While on a pilgrimage to the town of Mezbiuz in Ukraine to visit the Kever of the Baal Shem Tov, a group of Charedim were shocked to see a group of Reform Jews, both men and women, being Michalel Shabbos.
According to a report that was published by Bchadrei Charedim, some of the Chareidim reported that a group of seemingly Reform Jews were praying together and filled the men’s sanctuary of the shul at the gravesite. A woman was leading the prayer and singing Lecha Dodi. The crowd, which was made up of families and singles, was singing together as well. When the Charedim protested the goings on, they were told that everything had been coordinated with the supervisors of the location and that this ritual happens annually.
Another Chareidi worshipper said: “The entire prayer service was filmed on cell phones on Shabbos.”
When asked for a response to the situation, Meir Gabbay, who is tasked with overseeing the religious logistics of the site said: “I wasn’t there this Shabbos, and no one received permission to desecrate Shabbos at the site. Sometimes, people come who don’t fit in with the spirit of the place. We cannot always follow up with all of the people who visit the site. It is sad that this happened. I will make sure that something like this does not happen again. We are currently working on building a proper women’s section because right now there are only simple mechitzos.”
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(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)