Western Wall Rabbi Now Opposes Egalitarian Prayer Plan by the Forward

Western Wall Rabbi Now Opposes Egalitarian Prayer Plan

The Western Wall rabbi withdrew his support for a deal establishing a separate egalitarian prayer section at the holy site.

Shmuel Rabinowitz in a letter Monday urged ultra-Orthodox party leaders to introduce legislation to cancel the Jan. 31 deal and a 2013 district court ruling allowing the Women of the Wall group to pray in the main Orthodox section of the wall, Haaretz reported.

“I call upon you to act with the same determination to stop the holy site desecration at the Western Wall, whose spiritual damage is beyond imagination,” he wrote, according to Haaretz.

“For years I have stood alone in the struggle” against modern streams of Judaism, including Women of the Wall, seeking prayer rights at the site, Haaretz reported Rabinowitz writing. Women of the Wall have “now gone too far, they are seeking to tear down the wall and the people of Israel into bits and pieces.”

The deal expands the Wester Wall’s existing non-Orthodox prayer section and creates a shared entrance with the Orthodox main section to its north. Women of the Wall, which holds women’s services in the Orthodox section, is to eventually move to the non-Orthodox section as part of the deal — which is backed by the Reform and Conservative movements, the Israeli government and the wall’s haredi management.

Israel’s chief rabbis, Yitzhak Yosef and David Lau, oppose the deal, as does Religious Services Minister David Azoulay, who has called Reform Jews “a disaster for the people of Israel.”

Also Monday, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri told Channel 2 that his Shas party would not sit in a government that recognizes the Reform movement.

This story "Western Wall Rabbi Now Opposes Egalitarian Prayer Plan" was written by JTA.


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

Western Wall Rabbi Now Opposes Egalitarian Prayer Plan

Thank you!

This article has been sent!