Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Time Has Come


Mi shenichnas Adar marbim b'simcha- Whoever enters Adar increases joy-
This didn't seem to be true this Adar when Jerusalem police arrested 10 women taking part in Rosh Chodesh prayers at the Kotel for "endangering public peace."  Included in this group were two of my Conservative colleagues: Rabbis Debra Cantor and Robyn Fryer Bodzin.  
Interestingly, this Rosh Chodesh Women of the Wall were joined by some of the IDF paratroopers who liberated the Kotel in 1967.  There were about 300 women with just under 10 of the paratroopers.  The paratroopers told the press they had sacrificed to make the Kotel available to all.  Interestingly, the police waited until most of the women and all the paratroopers had cleared the area before detaining ten women.  How is it that these women were endangering public peace after the t'fillot had ended?  You'd think a crowd of 300 could have a greater impact than 10.  
The time has come to settle these questions.  Each month there are more arrests.  The tactics are constantly changing.  Is the Kotel open to all or is it merely an Orthodox synagogue?  Who gets to say the proper way to pray? the proper garb for prayer? and the proper people to say the t'fillot?
Interestingly, on January 16 a group of women met at the Kotel to pray.  They were left alone to complete their service.  It seems it's only a crime for women to gather on Rosh Chodesh, a day dedicated to women.  (Read more- http://womenofthewall.org.il/2013/01/quiet-prayer/)
The time has come.  We need our voices to be heard.  There are many ways to be Jewish here and in Israel.  MERCAZ-Canada and Masorti Foundation, along with WOW, ARZA, and others work towards freedom for all.  Which side are you on?