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Anat Hoffman Arrested for Praying at the Kotel

The Women of the Wall leader was wearing a prayer shawl

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Anat Hoffman(JewishJournal)

Last night, a violent arrest was made at the Western Wall. The crime? Reciting the Shema aloud in a prayer shawl. Anat Hoffman, who is the leader of Women of the Wall, a group that has been organizing monthly prayer services at the Kotel for the past 24 years, was thrown in jail by Jerusalem police acting on behalf of religious authorities who monitor the holy site.

Although Hoffman has been arrested several times by Israeli police for similar infringements, this arrest was particularly brutal. In an interview yesterday with the Forward, she described her treatment:

“This time they checked me naked, completely, without my underwear. They dragged me on the floor 15 meters; my arms are bruised. They put me in a cell without a bed, with three other prisoners, including a prostitute and a car thief. They threw the food through a little window in the door. I laid on the floor covered with my tallit.”

Hoffman was leading prayer for a group of approximately 200 women, some of whom were participants at the annual Hadassah conference, when she was interrupted by police. Hoffman was arrested and later transferred to different police stations throughout the night. She was subsequently taken to court in legs shackles, where she was forced to agree to not visit the Western Wall for 30 days.

“We need to liberate the wall again. We have to demand it.”

Hoffman claims she was arrested in order to harass and intimidate her organization from continuing to perform services at the Kotel. While the group’s stated mission is to “strive to achieve the right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray and read from the Torah collectively and out loud,” it seems the Haredi rabbis who control Kotel protocol consider Hoffman’s actions on par with prostitutes and car thieves. Following her arrest, Hoffman sounded determined to continue the fight.

“These topics are the final frontier, the essence of pluralism and equality.”

Today, Reform Jewish leaders called for an investigation into Hoffman’s arrest and treatment by police.


Police Shackle Anat Hoffman for Saying Sh’ma at Kotel
[Forward]
Reform Leaders Call for probe into Israeli colleague’s arrest, police treatment [JTA]

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this is the primary reason that would keep me from making aliyah. Not that I personally would go to the Kotel regularly, unless I lived nearby. But that it could legally happen is a travesty of justice, both secular and religious justice.

genelevit says:

Reform “Judaism” is not Judaism; it is a different religion. Stop using the name of the Jewish religion for something else.

Religious orthodoxies that are afraid of women end up abusing women. The violent action against Anat Hoffman at the behest of haredi “rabbis” is different only in degree from the Taliban attack on 14 year-old Malala Yousafzai. Malala’scrime? Thinking women have a right to an equal education. Anat’s crime? Thinking women have a right to equal access to God.

I’m waiting for Hoffman and her ilk to protest when Jews are dragged off the Temple Mount for having the temerity to move their lips silently in prayer. Until then, cry me a river.

I’m waiting for Hoffman and her ilk to protest when Jews are dragged off the Temple Mount for having the temerity to move their lips silently in prayer. Until then, cry me a river.

fred lapides says:

You are the one, Genelvevit, to decide what is and is not Judaism? I am holier than thoug and believe AS IN THE TESTAMENT THAT IT IS IK FOR JEWS TO KEEP SLAVES AND GO UNTO THEIR SERVING WOMEN.

How about honoring Devorah? Hypocrites.

PhillipNagle says:

If she really wanted to get in trouble she should have tried praying on the temple mount. It is a true disgrace that there is place in Jerusalem where all Jews are discriminated against.

federbender says:

It’s this kind of repressive behavior that reinforces Islamist charges of Jewish intolerance and that turns outsiders against the regime. For the people in charge, I can only say, “Goyische cup.”

I supported Israel generously in 1948 and through the 1967 war, when there was tolerance of Jewish practices and beliefs of all sorts. Not another dime for an increasingly theocratic and repressive state. What happened to the Israel of the idealists of the pioneer days?

federbender says:

It’s this kind of repressive behavior that reinforces Islamist charges of Jewish intolerance and that turns outsiders against the regime. For the people in charge, I can only say, “Goyische cup.”

I supported Israel generously in 1948 and through the 1967 war, when there was tolerance of Jewish practices and beliefs of all sorts. Not another dime for an increasingly theocratic and repressive state. What happened to the Israel of the idealists of the pioneer days?

federbender says:

How can I continue to support a government that insists on proving Islamist charges of intolerance? This is not the Israel that I supported in the 1940s through 2000. The fanatics and rapidly becoming the equivalent of Arabs and Muslims who call for Shariah.

Religion is such a wise and wonderful thing.

Did you mean Goyische kop? Maybe you’re a little Goyische yourself.

Would you prefer to be discriminated against everywhere in Israel, like all of your Arab citizens?

Fair is fair. The Arabs anywhere near Israel get dragged off their own land because their existence is inconvenient for some old-west style cowboy settler with big blazing guns, sporting peyot.

Fair is fair. The Arabs anywhere near Israel get dragged off their own land because their existence is inconvenient for some old-west style cowboy settler with big blazing guns, sporting peyot.

federbender says:

It is disturbing that the land that was established as a refuge for self-declared Jews of all denominations and styles should now be mimicking the ayatollahs and imams and priests who determine who is a Jew and how he or she may practice Judaism.

I subscribe to Amos Oz’s unofficial definition of a Jew as someone who has chosen to share the fate of the Jewish people, or who has been forced to do so–at the opposite extreme of those who have come belatedly to a recognition of Israel and who have now made themselves arbiters of who is a Jew and how Jews must practice their faith. Jewish ayatollahs.

federbender says:

Sorry, Tim, in a transliteration, there is no “correct” spelling, only what mimics the sound of the original. Suggest you look up transliteration.

federbender says:

genelevit–Offering a helping of Jewish shariah? What has the Jewish pope opined? Or is it imam? Has over two millenia of talmudic argument not taught you that when there are two Jews, there will be three interpretations? At least it should have taught you to respect differences of opinion.

genelevit says:

Are you insisting that Israel should folllow examples of USA, Canada and Australia and put Arabs in reservations?

PhillipNagle says:

Wrong! While at the Kotel, I was subjected to the blaring noise from the loud speakers on the minaret at the mosque on the temple mount. I would propose treating the moslems the way they treat religious minorities in countries they control. See Saudi Arabia for a blue print of Moslem tolerance.

latenight20009 says:

Good to investigate Anat’s arrest and treatment, better to challenge the policies that make them possible. Consider signing IRAC Petition to open and diversify control of the Kotel –

latenight20009 says:

Fine to investigate Anat’s arrest and treatment. Better to challenge the policies that made them possible. Consider signing the IRAC petition to open and diversify control of the Kotel (and learn the history of the site, which has not always been limited in this fashion)
.http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50494/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=7733

This obscene attack against the rights of women is as outrageous and cowardly as shooting a young girl in the head because she only wants an education. Women have a right worship and a right to education!

PAL669 says:

Wrong analogy. Women have been praying there for thousands of years, so the this is not a “right to worship” issue. Every holy site has its own protocol and Ms Hoffman is very much aware of one at the Western Wall. She is aware of the sensitivities, which is why there are other areas next to the Wall, where her “different” protocol can be practiced. Provoking an arrest makes for “good” publicity, but does not further the dialogue, or convince the rest of us that there should be a change.

federbender says:

Any comment about the hundreds of thousands of Jews forced out of the lands in the middle east and Africa? They don’t fester in wretched refugee camps because tiny Israel has welcomed them. The two countries that did accept Palestinian refugees–Jordan and Lebanon–later kicked out the PLA when it tried to set up its own state within a state.

There is a section of the wall that the Government said we women could use.
To keep fighting and getting arrested at the unjustly appropriated “Men only” part of the wall I think is ridiculous. We should make our “Women’s” section of the wall open to all. It would take time but I think it would be the place most men and women would go to pray, essentially, re-designating the “Men’s only” section to “Chauvinist only”. In the long run I believe it would be a great win for all normal Jews.

Orthodox thought must be very split indeed if one can authorize or perform such a revolting act, yet still consider himself a Tzaddik. It appears to be a grave and longstanding weakness of our people that Jews can be so cruel to fellow Jews. Why are the barriers to growth and goodly change to impossibly and grievously high?

“Tear down that wall!”

Anat Hoffman knows well the age-old traditions observed at the Wailing Wall. She deliberately disrespects the Jewish sanctity, thereby disrupting innocent worshipers whom wish to pray with humility and respect. This is done schemingly, with prior media notification for maximum propaganda effect at Judaism holiest site.

She should not be viewed as a victim, but rather as a provocateur.

The method which the secular Israeli police arrested Anat Hoffman has nothing to do with the Orthodox. What you are missing is the objection to her public disrespect for thousands of year old traditions by donning traditionally male garb (which is in fact one of the Torah’s 365 violations), and whatever else she tramples in the name of feminism. Women have full access to the Western Wall and in fact the Bet Yakov schools were started by Western and Eastern Orthodox Rabbis headed by Sarah Schenirer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Schenirer
Comparing the holy leaders to Taliban is foolish and outrageous, but more so reflects the um ‘level’ of the author.

liveandletlive says:

Thanks for saying it like it is! I am a woman and I am offended that this is made out to be a woman’s rights issue. This is all about her pushing her ways on the Orthodox. It is one thing if she was in an empty Kotel plaza but she didn’t seem to care that she is disrupting the prayers of OTHERS… why are HER rights more important than mine??

liveandletlive says:

Devorah was careful to be modest and even sat under a palm tree so as to avoid any immodesty issues.

David Hollander says:

Unfortunately for your point of view, there are thousands of Orthodox women who do subscribe to the notion that prayer should be unencumbered with any distractions or unholy thoughts, and thus the sexes are separated. Other more secular and liberal societies may frown upon it, but that doesn’t make it any less of an idea or tradition. Your suggestion would trample Orthodox female rights while only marginally improving yours. This protest by Hoffman is a precise illustration of the so-called tyranny of the minority.

David Hollander says:

Reform Judaism ceased to be Judaism when they accepted the idea of intermarriage. When they accepted the idea that prayer and synagogue attendance were optional. When the study of Torah and the observance of the Sabbath became optional. When holiday observance and other Jewish traditions were optional. When the basic tenets of ‘Judaism’ become optional, your ‘Judaism’ is now merely a set of ideas rather than a religion. Which isn’t a bad thing, but let’s just call a spade a spade.

The Taliban seems quite right. Women have been permitted to wear a tallis until modern times, when what was optional suddenly became forbidden. Halakha used as a cloak for dis-empowering women is not worthy of the title “halakha” and certainly does not amount to “thousands of year old traditions”

I’m trying to recall where that appears in the TaNaKH. Oh, right, that story was contrived a thousand years later than the time of Deborah to make her conform with Talmudic norms about women.

“Age old” being the beginning of the 20th Century?

I am trying to find the sugya that declares “What genelevit and Hollander declare fit is fit, and what they declare unfit is unfit.” Oh, right, none of you has the final say over what Judaism is or isn’t. All that elu v’elu devarim elohim chayyim is so annoying to the authoritarian mind.

2000

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Anat Hoffman Arrested for Praying at the Kotel

The Women of the Wall leader was wearing a prayer shawl

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