years they have been going to the Wailing Wall, clad in the ritual scarves and staking their claim to undertake a forbidden practice: to pray like men. And if so far this has been denied them with harsh and even physical clashes, now, – thanks to 11 votes (by ministers supporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) against 5 (by representatives of the orthodox parties) – this right will at last be conceded to women. Directed by Anat Hoffman, the Women of the Wall movement (WOW).came into being in 1988, when a group of women began to go to the western Wall, to the section reserved for women separated from the much larger section reserved for men, wearing the talled, the prayer shawl and the tefillin or phylacteries (a set of small black boxes containing verses of the Torah that are fixed above the forehead), and bearing the scrolls of the Torah. The reaction of the ultra-orthodox, who denied women the right to read the Torah ritually and to wear these objects of prayer, was extremely violent. Since then, each Rosh Chodesh (end of the month), the women gather at the Wall to pray in the manner until now reserved to men, despite the attacks of the ultra-orthodox, who physically aggress and insult them. The movement does not dispute the separation of the area reserved for men from the area to which women are relegated, but wants to pray with the talled and read the scrolls of the Torah aloud.
St. Peter’s Square
Jan. 21, 2020
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