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An Egalitarian Section at the Western Wall?

Looking at Natan Sharansky’s proposal

Adam Chandler
April 09, 2013


After months of increasingly newsworthy happenings, the thorny issue of gender equality and prayer at the Western Wall has reached a new plateau.

Just days after Jerusalem’s police commissioner warned the women’s rights advocacy group Women of the Wall that they shouldn’t say Kaddish at the Wall–an edict rebuffed by Natan Sharansky who heads the Jewish Agency–Sharansky put forth a new recommendation today that will no doubt fuel more controversy: an egalitarian section for prayer at the Kotel.

Over at the Forward, Jane Eisner explains:

If implemented, the proposal, a product of months of deliberation, would mark a dramatic acknowledgement by the state of Israel that prayer at the Wall — regarded as Judaism’s holiest site and a modern-day symbol of national sovereignty — should include non-Orthodox practice in which men and women pray together. But it is uncertain whether the proposal will satisfy Women of the Wall, who for years have tried to hold full prayer services in the women’s only section and may see this compromise as a betrayal of their mission.

Women of the Wall chief Anat Hoffman has signed off on the proposal–not without reservations–but will it be adopted?

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.

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