Sunday, June 09, 2013

In Israel, Women of the Wall Pray Without Interference Under Police Protection

Haaretz reports that this morning in Israel police enforced a Jerusalem district court order allowing "Women of the Wall" to pray in the main section of the Western Wall wearing prayer shawls and tefillin (phylacteries).  In the past, police enforced rules created by Orthodox Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall, which barred women from wearing religious garb that in more traditional circles is worn only by men. (See prior posting.) But today the women prayed without interference.  The tens of thousands of Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) demonstrators who were supposed to show up to protest never materialized.  Only 200 unorganized demonstrators were present. Today's events lessen the pressure to implement a compromise plan developed by Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky to build a new third area at the Wall for egalitarian prayer.

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