The Times v. the Orthodox Male Control Over the Non-Sacred Space at the Western Wall

The Times is helping to stir up anti-Orthodox political sentiment in Israel by focusing in a report on the denial of rights to women at the Western Wall.

Talmudic Analysis
In fact the area of prayer at the Wall is not a holy site in formal Judaism. It is outside the location of the ancient Temple, hence it is an ordinary space with no special religious sanctity.

We are not sure why in this day and age Jews find it meaningful to pray there. It is a reminder of destruction and exclusion from days gone by. It is not a symbol of building and achievement. Hence it is an area of negative energy for the Jewish people.

It might be better to prohibit all prayer at that location and send people to their respective new and beautiful synagogues in modern Jerusalem so they can find uplifting locales for prayer.

No, we do not subscribe to the notion that we must confront the suffering and destruction of the past to achieve the proper state of humility to pray to God. Quite enough that each of us has our own personal sufferings and that while we ponder them we have comfortable seats on which to sit while we pour out our souls to the Almighty.
Israel to Review Curbs on Women's Prayer at Western Wall

JERUSALEM — Amid outrage across the Jewish diaspora over a flurry of recent arrests of women seeking to pray at the Western Wall with ritual garments in defiance of Israeli law, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the Jewish Agency, to study the issue and suggest ways to make the site more accommodating to all Jews.

The move comes after more than two decades of civil disobedience by a group called Women of the Wall against regulations, legislation and a 2003 Israeli Supreme Court ruling that allow for gender division at the wall, one of Judaism's holiest sites, and prohibit women from carrying a Torah or wearing prayer shawls there.

Although the movement has struggled to gain traction in Israel, where the ultra-Orthodox retain great sway over public life, the issue has deepened a dividebetween the Jewish state and Jews around the world at a time when Israel is battling international isolation over its settlement policy. Critics, particularly leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements in the United States, complain that the government's recent aggressive enforcement of restrictions at the wall has turned a national monument into an ultra- Orthodox synagogue.

"The prime minister thinks the Western Wall has to be a site that expresses the unity of the Jewish people, both inside Israel and outside the state of Israel," Ron Dermer, Mr. Netanyahu's senior adviser, said in an interview on Tuesday. "He wants to preserve the unity of world Jewry. This is an important component of Israel's strength."

Mr. Sharansky, whose quasi-governmental nonprofit organization handles immigration for the state and is a bridge between Israel and Jews around the world, said that Mr. Netanyahu asked him on Monday to take up the matter, and that he expected to have recommendations within a few months. He and Mr. Dermer said the agenda would include improvements for Robinson's Arch, a discrete area of the wall designated for coed prayer under the court ruling, and the easing of restrictions in the larger area known as the Western Wall plaza, along with the more sensitive questions regarding prayer at the main site...

No comments: