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An Egalitarian Section at the Western Wall?

Looking at Natan Sharansky’s proposal

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After months of increasingly newsworthy happenings, the thorny issue of gender equality and prayer at the Western Wall has reached a new plateau.

Just days after Jerusalem’s police commissioner warned the women’s rights advocacy group Women of the Wall that they shouldn’t say Kaddish at the Wall–an edict rebuffed by Natan Sharansky who heads the Jewish Agency–Sharansky put forth a new recommendation today that will no doubt fuel more controversy: an egalitarian section for prayer at the Kotel.

Over at the Forward, Jane Eisner explains:

If implemented, the proposal, a product of months of deliberation, would mark a dramatic acknowledgement by the state of Israel that prayer at the Wall — regarded as Judaism’s holiest site and a modern-day symbol of national sovereignty — should include non-Orthodox practice in which men and women pray together. But it is uncertain whether the proposal will satisfy Women of the Wall, who for years have tried to hold full prayer services in the women’s only section and may see this compromise as a betrayal of their mission.

Women of the Wall chief Anat Hoffman has signed off on the proposal–not without reservations–but will it be adopted?

Earlier: Police: Women Can’t Say Kaddish at the Kotel
Women of the Wall’s Anat Hoffman Supports Plan for Egalitarian Kotel

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But there is already an egalitarian section of the wall. It’s at Robinson’s Arch.

    gemel says:

    Off to the side but not at the Wall “proper” where all others are.

      There is no ‘proper’ part of the Wall, it’s all part of the Wall.

      And look, if there’s going to be an issue of who can pray and where, then let’s follow the Women of the Wall up to the Temple Mount and pray there.

        gemel says:

        OK, up to Temple Mount – and what do you think the Muslims will do?
        Any Jews are not “allowed” to pray there as far as I know – please correct me if I am wrong.

          You’re not wrong and that was my point.

          Everyone’s making a huge issue out of which part of the wall women can pray at, yet everyone’s silent over the idea of Jews actually going up to and even (GASP!) praying on the Temple Mount – because of the idea that it would set off violence by the Muslims.

    This solution is basically extending the area considered to be part of the Wall down to Robinson’s arch, making it available all the time like the rest of the Wall, and no longer charging admission to it as they currently do.

      There is no ‘considering part of the wall’, Robinson’s Arch IS part of the Wall. And if you actually take a closer look, all 4 of the retaining walls from the Second Temple still exist. There is a North, South, and Eastern wall to help prop up the Western Wall.

      In addition, the “Western Wall” tourist-photo section is just that, a small section of a much, not even larger, but Huger wall. The Wall goes down for another 60+ feet and extends from the corner By Robinson’s Arch all the way into the Muslim Quarter.

      There is so much “Wall” that the idea that the argument that this little spot “must” be the place seems somewhat disingenuous.

      If anything, I would push for the mechitza to be pushed back to the old position closer to the Israeli flag.


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An Egalitarian Section at the Western Wall?

Looking at Natan Sharansky’s proposal

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