In 2012, I was in Israel for the first time in my life, attending seminary in Jerusalem. My exposure to Israeli life that year consisted of what I can now see was a one-dimensional observation. The people and families I met, the homes my seminary allowed us to visit for Shabbat, all of it was really uniform. I had only been exposed to haredi (ultra-Orthodox) Israeli life. Anything beyond that was just not part of my Israel experience.That is, until early spring. One month, we were urged by our teachers and rabbis to visit the Western Wall on Rosh Hodesh morning. We were told, “Go show the world how a true bas yisroel (Jewish woman) should pray.” Apparently, a group I had not heard of until then, known as the Women of the Wall (WOW), were appearing at the Western Wall on Rosh Hodesh and it was up to us to show our disdain for their reformed ways, and to be an example, a light on to others in the form of a peaceful protest, if you will.That morning, I witnessed the strangest of things. The Women of the Wall did not do as I was told they would. I had prepared myself for a group of crazed radicals to appear, screaming and making a scene. The thing was, they weren’t the ones who were screaming. What happened instead was a group of about 50 or so women came to the Western Wall, simply to pray.“That’s it?” I thought to myself. How could it be that this crowd of seminary girls, yeshiva boys, and photographers are so inflamed about a few women coming to pray at the Western Wall? I left that morning feeling sick, unknowingly beginning to find my own perspective on Israel, feminism and everything in between (but that would only really happen later on). At that point in time, what had been the most upsetting was that my teachers, who had gained my respect, had sent me to act as their representative, while I had not yet even found my own bearing within these issues. And for what? A group of women who – just like I had – come to the Western Wall to bring in the new month.Now, it is almost a decade later and I find myself back at the Western Wall with WOW, this time on my own accord. I have found my footing within religious Judaism, and having been on the other side of the fence, what message can I impart?It so happens that we are currently in the three-week period that extends between the 17th of Tamuz and Tisha Be’av. This is the time of year in which we focus on mending sinat hinam – the baseless hatred which way back in our history had caused the eventual destruction of the Temple. Now is the time for all of us, seminary girls and radical feminists alike, to take a look within. Towards what are we putting our energy? Is it for love and growth or for groundless animosity towards our own brothers and sisters?Perhaps now will be the time when we can finally coexist as one nation, here in Israel and throughout the world, validating each other’s customs and giving room for all to worship in their own way.The writer is a media associate for Women of the Wall.