The Shmooze

Prayer at the Western Wall: A Weekday-Only Activity?

By Nathan Jeffay

  • Print
  • Share Share

The Western Wall was abnormally busy this afternoon. More people than on a usual Friday left their Sabbath preparations and braved the cool Jerusalem weather to head for the Wall. Why?

One reason is that today is a fast day, the Fast of Tevet, and people wanted to pray at the special afternoon service. But there’s another far more surprising explanation. Israel’s most revered Haredi rabbi, Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, had declared that going to the Western Wall should be a weekday-only activity because when the site’s security cameras film you, you become a Sabbath transgressor.

The ruling appeared in the Haredi daily newspaper Yated Ne’eman. As this newspaper is spearheading the campaign declaring the Internet is treif, we cannot provide a link.

Elyashiv’s declaration has been met with raised eyebrows in the modern-Orthodox community. Yisrael Rozen, head of the Tzomet Institute that develops halachically-compliant technology, has been quoted saying that “whoever wants to prohibit the Western Wall cameras will have to order religious people to stay away from yeshivas, hotels, banquet halls and public areas, all of which use online security cameras.”

There could be an unintended beneficiary of this ruling. In July, the Forward reported about the problems facing women who wish to pray publicly at the Western Wall. If it will tomorrow be lacking followers of Elyashiv — some of the more hard-line elements of Israeli Jewry — maybe it’s a rare opportunity for some undisturbed prayer by the group Women of the Wall.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Haredi, Jews, Sabbath, Western Wall, Yosef Shalom Elyashiv

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!
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • 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.