Orthodox Jews dance at Western Wall.

Orthodox Hold Divided Service in Push To ‘Sabotage’ Western Wall Prayer Deal

In what is believed to be a first, Orthodox Jews temporarily took over the space at the Western Wall that has been designated for non-Orthodox prayer services.

A mechitzah — a physical divider separating men and women — was set up at the southern section of the Western Wall on Tuesday for a service led by Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Haaretz reported. Amar is the former chief Sephardic rabbi of Israel.

“This is an intentional sabotage of relations between Israel and world Jewry,” Yizhar Hess, executive director of the Conservative movement in Israel, told Haaretz.

The Orthodox prayer service in the egalitarian area comes as liberal Jews are voicing frustration that plans for an expanded prayer space promised in January — and vehemently opposed by the Chief Rabbinate and numerous haredi Orthodox leaders — have yet to move forward. In addition, a new law moving through the Knesset would allow state-funded mikvahs, or ritual baths, to prohibit their spaces from being used for Reform and Conservative conversions.

Earlier this month, Amar said the new mixed-gender plaza at the Western Wall would constitute an “unforgivable wrong” that will “weaken Jerusalem” and the Jewish people.

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires 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 and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. 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 Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Orthodox Hold Divided Service in Push To ‘Sabotage’ Western Wall Prayer Deal

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close