Western Wall rabbi pulls support for egalitarian prayer space — report

The Western Wall rabbi is withdrawing his support for a deal establishing a separate egalitarian prayer section at the holy site.

In a letter to ultra-Orthodox party leaders, Shmuel Rabinowitz urged the introduction of legislation to cancel the January deal and a 2013 district court ruling allowing the Women of the Wall group to pray in the main Orthodox section of the wall, Haaretz reports.

“I call upon you to act with the same determination to stop the holy site desecration at the Western Wall, whose spiritual damage is beyond imagination,” he wrote, according to Haaretz.

A member of the Women of the Wall wears a tallit (prayer shawl) as she prays holding a Torah scroll at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on March 11, 2016 (AFP/GALI TIBBON)
A member of the Women of the Wall wears a tallit (prayer shawl) as she prays holding a Torah scroll at the Western Wall in Jerusalem on March 11, 2016 (AFP/Gali Tibbon)

“For years I have stood alone in the struggle” against modern streams of Judaism, including Women of the Wall, seeking prayer rights at the site, Haaretz reported Rabinowitz writing. Women of the Wall have “now gone too far, they are seeking to tear down the wall and the people of Israel into bits and pieces.”

The deal expands the Western Wall’s existing non-Orthodox prayer section and creates a shared entrance with the Orthodox main section to its north. Women of the Wall, which holds women’s services in the Orthodox section, is to eventually move to the non-Orthodox section as part of the deal — which is backed by the Reform and Conservative movements, the Israeli government and the wall’s haredi management.

— JTA

Most Popular