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Police: Women Can’t Say Kaddish at the Kotel

The Women of the Wall are not happy about this

Adam Chandler
April 04, 2013
Women of the Wall(AFP)

Women of the Wall(AFP)

In a strange turn of events, Jerusalem’s police commissioner Yossi Pariente sent the women’s advocacy and prayer group the Women of the Wall a letter informing them that saying Kaddish during their monthly services at the Western Wall violated a 2005 Supreme Court ruling. To clarify, the letter added that the law would be enforced at the start of the next Hebrew month of Iyar next Thursday.

The letter forbids the group from praying as a minyan, and thus proscribes all sections of the service for which a prayer quorum is required, a source in Women of the Wall told The Times of Israel on Thursday. She spoke on condition of anonymity because the organization had yet to decide whether to release the text of the letter in full.

Of course, if one were going to choose a month to announce a ridiculous prohibition like this, it would be tough to seem more callous than choosing the month during which both Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and Yom Hazikaron (Fallen Soldiers Day) fall. It’s also the month that Israel will celebrate it’s 65th birthday, an event made possible because of the death of a full one per-cent of the Israeli population in the War of Independence. In past months, the group had scored some successes including the hosting of a monthly service with IDF paratroopers who helped liberate West Jerusalem in the Six-Day War in 1967 as well as some female members of Knesset.

Anat Hoffman, who heads up the Women of the Wall group, was not pleased about the development.

She described these days [of Iyar] as “the days which symbolize more than anything else the unity surrounding the collective fate of the Jewish people.”

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.