Letters to the editor May 16
A historic day
Last Friday was a historic day at the Western Wall. It was the first test of Judge Sobel’s ruling allowing women to pray there in a manner they see fit without police harassment.
Despite strong opposition the ruling held and hundreds of women prayed with their tallitot, tefillin and in a strong full voice. The women who came out that day should be commended for their courage.
We entered the plaza to the sounds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox men screaming insults and throwing garbage. The difference this week was that instead of the police dragging women off in handcuffs they made a barrier of blue uniforms holding back a sea of men trying to fall upon us. The angry crowd could not drown out our songs or joy at this victory.
Friday was an important step forward in the process of making the Western Wall an inclusive home for all Jews. The court ruling, along with the Sharansky plan to create a third and equal section of the Western Wall for egalitarian prayer, is the correct formula for respecting the rights and feelings of all Jews. As I wrote last week, this process needs the support of us all.
(Editor’s note: The author is executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center.)