Tag: orthodoxy

Rosa Parks Redux? Why Can’t Women Wear a Tallit at the Western Wall: Israeli Reform Jewish Activist Questioned by Police

According to JTA,

Israeli police questioned a prominent Reform movement activist in connection with the wearing of prayer shawls by women at the Western Wall.

Anat Hoffman, the director of the Israel Religious Action Center, said she was fingerprinted Tuesday and that her case was being referred to the attorney general for prosecution.

Hoffman was brought in for her involvement in Women of the Wall, an activist group that presses for rights for women at Judaism’s holiest site.

“I think it was a meeting of intimidation,” Hoffman told JTA.

The interrogation follows the November arrest of Nofrat Frenkel, an Israeli medical student and Women of the Wall member who was detained after donning a tallit at the site.

Arrested for what??

My colleague, Rabbi Rick Winer, over at Divrei Derech, brings to our attention one of the sadder moments in the clash between orthodoxy and modernity: the arresting of a woman for wearing a tallit.  As I wrote in a comment on his blog, Anat-lesley

Among the most important contributions of the Reform Movement to Judaism, was/is its rebalancing the gender roles within our religion/people. We brought women out from behind the mechitza and onto the bimah. Judaism thrives because of this.  Innovation? No, reclamation of what was and should be.

Divrei Derech writes:  Yes, a woman was arrested for wearing a tallit, the traditional Jewish prayer shawl.  What theocracy might perpetrate such a travesty… Israel.
First of all, I do believe Israel is a relatively good democracy, like others (including our own here in the U.S.), certainly not perfect, and it’s partnered with a relatively good system of justice.But we know that politics get complex and especially so as they intersect with religion.I remember seeing the group Women of the Wall Women of the Wall when I lived in Israel.  Their purpose was to gain the right to pray at this holy site.  Unfortunately, some traditional authorities do not accept women constituting a prayer group and do not accept women praying aloud.  Read on.