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Jul 23, 2013

Women of the Wall state to CNN what their real goal is

Rosh Chodesh is now less than two weeks away, and the monthly fight for and at the Kotel is getting into gear...

Now CNN is part of the playing field as well... CNN spoke to Women of the Wall about the issue, and a point was made that i do not think was made before, at least not so explicitly.

From CNN:
For 25 years, the organisation Women of the Wall, around 200 women, has been demanding equal rights at the Kotel.

The central goal of Women of the Wall is to achieve the social and legal recognition of their right as women to wear prayer shawls traditionally used by men and pray and read from Torah collectively and loud at the Western Wall.

Their main aim is to end separation between men and women at the Western Wall.

During the last few months the situation between Women of the Wall and ultra-Orthodox Jews as well as with police has escalated with confrontation and tumults at the Wall. Activists and ultra-Orthodox Jews have been temporarily arrested.

One of the most important achievements of modern Israel is the equality of women. This, however, has never materialized at the Western Wall.
In case you missed it, "their main aim is to end separation between men and women at the Western Wall". Not just to have a spot for egalitarian prayer, not just to achieve a sense of equality and that they can pray how they want - no, they want a complete end of the separation between men and women.

This fits with the theory that the Kotel is a heritage site and not a synagogue, but then perhaps they should not be using prayer services as their weapon and tactic. As long as they are fighting for equality in prayer, they are treating it like a synagogue, and there is less reason to consider the Kotel a Reform synagogue with no mechitza then an Orthodox synagogue with a mechitza.

I have little problem with their desire to pray as they wish - the Kotel does not belong to any one person or group and we live in a free society. Ignore them, let them do what they want on the one day a month they go to the Kotel and move on. If, however, they want not just an opportunity for themselves but to harm things for everyone else, by completely doing away with the separation between men and women, that is another story. On an issue like this, I do not believe they have a leg to stand on.

And if they think the fight opposing them has been bad until now, when the people realize what WoW is really trying to do, it is just going to get much worse...

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  1. ... or else the reporter just got it wrong.

    The paragraph before that is taken from WoW's own website:

    "As Women of the Wall, our central mission is to achieve the social and legal recognition of our right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall."

    AFAICT the paragraph about ending separation is the reporter's own paraphrase, and he simply misses the point.

    You miss the point as well when you talk about "a spot for egalitarian prayer". WoW aren't egalitarian, and never have been.

  2. I would agree that maybe CNN got it wrong, but Women of the Wall promoted it on their facebook page, and they did not offer a correction on that point

  3. The reporter got it right. From what I've seen on Facebook, the WOW Facebook page posted this article as a PR achievement, without any disclaimers about the content. So that would suggest they implicitly agree with the statement that that is their main aim. Furthermore, their chairwoman, Anat Hoffman, has stated that as her goal on a number of occasions, and the WOW organization elected her as their leader and representative to the public.

  4. They did say something on their facebook page, simply because they haven't said it as quickly as you might want means nothing. They are employed and have lives. They have reiterated time and time again that they do not want to take down the mechitza. Anat Hoffman did NOT say that was the goal of WOW. You are misstating what she said.


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