Women of the Wall reach out to Rabbi Rabinowitz… who doesn’t reply

Women of the Wall’s monthly prayer services at the women’s section of the Western Wall are routinely met with hostile jeering, screaming, whistling and other forms of harassment.

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September 24, 2019 23:54
1 minute read.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall, poses for a photo in front of the holy site

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall, poses for a photo in front of the holy site. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The Women of the Wall prayer-rights group reached out to Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall and Israel’s Holy Sites, to request a meeting together ahead of Rosh Hashanah to improve relations, but the rabbi has yet to respond to the group’s overture.

Women of the Wall’s monthly prayer services at the women’s section of the Western Wall are routinely met with hostile jeering, screaming, whistling and other forms of harassment by Orthodox opponents of the prayer-rights group.

Loudspeakers are also sometimes employed in the men’s section to drown out the singing by Women of the Wall participants.

The new director of Women of the Wall, Yochi Rappaport, said a letter was sent last week to Rabinowitz asking for a meeting to improve relations. The letter was resent yesterday and Women of the Wall has still not received a response, according to the group.

“With the new year approaching and with the new director of our organization, Mrs. Yochi Rappaport, beginning her work, we request to meet with you for a conversation,” Women of the Wall wrote to Rabinowitz. “Like you, we too desire respectful and dignified prayer at the Western Wall. There is no better way to begin the year than familiarity with that which is different and challenging. Let us begin the year with understanding and acquaintance.”

A spokesperson for Rabinowitz said that Rabinowitz will “send an answer soon.”

“We at the cusp of the holidays of Tishrei, and thank God, the Western Wall is very busy,” the spokesperson said.

Rappaport said Rabinowitz’s lack of a response so far is “disappointing and upsetting.”

“We are almost at Rosh Hashanah, and ahead of the High Holy Days, the rabbi of the holy places has not found a place in his heart for dialogue with the Women of the Wall, in an environment of understanding and reconciliation,” Rappaport said.


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