Women of the Wall Hold Monthly Prayer at Kotel Without Torah Scroll
About 200 Women of the Wall held their monthly morning service at the Western Wall, but were refused permission to bring their own Torah scroll to the plaza.
The women marked the new Jewish month of Shevat with their Rosh Chodesh service on Jan. 2.
Unlike in past months, there were few protests against the women’s service. Thousands of Orthodox girls had turned out in past months to demonstrate against the group and block it from the women’s section, but this was not the case on Thursday.
The service was delayed while women waited at the Western Wall security entrance in order to receive permission to bring in their own Torah scroll, the organization said in a statement. As it was last month, that request was denied. The women’s request to use one of the dozens of Torah scrolls housed at the Western Wall for public use also was denied, the group said.
Several leaders of Women of the Wall remained outside the Western Wall plaza holding the Torah scroll while the prayer service took place in the women’s section of the plaza.
The group has met for a women’s prayer service at the wall at the beginning of each Jewish month for the past quarter-century.
The Israeli government has been working to end the conflict at the wall. Under a compromise solution penned by Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky, there would be a significant expansion of an area to the south of the Western Wall plaza called Robinson’s Arch that is now used for non-Orthodox prayer.
After backing away from the plan, Women of the Wall endorsed it in October, agreeing to move to the new section should a list of conditions be fulfilled.