A video by Israeli feminist organization Women of the Wall reveals an Orthodox man ripping a prayer book to shreds in protest of women reading at the Western Wall and an American girl’s bat mitzvah.
Established in 1988, WOW gathers once a month at Rosh Hodesh to read from the Torah in protest of Orthodox rules that prevent women from praying at the Western Wall.
Today, they were joined by 13-year-old daughter Frannie Werner of Milwaukee who was celebrating her bat mitzvah at the wall.
According to WOW Chair Anat Hoffman, the group had to smuggle a second Torah scroll to the Wall after a first one was seized by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz at the entrance. Even though Orthodox protesters started jeering, spitting and ripping up the prayer book as they read, the police did not apprehend them.
“If he bans two Torah scrolls next month, we will bring 10,” she said. “You cannot stand in between women and our connection to the Torah.”
Destroying the printed materials that contain any of the Hebrew words for “God” is a taboo in Judaism. Most observant communities don’t even throw such materials away, instead storing them after they are no longer used, and then burying them.
Contact Veronika Bondarenko at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @veronikabond.