The Reform and Conservative Movements on Thursday 10 Sivan at 5:00PM, will be holding a mixed gender ‘mincha’ at the Kosel Plaza. The event is not planned in the ezras noshim or the men’s area, but the back plaza of the Kosel.
Some feel this is nothing more than revenge for Jerusalem Chief Sephardi Rabbi HaGaon HaRav Shlomo Moshe Amar davening shachris at the egalitarian prayer area earlier this week after setting up a mechitzah.
The head of the Conservative Movement attorney Yitzhar Hess accuses Rav Amar of “breaking all the rules” after they endured “unprecedented slurs” from chareidi Members of Knesset. He explains that negotiations were ongoing for three years and agreement was reached and then Rabbi Amar comes and tramples the agreement.
It is added the Women of the Wall will not be participating in the mixed gender event officially.
HaGaon HaRav Avigdor Nebenzahl Shlita, Rav of the Old City of Yerushalayim, is calling on the tzibur to come to the Kosel on Thursday evening 10 Sivan at 5:00PM, to gather near the Kosel Plaza. Rav Nebenzahl spoke with Kol Chai Radio and stated the tzibur must prevent the planned Reform prayer event at the location near the Kosel, stating there cannot be any compromise with the Reform.
They just want to be mechalel Shem Shomayim and anger HKBH and they are not interested in davening. It is a disgrace. There can be no compromise with them and the current plan for the egalitarian area is unacceptable. The tzibur must come to prevent them from holding a prayer event.
Should the tzibur come and confront police to block the prayer event?
I cannot ask people to confront police.
Some of the commentary & background
Rabbi Yisrael Gellis told Kol Chai he does not understand why roshei yeshivos and others are not joining in the call. He is angered by the silence of chareidi MKs, questioning why Shas is willing to bring down the government over the appointment of Rami Sadan as Chairman of the Board of Channel 10 News and why when it comes to the kovod of HKBH and the Kosel there is a deafening silence. He also expresses criticism against Minister of Religious Services (Shas) David Azoulai, who refuses to be interviewed on the matter and is not speaking out to the media in protest as the head of the ministry.
He adds the same is true for all chareidi MKs, who for reasons that remain a mystery, remain silent and are not using their political might as the Reform Movement continues making advances in the area.
An urgent petition is being filed with the High Court of Justice Thursday morning to block the event, explaining it is not a prayer service but a protest rally at the Kosel.
Why Doesn’t the Kosel Rav Stop the Event?
Complicating matters is the fact that the attorney general of the Ministry of Religious Services sent a letter to the Rav of the Kosel & Holy Sites Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz Shlita, informing him that while he had the authority to stop the Birkas Kohanos he does not have the authority to prevent a mixed-gender service.
Hence the Kosel rav’s hands have been tied. In the interim, the letter has been given to Attorney General Dr. Avichai Mandelblit to render his decision regarding the scope of the authority of Kosel Rav Rabbi Rabinowitz.
Rabbi Rabinowitz now awaits to hear if the High Court rules before 5:00PM and/or if Attorney General Mandelblit issues his ruling before 5:00PM.
The Reform Movement is calling “for a third designated area at the Kosel, one of equality at the actual Kosel [not the area designated at Robinson’s Arch]. The announcement explains the mincha event is a first and ultimately, they too will be at the Kosel like all others, holding bar and bas mitzvah celebrations at the Kosel.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)