Skip To Content

What Are The ‘Women Of The Wall’ Haters So Afraid Of?

Women are used to being silenced. Women are used to having their ideas belittled and their success made to seem unimportant. Today I went to the Kotel to join Women of the Wall — whose only goal was to make our voices heard—in prayer, at the holiest site in modern Judaism. I joined a service of several dozen women, many of whom wore tallit and tefillin, and we davened the Rosh Chodesh service for no purpose other than to assert that women, too, have a right to practice Judaism.

In response, thousands of Orthodox girls were brought in from high schools across Jerusalem to protest our prayer. Several told me I am not a Jew. The men’s section pointed a loudspeaker at our group to magnify their voices, even though that is explicitly outlawed at the Kotel. Several women blew whistles furiously to try to drown out our voices. One sign, waved by Orthodox women, said: “We are the true women of the Wall. You are the destroyers of the Wall.” I feared leaving because hundreds of Orthodox men gathered at the entrance to our section, spitting and shouting and prepared to trip or push any of us on our way out. Thankfully, police stopped them, but usually they don’t.

The hatred directed by some Jews toward other Jews was astounding and heartbreaking and simply sad. But our voices were heard. That’s why so many people tried so hard to drown us out. I don’t know what they’re so afraid of.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.