Beliefs Culture Ethics

Jewish girls want to read from the Torah at the Western Wall, new bus ads proclaim

Women of the Wall launched on Oct. 12, 2014 a public bus ad campaign promoting bat mitzvahs at the Western Wall. The Orthodox body that runs activities at the wall says girls cannot read from the Torah, and therefore cannot have a bat mitzvah there. Photo courtesy of Women of the Wall

JERUSALEM (RNS) A new bus ad campaign promoting the right of girls to celebrate their bat mitzvah at the Western Wall is the latest push by the feminist group Women of the Wall to prod Israel’s Orthodox religious establishment to expand opportunities for women at one of Judaism’s most sacred sites.

As it stands now, bar mitzvah boys are encouraged to read from the Torah at the Western Wall, but the state-supported Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which is run by Israel’s Orthodox establishment, prohibits girls and women from doing so.

The women’s group, which in 2013 won a Jerusalem District Court case permitting women at the wall to wear prayer shawls and phylacteries — ritual items historically used by men — has been trying for more than 25 years to pray at the site with a Torah, undisturbed by hecklers and the threat of arrest.

Women of the Wall launch public bus ad campaign promoting bat mitzvahs at the Western Wall. The Orthodox body that runs activities at the wall says girls cannot read from the Torah, and therefore cannot have a bat mitzvah there. Photo courtesy of Women of the Wall

Women of the Wall launched on Oct. 12, 2014 a public bus ad campaign promoting bat mitzvahs at the Western Wall. The Orthodox body that runs activities at the wall says girls cannot read from the Torah, and therefore cannot have a bat mitzvah there. Photo courtesy of Women of the Wall

The ad campaign, the first of its kind, features Israeli girls wearing a prayer shawl and holding a Torah scroll in front of the Western Wall. The ads say, “Mom, I, too, want a bat mitzvah at the Western Wall” and “Now it is my turn.”

Among the girls featured is Ashira Abramowitz-Silverman, the niece of U.S. comedian Sarah Silverman. The girl’s parents — Yosef Abramowitz and Rabbi Susan Silverman — are activists.

The ads were posted Sunday (Oct. 12) on public buses following last week’s High Court decision against the state and the Egged bus company, which two years ago refused to put ads featuring women on its buses out of fears they would be vandalized by ultra-Orthodox extremists.

Acknowledging the potential for vandalism, Lesley Sachs, director of Women of the Wall, called the 11- to 14-year-old girls featured on the buses “brave” for appearing in the ads.

At the launch, the organization said the foundation is placing unnecessary restrictions on women’s prayer.

“To deny any Jew access to a Torah scroll, as has been done so many times before throughout Jewish history, is an affront to religious freedom. To refuse women access to Torah has no basis in halakhah (Jewish law) and has no place in a public site in a democratic state,” the group said in a statement.

But Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, who heads the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, gave no indication it would budge.

“Every stream of Judaism, he said, “thinks that only its way is correct,” he said. “My job, and it’s a difficult one, is to maintain the status quo.”

In a further activist push the group announced it is planning the “first Torah reading from a Torah scroll” in the women’s section on October 24.

YS/AMB END CHABIN

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Michele Chabin

18 Comments

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  • .

    Less at the thought of female circumcision but by the level of boneheaded idiocy required to make that statement.

    Facepalming just does not do the reaction justice. So I leave you with these links.

    http://bgilchrist.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/godzilla-facepalm-godzilla-facepalm-face-palm-epic-fail-demotivational-poster-1245384435.jpg

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-teipCrUZGUE/TVVSpWTJkkI/AAAAAAAAAck/-KFX5QdnD9M/s1600/Epic_Facepalm_by_RJTH%5B1%5D.jpg#facepalm

  • GOD HATES WOMEN COMPLETELY

    JEWISH MORNING BLESSINGS
    ‘A PRAYER ONLY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE A PENIS’

    “Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe,
    who has not made me a woman.”
    — Morning Blessings, Artscroll Siddur, p. 12.

    Religion is depravity.

  • GOD HATES WOMEN SO MUCH
    THAT IF A MAN BEGINS TO RESEMBLE THEM
    BY LOSING HIS PENIS
    HE IS NOT WELCOME IN SYNAGOGUE OR CHURCHES:

    “He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his penis cut off, shall not
    enter into the congregation of the Lord.”
    (Deuteronomy 23:1)

  • I, a man, was at the Wailing Wall in 1999 and our tour group divided into a male and female groups and the women went to the female area at right end and we guys went to entrance to the male area at the left end. I didn’t realize women were not praying. At the male end, there were so many chanting and praying that it was difficult to get to the wall itself. I had prayers on a slip of paper that I pressed into one of the cracks in the wall. I suppose that is allowed on the women’s side.

  • Max’s pointless and ill considered diatribe aside, I would suggest there is no biblical warrant (including the Torah) to prevent women from praying at the Western Wall. However, pray is not dependent on geographic positioning to be effective, so the question is kind of moot.

  • @Diog,

    “pray is not dependent on geographic positioning to be effective, so the question is kind of moot.”

    Separate but equal? Then why be separate?
    Oh yeah, because Men and Women are not equal.

    “Women are disgusting and worthless” – Yahweh.

    A wife is a man’s property:
    You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:17)

    Daughters can be bought and sold:
    “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do.” (Exodus 21:7)

    A raped daughter can be sold to her rapist:
    “28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.”
    (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)

    Collecting wives and sex slaves is a sign of status:
    “He [Solomon] had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.” (1 Kings 11:3)

    Used brides deserve death:
    ” If, however the charge is true and no proof of the girl’s virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.”
    (Deuteronomy 22:20-21).

    Women, but only virgins, are to be taken as spoils of war:
    “Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.”
    (Numbers 31:17-18)

    Menstruating women are spiritually unclean:
    ““‘When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening. 20 “‘Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean. 21 Anyone who touches her bed will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. 22 Anyone who touches anything she sits on will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, . . . 30 The priest is to sacrifice one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. In this way he will make atonement for her before the LORD for the uncleanness of her discharge. 31 “‘You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place,[a] which is among them.’”
    (Leviticus 15: 19-31)

    Women should be seen not heard:
    “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.”
    (1 Corinthians 14:34)

    Wives should submit to their husband’s instructions and desires:
    “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.” (Colossians 3:18)

    Women must submit if they want Heaven:
    “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
    ( Ephesians 5:22-24)

    Women were created for men:
    “For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.”
    ( 1 Corinthians 11:2-10)

    Sleeping with women is dirty:
    “No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as first-fruits to God and the Lamb.” (Revelation 14:3-4)

    I point this out because
    God’s hatred of women is a transparently man-made enterprise.
    And it is transparently MALE MADE.

    God is OBVIOUSLY man-made.
    God is an immoral, primitive creation of illiterate ancient bigots.
    And the consequences of following this monster’s rules – is inhuman!

  • @Diog,

    “Max’s pointless and ill considered diatribe…”

    Not at all.
    Women must finally come to fully realize the abuse they suffer thanks to Yahweh; The Abrahamic God of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

    These are profound, relentless miseries visited upon women at the DIRECTION of a man-made PHANTOM.

  • It’s ironic that you chose this particular prayer because it’s exactly what the article is about: a male-dominated and -centered rabbinate.

  • God only listens to Christian prayers …prayers of there men women and children .

    These are just a few verses that tell us this..
    John 9:41
    Mathew 6:7
    JAMES 4;3

  • Just ignore all the atheists , they are just

    Satan’s concubines..

    They even wrongly on purpose use scripture as Satan did .. ..

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