Western Wall prayer event gathers thousands of Orthodox women and seminary girls

(JNS.org) Between 5,000 and 7,000 Orthodox women and seminary girls turned out to at the Western Wall on Monday morning for a prayer event in response to the monthly prayer service held by controversial prayer-rights activist group Women of the Wall.

A Women of the Wall prayer service. Credit: Women of the Wall.

Approximately 250-300 people showed up to participate in Monday’s prayer service of Women of the Wall, which seeks egalitarian prayer practices in the women's section at the Western Wall—including permission for women to wear a tallit and tefilin, and to read from the Torah, all practices women do not perform under Orthodox tradition.

The Women for the Wall group, which seeks to preserve the "traditional sanctity of the Western Wall" and to "make sure that when women come to pray at the Western Wall, the experience should be as profoundly meaningful as possible," organized Monday's appearance of the Orthodox women and seminary girls.

United Torah Judaism, an Orthodox political party in Israel, helped with logistics for Women for the Wall's prayer event. Meanwhile, a much smaller group of under 100 Orthodox men stood nearby, according to Women for the Wall.

The Associated Press reported that Women of the Wall accused the Israeli police of cooperating with the Orthodox protesters. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, however, denied that allegation and said the police were protecting the women’s group. The police arrested three Orthodox male protestors for public disturbance.

Editor's note: The original version of this story contained several errors:

- It stated that Women of the Wall seeks to end gender separation at the Western Wall. Instead, the group seeks egalitarian prayer in the site's women's section.

- It stated that United Torah Judaism organized an event to "prevent" Women of the Wall's monthly service. Instead, Women for the Wall organized a "prayer event" in response to Women of the Wall's service, not to prevent it, and United Torah Judaism helped with logistics. 

- It stated that  1,000 Orthodox men stood nearby. Instead, under 100 men where there, according to Women for the Wall.

- It stated that between 5,000 and 7,000 seminary girls were there. Instead, both women and seminary girls were part of that group.

JNS.org regrets the errors 


Posted on July 8, 2013 .