By Larry Gordon
It looked like it was yom tov—a holiday at the Kotel this morning. What a vivacious and overflowing crowd that poured into the Kotel plaza. And they weren’t even Muslims ascending from various directions for traditional Friday prayers as a way of demonstrating their objections to the freedoms that Israel offers all people to express with unobstructed and unfettered access to Jerusalem’s holy sites.
No, today’s unusual gathering—mostly by emptying the girls Yeshivas in Jerusalem—was to protest the monthly prayer gathering of the new fabricated heroes of a rag tag group now known as Women of the Wall.
Of course women have been davening and praying at the Kotel as long as men have been doing so. But this group—as you may know—wants to achieve the sound and look of the way men pray at the Wall. They want to assemble in a minyan, wear a talis, some want to wear tefilin and they want to read from a sefer Torah. Halachic authorities have said that while none of this a genuine violation of Jewish law, they still object to the attempt to blur the healthy distinction that exists between men and women under these laws and tradition.
And yes, the policy to arrest and detain women who pray in this fashion and to set them apart from other groups davening at the Kotel is what brought the protesters out en masse to protest. Fortunately these gatherings are only planned monthly on Rosh Chodosh and by next month everyone so enraged by these events will get busy with either something more important or the next big protest—-whatever that might be..
For now anyway, the huge demonstration against the women is giving them precisely that which they seek—international attention. So let them be and watch them go away.