Women of Wall Leader Arrested For Holding Sefer Torah

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Anat Hoffman, leader of the Women of the Wall prayer group, was arrested at the Kosel on Monday for holding a Sefer Torah. She is suspected of violating a High Court ruling which prohibits women to read the Torah at the holy site.

Hoffman was taken to a nearby police station, while her fellow group members protested outside the building.

She was later released to her home under restricting conditions, but has been banned from visiting the Kosel for a 30-day period.

Dozens of Women of the Wall members arrived at the Kosel on Monday morning for a festive prayer in honor of the first day of the month of Av, as they have been doing every month for the past 20 years.

As they began reading the Torah, an act they have been ordered to do at the nearby Robinson’s Arch compound, Hoffman was caught holding a Sefer Torah and was detained.

Hoffman is one of the prominent activists of the Movement for Progressive Judaism in Israel and serves as head of the Religious Action Center – the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel.

During the Morning Prayer, the Sefer Torah was in a bag, but the women pulled it out earlier than they were permitted to do so, and began dancing with it at the end of the prayer as they were leaving the Western Wall plaza. Hoffman was arrested immediately afterwards.

An eyewitness opposing Women of the Wall said the group leader was arrested for hiding the Torah under her clothes, but the women rejected the claim. “How can a book as big as an eight-year-old child be hidden within someone’s clothes?”

The Movement for Progressive Judaism said in response that “the arrest of women on the first day of the month of Av is a harsh reminder of the price the Israeli society may pay for its religious intolerance and fanaticism.

“The Progressive Judaism will use legal and public means to build a third plaza at the Western Wall which will be open to the entire public without sex segregation. There is a direct line between the women’s arrest and the Knesset’s attempt to prevent the recognition of non-Orthodox conversions. Those who believe tolerance and democracy must stand up against such ugly phenomena.”

The Masorti Movement said in response, “The arrest of the Women of the Wall chairwoman is a foolish act. We never called and will never call for violation of the law, but such selective enforcement – against a non-violent act – is puzzling. The Western Wall plaza belongs to all of the people of Israel and the haredim have confiscated the Wall from the people.”

Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, on the other hand, expressed his shock and deep regret over the incident.

“Thousands of worshippers arrived at the Kosel this morning, and instead of isolating themselves with the holiness of the site, they were forced to witness a fanatic, political battle of an extremist group,” he told Ynet.

“The Kosel is a place of unity for the people of Israel, not a place of polarization and differences. I greatly regret the fact that interest groups have chosen to turn the Western Wall plaza into a disputed area, violating an explicit Supreme Court ruling, and particularly on the nine days before Tisha B’Av, the day our Temple was destroyed due to unfounded hatred.”

(Source: Ynet)




7 COMMENTS

  1. This is just a reminder of the fact we are still in galus. We might think we have Yerushalayim and the Kosel but we do not have it at all!

  2. “During the Morning Prayer, the Sefer Torah was in a bag, but the women pulled it out earlier than they were permitted to do so, and began dancing with it at the end of the prayer as they were leaving the Western Wall plaza” I didn’t know Simchas Torah fell out on the first day of Av this year!

  3. “The Western Wall plaza belongs to all of the people of Israel and the haredim have confiscated the Wall from the people.”
    NO! This fool has it wrong! The Kotel (which is part of the Beit HaMikdash, of course) belongs to HASH-M! It is HIS house, and those who visit it, must go by HIS rules!

    btw… – you have a typo…
    it’s not women OF the Wall, it’s women OFF the Wall!!!

  4. BH
    How much longer, Our Father in Heaven, how much longer must we endure this galus?
    We learn, as the revelation of HeMelech HaMoshiach Tzidkeinu comes closer, that many things that we accept as “normal” will become upside down. This is clear evidence that we are, thankfully, coming closer to the revelation of Moshiach. But, how do we react? Do we laugh, as when the fox ran through the Bais HaMikdash after its destruction – or do we cry, as we prepare ourselves to listen to the words of Yirmiyahu HaNavi, Zachor LaTov. If we only had a true leader to teach us the true path!
    To Number 1 – WE do have Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh & Har HaBayis. We were just too stupid to understand its importance, so we gave it to the wakf. It is OURS for the taking – don’t be such a “party pooper” so to say.
    To Number 2 – when the Moshiach is revealed, these 9 days will be days of rejoicing, culminating w/ immense joy & celebration on Tisha B’Av. The ladies have been mislead into thinking the time has already arrived (or could it be they know something we don’t know?).
    Number 3 – what is the matter with you? First of all, let’s clarify: The Kosel is NOT part of the actual Bais HaMikdash (it should be immediately rebuilt – NOW). The Kosel is part of the outer wall that encircled the area of the Bais HaMikdash. The area was protected by its own wall surrounding all of the entire Holy areas. The Kosel is the CLOSEST we can get to the actual Bais HaMikdosh and the Kodesh HaKodashim. Experience and Feel its Holiness ! And then imagine what it will be like to Experience and feel the holiness of the actual Bais HaMikdosh – it should be rebuilt NOW
    Further, these three weeks, the nine days, and in particular, the 9th of Menachem Av, originated w/ the sins of lashon hara and rechilus. Be careful when it comes to speaking about fellow Jews. Yes, it is okay to disagree w/ their actions, but still try to love them and bring them close to HaShem. Try it! Perhaps it’s the last test, and the last great mitzvoh we must perform in order to bring Moshiach NOW!
    Number 4 – throughout our history many “mistakes” were made by just ignoring things as they happened before our eyes. We can’t let this happen again. Ignoring something,
    Gd Forbid, can no longer be tolerated, kol bli ayin hara.
    I’m apologize if I “hurt” anyone’s feelings. But if this time of year doesn’t teach us to get along and love each other, then what does it teach us? Remember, today, Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av, is the Yahrzeit of Aharon HaKohain HaGadol. The ultimate “lover of Peace, pursuer of Peace”.
    Let’s try to emulate him as we approach Tisha B’Av and the coming days of Elul & Tishrei. Don’t forget, Rosh HaShannah is only two months away. Think of things this way – Menachem Av is the foyer to Elul – when “the King is in the field” to receive us. Tishrei, just two months from today, is when we crown HaShem, King of the Universe. And who’s universe is it? HIS!

  5. yes the western wall is for ALL JEWS but these things that the women do are against Halacha (jewish law)These things they did of putting on a talis & holding a sefer torah etc… are against the sin of LO SILBASH-a man may not do or wear clothing a woman wears or does & vice versa, a woman may not do or wear clothing men wear-which is why woman are not allowed to do these things.
    MAY WE ALL LEARN FROM THIS