IRAC Executive Director Anat Hoffman encourages supporters to sign the petition asking him to push for equality at the Western Wall.
It finally happened.
After a 26-year struggle, Women of the Wall read from a full size Torah scroll in the women’s section of the Kotel.
Last Monday at seven in the morning I arrived together with 133 women and 50 men at the Western Wall plaza. We stood on both sides of the Kotel’s gender partition. At just the right moment, we went to a small, unlocked gate in the partition, opened it, and brought in one of the Torah scrolls from the men’s section.
We hugged the Torah. We danced with it. We prayed with it. We read from it. We uncovered new meaning in the words “For from Zion the Torah comes forth.”
Meanwhile, two men who helped us were accosted by employees of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the governmental body in charge of managing the Kotel, whose authority and leadership IRAC has been challenging for years. Charlie Kalech and Alden Solovy were attacked and injured. Charlie was detained, interrogated, accused of “disturbing the public order” and banned from the Kotel for 15 days.
There are 100 Torah scrolls in the men’s section of the Kotel for the public’s use, but women were never considered part of the public by the Kotel’s rabbi, Shmuel Rabinovitch, who announced that he would fast for 24 hours to atone for our “desecration” of the Torah, and that the very scroll we read from would somehow have to be ritually “cleansed” of our touch.
In 2013, the head of IRAC’s legal department represented WOW in the case that lead to the historic ruling by Judge Sobel that WOW’s monthly prayer services at the Kotel are legal.
IRAC, with the support and involvement of allies in Israel and around the world, will continue the struggle for a Kotel where Israeli families will be able to pray together as a family, a Kotel where egalitarian services can be held proudly, instead of hidden out of view from the Western Wall Plaza.
Sign our petition to Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency. Ask him, as the “Prime Minister of the Jewish People,” to use his influence to push for equality at the Western Wall and to do everything in his power to ensure that the Kotel becomes a place of worship for Jews of all denominations, and for men and women alike.