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Orthodox Rabbi to Michael Oren: Arrest of Woman in Tallit 'Offensive and Dangerous'

Following the recent arrest at the Western Wall of a woman wearing a Jewish prayer shawl, or tallit, a prominent American Modern Orthodox rabbi has requested that Israel’s U.S. Ambassador Michael Oren meet with “a rabbinic delegation of American Orthodox rabbis who strongly support the right of women to wear a tallit and tzitzit.”

In a letter to Oren, penned this morning, Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, the spiritual leader of Ohev Sholom National Synagogue in Washington, D.C., called the arrest Monday of Nofrat Frenkel “offensive and dangerous,” adding: “You are ceding the Temple Mount and its holiness to a group of fundamentalist and exclusionary Jews who increasingly do not share that prophetic vision.”

An adapted version of the letter — it can be read in full, below — was published on former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum’s Web site FrumForum.

“If a Jew had been arrested for wearing a prayer shawl in any other country in the world, there would be outrage,” Herzfeld told The Sisterhood. “Just because it’s the state of Israel doing it doesn’t make it acceptable. It’s not coming from antisemitism, but it’s still religious persecution.”

Herzfeld’s letter, in its entirety:

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