|October 10, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Women of the Wall Demands Answers as to the Legality of the New Western Wall Regulation
Jerusalem, Israel- On September 21, 2010 a letter was sent to Rabbi of Holy Sites Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz from the attorney representing Women of the Wall, Adv Nira Azriel, with questions regarding the legality of a new regulation he recently passed banning worshippers from bring in outside Torahs into the Western Wall. Women of the Wall is claiming that the change in the custom of the holy site is illegal.
Azrieli asserts that in the Supreme Court ruling regarding Women of the Wall there is no mention or reference to restrictions on holding the Torah, or bringing the Torah into the Western Wall Plaza despite the July Arrest of Anat Hoffman while carrying a Torah there. For 21 years Women of the Wall have been bringing the Torah into the women's section of the wall and held it, covered without opening it, while praying the morning prayer, and then carrying it to Robinson’s Arch (an area outside of the ultra-Orthodox controlled Western Wall Plaza) for the Torah service. Women of the Wall are demanding that the new regulation be repealed and that Women of the Wall be allowed to continue to carry the Torah as they had been doing peacefully under the previous regulations and in accordance to the Supreme Court ruling.
Rabbi Rabinowitz responded in a letter on October 6, 2010 saying that his new regulation stands to reason, because there is no reason to bring Torahs into the Western Wall, even for a Bar Mitzvah, since there are 100 Torahs there, which provide an ample response to the needs of all worshipers at any time.
In response to Rabinowitz’s letter, Women of the Wall Chair Anat Hoffman said, "The 100 Torahs in the men's section of the Western Wall might indeed be adequate for public use, but it is clear he does not consider women as part of the public since women have no access to any of the Torahs in the men's section.” Hoffman adds that Women of the Wall will hold a vigil with the Torah that has been banned outside the Western Wall gates at the beginning of every new month of the Hebrew Calendar, until this new illegal regulation has been repealed. This past Friday, October 8, 2010 three women held a vigil outside of the Western Wall gates, including Women of the Wall board members who have prayed there for 21 years with this Torah.
Women of the Wall is a group of Jewish women from around the world who strive to achieve the right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem. The Western Wall is Judaism’s most sacred holy site and the principal symbol of Jewish people-hood and sovereignty and Women of the Wall works to make it a holy site where women can pray freely.
For more information, contact: