Women of the Wall

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
John2
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Women of the Wall

Post by John2 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:05 pm

I was dismayed to see that there was violence against women gathering at the Western Wall for the thirtieth anniversary of the Women of the Wall movement. It seems similar to the internecine strife in Israel during the first century CE.
Haaretz daily quoted the Executive Director of Women of the Wall, Leslie Sachs, describing the scene in the women’s section as a 'nightmare'.

'The police failed in their duty. They weren’t even attempting to protect us. There were thousands of young girls kicking and pushing us, and I have bruises all over my body,' Sachs said.

More liberal streams of Judaism, such as the Reform and Conservative movements to which a significant portion of Diaspora Jews belong, have long been at odds with the Israeli government over delays in the creation of a mixed-gender, non-Orthodox prayer section at the Western Wall, where women would also be permitted to pray with scrolls and hold religious ceremonies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AMYHDxq6iQ
Sheesh. Get on with it already. I think anyone should be able to pray at the Wall if they want to. And in the big picture I'm in line with this article:
Israel’s Chief Rabbinate holds absolute power in key areas over the religious definition of what — and who — is Jewish. This monopoly — empowered, funded and perpetuated by the state — has given the haredi Orthodox-controlled body the license to exclude major segments of the Jewish community within and outside Israel, including adherents of varieties of Orthodoxy, such as Modern Orthodoxy, of which they disapprove ...

We offer a radically different, more inclusive response. As rabbis representing the full spectrum of Jewish denominational life, including the non-Orthodox denominations long excluded by the Chief Rabbinate, we no longer expect any flexibility, decency or inclusiveness from a body controlled by a monopoly that represents such a small, fundamentalist sliver of the Jewish rainbow.

Further, we view it as inappropriate to seek relief through the civil court system. Diverse interpretations of Jewish law are natural. Using civil law to force religious authorities to validate procedures against their religious conscience is an act of religious coercion.

Recent developments underscore the need to move on to a different model of religion-state relations — and abolish the Chief Rabbinate as an arm of the state ...

We hold that it is high time that a broadly defined coalition of Jews across the world, representing the rich Jewish spectrum that reaches from Modern Orthodoxy to the unaffiliated, joins together in recognizing that for Israel to be truly Jewish and democratic, for Jewish peoplehood to be respected, and for Jewish unity to be strengthened, Israel must move away from a coercive religious model of a Chief Rabbinate to one that celebrates religious freedom and equality.

https://www.jweekly.com/2018/12/06/as-r ... rabbinate/
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own.

nili
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Re: Women of the Wall

Post by nili » Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:35 am

The answer is not to replace one religious institution with some other religious institution but to effect the separation of church and state wherein bullies and thugs get arrested for engaging in acts of bullying and thuggery - and I say this as someone whose wife has davened with Women of the Wall.

Edited to add:

Parenthetically, this post is probably in the wrong forum ...

semiopen
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Re: Women of the Wall

Post by semiopen » Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:17 pm

The wall means more to the traditionally religious. If they honestly believe it is holy, they have the right not to see it desecrated.

At some point one has to draw the line at what is perceived as disrespectable behavior.

The wall might be the one part of Israeli life that the chief Rabbinate should maintain control of.

John2
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Re: Women of the Wall

Post by John2 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:53 pm

I was wondering if this was the right forum for this thread too, nili, and while I'm fine with wherever it should be, I figured the Western Wall at least pertains to Jewish "history."

And I guess it would suffice to let secular authorities handle any unrest (whether it be religiously motived or not), but if there is going to be going to be some kind of religious institution in Israel I figure it ought to be one that accommodates "the rich Jewish spectrum that reaches from Modern Orthodoxy to the unaffiliated."
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own.

John2
Posts: 2702
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Women of the Wall

Post by John2 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:24 pm

semiopen wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:17 pm
The wall means more to the traditionally religious. If they honestly believe it is holy, they have the right not to see it desecrated.

At some point one has to draw the line at what is perceived as disrespectable behavior.

The wall might be the one part of Israeli life that the chief Rabbinate should maintain control of.
I approach this from two angles. The first one (and in the big picture), it makes me think of the town in the movie Footloose, which makes me think that if I didn't like public dancing or want my son or daughter to go to dances (like the preacher in the movie), then that's fine. They can go to all the dances they like when they turn eighteen. But in this case, even with that relatively "liberal" attitude, the "dance" would be happening in a place I consider to be the holiest place on earth (or very close to the holiest place on earth, with the idea being that "adjacent to holy is holy.") But who does the Wall (or any part of Israel) "belong" to? Isn't unfettered access to the Wall only possible because of the existence of the secular state of Israel? Should it not then be accessible to all Israelis (and visitors)?

And how exactly do the ultra-Orthodox view the presence of non-Orthodox Jews as desecrating the Wall? If it's a question of ritual cleanness, my understanding is that all Jews are ritually unclean because of the lack of a red heifer.
Because the state of ritual purity obtained through the ashes of a red heifer is a necessary prerequisite for participating in Temple service, efforts have been made in modern times by Jews wishing for biblical ritual purity (see tumah and taharah) and in anticipation of the building of the Third Temple to locate a red heifer and recreate the ritual. However, multiple candidates have been disqualified.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_heifer


So if it is a question of ritual cleanness, then all Jews are ritually unclean. And in any event, and with all due respect, we're only talking about a retaining wall and not the Temple itself, one that all kinds of Jews (and Gentiles) like to pray at. And I think if anyone finds that offensive it should fall under the "too bad' category (at worst) with perhaps the accommodation of having a segregated section of the Wall for them.

The other angle is that I subscribe to the idea that the Wall is not a remnant of Herod's temple but rather a remnant of the pagan temple that Hadrian built after the Bar Kokhba war (as per Tuvia Sagiv), so all this "fuss" about it seems quite unnecessary to me.
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own.

nili
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Re: Women of the Wall

Post by nili » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:45 pm

semiopen wrote:
Sat Mar 09, 2019 12:17 pm
The wall might be the one part of Israeli life that the chief Rabbinate should maintain control of.
Nonsense.

semiopen
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Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:27 pm

Re: Women of the Wall

Post by semiopen » Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:14 am

The ultra orthodox deserve some deference in this area as they believe that the temple was literally the home of YHWH on earth and all that implies.

Secular Jews don't believe that. Their motivation is on an entirely different level and I strongly suspect that the main reason for secular worship venues is to offend the Orthodox. What will be next? Same sex weddings at the Kotel?

Not so ironically, the demonstrations are related to Purim, which is the second worst Jewish holiday (after Hanukkah).

semiopen
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Re: Women of the Wall

Post by semiopen » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:14 am

Bruno in the Middle East

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tihMVlNb76A

The scene of Bruno being chased by the Haredi is striking - however even he wasn't outrageous enough to show up at the Kotel in that outfit.

It would be difficult to argue that the Haredi weren't justified in having a reaction to that.

The situation with the women here is not on the same level, but it is not difficult to understand how traditional Jews might find it upsetting.

John2
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Re: Women of the Wall

Post by John2 » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:31 pm

semiopen wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 6:14 am
The ultra orthodox deserve some deference in this area as they believe that the temple was literally the home of YHWH on earth and all that implies.

Secular Jews don't believe that. Their motivation is on an entirely different level and I strongly suspect that the main reason for secular worship venues is to offend the Orthodox. What will be next? Same sex weddings at the Kotel?

Not so ironically, the demonstrations are related to Purim, which is the second worst Jewish holiday (after Hanukkah).
I think there is a difference between being offended by non-Orthodox prayer services and being offended by immodestly dressed people with no religious or historical regard for the Wall. It comes down to defining what is Judaism, and in my view Judaism is a spectrum of beliefs and practices, and I find it offensive to give the beliefs and practices of one kind of Judaism (and the most "extreme" one at that) more privileges than the others, and which is only a modern phenomenon in any event, as this article notes:
From the mid-1800s, photographs of Jews praying together at the Western Wall became common on the walls of houses across the Western world. Today, a rich collection is found in Washington’s Library of Congress digital archives, in which a jumble of Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews, men and women, are depicted in prayer at what has been considered one of Judaism’s holiest sites for the past two millennia.
Mixed prayer, with men and women praying together, appears to be the norm — or at least a viable option — in these archival images
, aside from High Holy Day crushes, in which women either were not in attendance, or prayed off to the side.

In fact, the idea of partitioning prayer between men and women at the Western Wall is relatively modern, and due to a variety of sociological and political constraints was only put into practice after the unification of Jerusalem following the Six Day War in 1967. However, for centuries, the wall has had central importance as an anchor of Jewish worship and culture …

The Western Wall [after the Six Day War] became a major attraction for spiritual and nationalistic reasons and was visited by droves of Israelis and Diaspora Jews. The section delineated for prayer was then administered by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, which, after salvage archaeological excavations were completed, quickly put up a low separation barrier between men and women’s sections for prayer.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/when-men- ... tern-wall/
And I have no issue with the idea of having same sex weddings at the Wall (which I gather is forbidden for anyone, but still), religious or secular. In the big picture, why should it be forbidden to have a wedding ceremony at the Wall? Should only "wailing" be allowed there? As this article cites:
“It shall be heard in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride”

http://jerusalemsimcha.com/events-in-is ... the-kotel/


And some Jews are gay, and religious, and want to get married, so why shouldn't they (or anyone) be allowed to do it at the Wall?
Same-sex marriage in Judaism has been a subject of debate within Jewish denominations. The traditional view among Jews is to regard same-sex relationships as categorically forbidden by the Torah. This remains the current view of Orthodox Judaism, but not of Reconstructionist Judaism, Reform Judaism and Conservative Judaism, which started changing its position to same-sex unions in 2006.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_ ... nd_Judaism


So it just seems like an issue of basic democracy and acknowledgment of the reality of modern Judaism to me.
Last edited by John2 on Sat Mar 30, 2019 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own.

semiopen
Posts: 457
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Re: Women of the Wall

Post by semiopen » Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:44 pm

Let the Turks and/or Brits take control of Palestine again and your beautiful wishes might get granted.

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