Women At The Western Wall

January 11, 2013

For unknown reasons, articles on women at the Western Wall (“Women at the Western Wall,” online only, Dec. 31) overlook a fact on the ground. The Israeli Supreme Court approved an arrangement whereby there are two sections of the Western Wall. The Western Wall Plaza follows minhag Jerusalem, which is Orthodox, while Robinson’s Arch is specifically set aside for Conservative and Reform services. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that non-Orthodox practices such as women wearing tefillin or wrapping themselves in men’s tallesios are unlawful at the Western Wall Plaza. Conservative and Reform groups are free to develop Robinson’s Arch into a 24/7 Western Wall synagogue/temple for their supporters, but women at the Wall prefer the media coverage they
get by breaking the law at the Western Wall Plaza.

The objection to a woman wearing a specifically male tallis is Deuteronomy 22.5: “A woman shall not wear what pertains to a man, and neither shall a man wear a women’s garments, for whosoever does so is an abomination to the Lord your God.”Throughout the Jewish world there are separate sites for traditional and progressive Jewish services and the Western Wall is no different. Israel’s Supreme Court has studied the matter and gave its ruling.

Joseph Feld
United Kingdom

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