Activists Fume Over Quick Fix in Western Wall Gender Fight

Plaza offers site for mixed prayer
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2013 11:33 AM CDT
Activists Fume Over Quick Fix in Western Wall Gender Fight
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man argues with a police officer as he protests during a prayer organized by the "Women of the Wall" organization, Aug. 7, 2013.   (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

(Newser) – Jerusalem's Western Wall has been embroiled in controversy over prayer rules tied to gender, and the latest attempt at a solution is rubbing many the wrong way. Backed by the Israeli minister for Jerusalem, Naftali Bennett, a new, 4800-square-foot prayer plaza is meant to offer an equal-opportunity praying location, the New York Times reports. Bennett calls it a "compromise ... to unify all the walks of Jewish life" ahead of a long-term solution.

But Women of the Wall, an activist group fighting for expanded prayer rights for women at the site, has launched a 24-hour sit-in against the plaza. It's a "second-rate Wall for second-rate Jews," says the leader of the group, Anat Hoffman, per the Times of Israel. Her organization is battling to pray at the main women's section of the wall; members have previously been arrested for praying in men's traditional shawls. Reform and Conservative Jewish leaders, however, say the plaza is a move in the right direction. "It’s a very, very small step—very modest," says a Reform rabbi. (Read more Western Wall stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.

X