UPDATE: One Arrested as ‘Women of the Wall’ Daven at the Kosel

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arrest8.jpg[UPDATE BELOW] The Women of the Wall organization was present at the Kosel on Wednesday morning, as is its custom monthly to mark the event, rosh chodesh. One woman was arrested, Nofat Frankel, who identifies herself as a member of the Conservative Movement.

Frankel explains she was questioned by police for 30 minutes and released. She feels the time has come to implement change in our modern society, adding she regularly davens at home with a tallis, and there is no reason that she and her colleagues must be prevented from doing so at the Kosel. She insists that this is her right and responsibility as a torah observant Jew.

She explains that the 2003 Supreme Court ruling banning the women to Robinson’s Arch is not acceptable, insisting her presence is not an attempt at provocation, but simply her religious right and the right of the other women who wish to wear tallis and tefillin and daven to Hashem. She added that there are also “Orthodox communities” that permit women to wear a tallis today, questioning why this cannot be the case at the Kosel.

The women were wearing their talleisim under their jackets Frankel explained, who added, “At some point I was warm enough and removed my jacket,” leading to her arrest for the provocation.

Responding to this mornings incident was Rav Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rav of the Kosel, who told Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) that he simply does not believe Frankel when she says her intentions are “pure” and “not seeking to provoke an incident”, stating he believe quite the opposite is true, pointing out she felt the need to remove her outer garment. The rabbi explained that she is not genuine and it is all about making an issue.

The rav stated the women cause a chilul Hashem, and a chilul to the Kosel, comparing them to Korach and his followers. He explained the issue here is not even one of halacha, but the fact that a group is working to bring controversy to the Kosel, and this is simply unacceptable. The rav added that in the past two months, the women have been working tenaciously to bring their plight to the forefront of the political arena.

The Women of the Wall organization, which was founded in 1989, has maintained a determined battle to permit females to daven at the Kosel in tallis and/or tefillin, seeking the approval of the nation’s highest court over what they perceive as the “Orthodox rule over the Kosel” which denies them their basic religious rights.

In a recent motzei shabbos drasha, Rishon L’Tzion HaRav HaGon Ovadia Yosef Shlita called the women “fools with a tallis” as was reported by YWN-Israel.

UPDATED 13:45: Police moved in to make arrests after the women began efforts to read from a sefer torah, not at Robinson’s Arch, the designated area according to the Supreme Court, but in the regular women’s section of the Kosel, insisting that this was not only their right, but well within halacha, and there was no reason police should be involved in a simply prayer service.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)


16 COMMENTS

  1. The notion this woman has that she has certain rights is strange. As far as I know, there are only two sources to rights; those established by law or those established by G-D. To which one of these sources does she attribute her rights? Furthermore, someone who asserts a right contrary to law is called a criminal, while one who asserts a right contrary to divine decree is called a heretic or deluded.

    I strongly suspect that these women are being paid to make provocations.

  2. These women are a sick joke. They want to wear a talit and tefillin, but do they keep taharat hamishpacha? I don’t think so! Do they PROPERLY observe Shabbat, kashrut, and the other mitzvot they ARE supposed to observe? I don’t think so. They are just interested in causing trouble, and being “feminists”, NOT in being nasheem tzidkaniyot.

  3. I wonder, do these women say the brocho “sh’osani kirtzono or “shelo asani ish”

    This is the begining of a dangerous slippery slope that needs to be nipped in the bud. What’s going to happen when other conservative & reform jews decide they want to exercise their religious rights at the kosel & daven men & women together? Or daven “politcally correct” t’fillos that don’t include mention of korbonos or any reference to klal yisroel as am segula-chas v’sholom?

  4. but do they keep taharat hamishpacha? I don’t think so! Do they PROPERLY observe Shabbat, kashrut, and the other mitzvot they ARE supposed to observe? I don’t think so.

    And just how do you know that???

    The Wolf

  5. I don’t KNOW it, but as I said, I don’t THINK so. Why don’t I think so? Because ask “conservative” (or kal v’chomer, “reform”) women if they observe taharat hamishpacha, and 9 out of 8 will say “huh, what’s that?” The prime motivation for most of these women is NOT to better serve HKB”H, it is to be “feminists”, which means to them, to show that they are the same as, or as good as, men.

  6. #4 “wolf” – you might even ask them why they come to the Kotel at all, because, (you might ask them) do you want to see the Beit HaMikdash rebuilt and the Temple service (karbanot) re-established? They do not. (Of course you MIGHT come across one that says yes, because she aspires to be the “Kohanit Gedola”). 😉

  7. Feminist pursuits such as these are considered by many poskim as an issur di’oraysa of chukas hagoyim.
    Women who insist on wearing a tallis and tefillin because it is their right, are unfortuately not informed to the beauty and kedusha of what it means to serve HKB”H as He wants to be served by women.
    Chances are they are very far removed from knowing most basics in halacha, for lack of authentic Torah education.
    Doing what makes one “feel” spiritual in the name of “rights” is far from genuinely performing “lishmo”.

  8. They say;

    At an orthodox wedding the mechuteneste is pregnant
    At a conservative wedding the kahlah is pregnant
    And at a reform wedding the messader kidduschin is pregnant

  9. rabbiofberlin-firstly my apologies for touching such a raw nerve and for the misunderstanding. The issue is if it is for “feminist purposes”. For further understanding on the issue, you can research shiurim of HoRav Dovid Cohen shli’ta, or research writings of HaGaon Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ZTZ”L. This is what my rov/dayan paskened. If you have been guided otherwise that is understandable.

  10. To #12 “rabbiofberlin” – respectfully sir, do you really seriously believe that it is an orthodox woman that would create trouble at the Kotel, wanting to wear a talit and read in the Torah? Yes, I do believe it is very fair to assume that she and her chevra are definitely from the masorti (conservative) camp.
    I have seen these women at the Kotel on Friday nights at the back of the plaza standing in a circle with arms linked with men, swaying, singing (kol eesha) their Sabbath songs out loud. These were NOT orthodox women you can be sure.
    While I do not know “positive aynayim”, I think you may have misunderstood his statement. When he wrote about Chukos hagoy, I don’t think he was talking about putting on a tallit per se,(obviously not a goyish thing to do) – I think by chukos hagoy he meant the idea of “feminism”, of women trying to show how they are the same as men, and in this particular case it was being done by putting on a tallit.

  11. AinOhdMilvado- I didn’t know that only people who observe all mitzvos properly are allowed to daven at the kosel. But now that I know that, we better make sure we start checking people for lashon hara, bittul torah and shmiras einayim right away. Wouldn’t want any of those sinners to pray at the kosel either.

  12. WolfishMusings, AinOhdMilvado is right. The chances that these women keep taharas hamishpocho are between slim and none. They are NOT women who sincerely want to serve Hashem in nontraditional ways; their only goal is to stir up trouble. I don’t know the women in this group personally, but I do know several people who know them, and everyone I speak to says the same thing: they are not acting lesheim shomayim, and they give the whole Orthodox feminist movement a bad name.

    rabbiofberlin, a woman who wants to wear a tallis is not automatically irreligious; a woman who wants to read from the Torah is certainly not automatically irreligious. But THIS woman is.

    The kosel is not a hefker velt. It is a shul, and it has a rov, and he has paskened how things will be in his shul. The Torah belongs to women as much as to men: morosho kehilas yaakov. I have absolutely no objection to women reading the Torah – in a private home, or in a shul whose rov allows it. But not at the kosel.

  13. Mandy #15 – You totaly missed the point.
    I did not say that only people who observe all mitzvot properly can daven at the Kotel. The point was that this woman is trying to give the impression that she is being “extra religious” (going above and beyond in serving HKB”H) by putting on a tallit – while in reality that is not her goal at all, since the women in that “camp” do not keep the mitzvot that they ARE supposed to keep. This is strictly a feminist act to show that she is equal to men.
    Go into a conservative “shul” (no, don’t really go in) and you will see plenty of women wearing tallesim and yarmulkas who don’t even observe kashrut, kal v’chomer taharas hamishpacha.
    Bottom line – The Kotel plaza is an orthodox shul, so one must behave in accordance with Torah law.