem used to consider genealogists old ladies in tennis shoes. But they have been impressed with our work on indexing documents. Now they are lining up to work with us." This year's Jewish Genealogical Societies conference took place in Utah. We got a behind-the-scenes look:
  • 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.