Sisterhood Blog

'Brazen' Women of the Wall Arrested, Charges Dismissed

By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

  • Print
  • Share Share
Judge Sharon Larry-Bavly

The five women arrested at the Kotel Thursday morning while participating in a Rosh Chodesh prayer service with Women of the Wall were released by the judge before whom they appeared in a Jerusalem court in a move described by the women’s prayer group as “groundbreaking precedent.”

About 300 women, including two members of the Knesset, participated in the Rosh Chodesh service with Women of the Wall. About 50 wore prayer shawls, according to a press release from the group. It was the first time that singing out loud was listed by police as among the reasons they detained Women of the Wall service participants.

According to this English translation of the court proceeding’s transcript, the attorney representing the police described the women as “brazenly stomping on the law” and “carrying out provocations” at the Kotel.

In court, the attorney representing the police faulted Women of the Wall for causing problems: “Each month and up until the present time, the prayer services have become more and more tense, and more and more publicly defiant, and the women arrive from the outset wrapped in tallitot and wearing tefillin on their arms, with the objective of creating a fait accompli. This causes a disturbance of the peace at the Western Wall, as well as incitement.”

He asked that the court “order a targeted removal,” requiring women not to go to the Kotel for the next three Rosh Chodesh prayer services.

Judge Sharon Larry-Bavly released the women, saying, “I find that there is no basis for the arrest of the Respondents. The disturbance of the peace that has occurred at the Western Wall, to the extent that it took place, was not a disturbance of the peace on the part of the Respondents.”

The defendants were Women of the Wall Director Leslie Sachs, Bonny Riva Ras, Valerie Stessin, Sylvie Rozenbaum and Sharona Kramer.

The judge said that Women of the Wall prayer service participants approached another female worshiper who carried an umbrella featuring “defamatory slogans directed against Women of the Wall,” according to the transcript. “Under these circumstances, it was not Women of the Wall who initiated the provocation.”

Meanwhile, according to Arutz Sheva, which calls Women of the Wall “a fringe group,” Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the arbiter of religious customs at the Kotel, put out a call to “uproot the divisive Women of the Wall.” Rabinowitz said that the group has but one purpose, “the fan the flames of hatred and divisiveness among Jews.”

Earlier this week, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky met with leaders of Jewish organizations in New York and told journalists that he plans to recommend more than doubling the size of the Kotel plaza to include area by Robinson’s Arch — which is currently an archeological site — dedicated to egalitarian prayer.

The Kotel’s Rabbi Rabinowitz said in a statement, according to Arutz Sheva, “shows that their entire purpose is to sow dissent and to injure the feelings of other Jews, while further dividing the Jewish nation and turning the Kotel into a battlefield for fanatics on both sides.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.