WoW, Rosh Chodesh Kislev at Western Wall

Rosh Chodesh Kislev,

a new month on the Jewish calendar,

and in Jerusalem, Israel

time for another episode and photo essay of

the Women of the Wall  (WoW) and the Women for the Wall (W4W).

As I went down the steps toward the Kotel, the Western Wall,

I met a young new oleh from France who asked me what was going on,

after trying to explain I gave up and just said

” It is Rosh Chodesh today.”

picture security at Western Wall, three men in photo one religious. image police in Old City

There was less over the top security this month

and the view below was different,

but every month I have gone there has  been a different scene.

image WOW, picture women of wall

 Early in the morning at the Kotel, the Western Wall Plaza,

there were thousands already below,

image people at Kossel, picture Western Wall, image near WAiling wall

and many more people waiting to enter at the main security gate.

image line jumper, picture man going under barrier to front of line,

This man found a way to beat the line,

as he went under the barrier at the other entrance.

picture from Western WAll on Rosh Chodesh

For the first time, part of the plaza area was cleared,

and equipped with a stretcher and medical equipment.

On this 25th anniversary of WoW Rosh Chodesh at the Kotel,

the police and security people were ready.

image security line, picture from Rosh hodesh at western wall, Kossel on Rosh Chodesj

Security was lined up.

security and boys, image security on Rosh chodesh

but there were fewer young boys than in the past,

and much less trouble.

picture of trouble maker at Kotel.image male protester at wall

One whistle-blower was in the men’s section, as he covered his ears,

image protester at Wow

he was not the only one trying to block that awful noise.

image men's section at western wall, picture security at Kosel, image Kossel

Sound was all that would get from the men’s side

to the women’s side with these security barriers.

iamge women of wall

Women of Wall sang loudly.

image view of security, picture of security at Kossel

I am not sure who comes up with the estimates in crowd size,

maybe it is those watching from above.

image Women of wall on Rosh Chodesh

But besides many women from the US who came for this event,

there were W4W and many female press,

image woman praying, photo female security, picture WoW

mixed in with thousands of girls and security,

image Women of Wall, picture of women of wall and security

 all packed in the small area together.

image Women of Wall, photo Women singing.

One thing there is no argument about,

WoW sang their Rosh Chodesh service as loud as they could,

image Kossel davening, photo Kossel

loud enough so that the few men on far side could hear them.

image women of wall

Many women wore prayer shawls,

but there were also ear pieces and microphones.

image women of wall, picture women of wall at kotel

Trying to keep the singing in unison required many conductors as well.

image at Kossel

And there were many cameras, but no violence, 

  and so the international media has become bored and was missing.

image Women of Wall, photo women of wall posing

 WoW seems to love to play to the camera,

I mean, pray to the camera.

women of wall image, photo kotel.

Thousands of young women and girls were at the Kotel.

image women praying, photo women are wailing wall

Many come with serious intentions to pray at this holy site,

and some are not even Jewish,

but sincere tourists from around the world.

image prayer, photo girls at Kotel, picture Women for Wall

Say what you want about W4W and bringing school girls on Rosh Chodesh to fill the plaza,

but some of them do feel the seriousness of the site

image rosh chodesh at wall, WoW picture, photo of WOW

 in spite of the media circus.

For twenty-four and a half years WoW held their Rosh Chodesh service with little notice.

I sure hope at their 25th anniversary WoW banquet

the idiot who was responsible for arresting a woman in a talit last spring

gets an award for providing more publicity and recognition,

then any PR firm with a huge budget could dream of.

A new area has been set up near the Kotel for egalitarian prayer services.

image men at Western Wall

Will WoW accept the compromise,

or will their male supporters be left in the back behind a divider?

Guess we will have to wait until next month to see what happens.

More photos from Rosh Chodesh Kislev  HERE.

Women of Wall, Thank You

It was Rosh Chodesh Elul at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

and thanks to Women of the Wall (WOW) I went to see what was happening.

It is interesting that each month that I have gone has been so different.

Kosse;, Kosel , Al'Quds, photo Rosh Chodesh

Looking down at the Western Wall Plaza, it was hard to tell what was going on. 

The area on the right was full with the Women of Wall supporters last month,

but WOW protested to police that they could not see the Kotel from that location.

image WOW, women of wall

This time they were facing the Western Wall, in a secured area in the back of the Plaza.

Women of Wall,

A security line was determined to keep protesters away from WOW

and not have a repeat of that dreadful episode in May.

 Just mentioning that awful morning and the stench comes back.

old man protesting WOW

There were far fewer protesters, I only saw one old man 

protesters WOW

and a few young men with whistles. 

WoW protesters, thousands fill women section WEstern Wall

Women for the Wall arranged for thousands of religious girls and women

to fill the women’s section of the Western Wall.

image crowd in Old City

So many busloads of girls came that they had to stand behind in the Plaza.

Men praying at Western Wall

The number of men seemed to be fewer.

woman blowing whistle at western wall

The same one woman with a whistle was back.

Seems she really believes that blowing that blasted thing will do some good.

So what was different this time?

WOW media

WOW had microphones.

police protection WOW

Police made sure that protesters throwing anything at WOW would have a hard time.

WOW and media

There seemed to be less international media coverage.

media WOW

Most of the media was up close,

image WOW media

  inside the secured area with WOW.

It was difficult to come and go even with a press pass.

western wall protesters WOW

There were fewer “young men” protesters,

WOW protesters

but those who were there,

WOW protesters

looked even younger than before,

WOW protesters and police

and seemed to be looking for a confrontation with police.

woman against boys blowing whistle at western wall

This lone woman, not a member of Women for the Wall, 

tried very hard to get the boys to stop blowing their whistles and go away.

The result:

protesters WOW on Rosh Chodesh

they blew whistles loudly at her.

On Rosh Chodesh Elul they should have gone back to class,

I wondered who their educators could be?


one problem for women who want to pray at the Kotel

has been not being able to hear what is happening.

There is a loudspeaker system that is used for huge gatherings on holidays.

As it was last month, the loudpeaker was in use.

Women for Wall, Women of Wall

The women’s section was packed, women were quiet and

 one could clearly hear and follow the service.

Western wall, Kosel, Kossel

Such a simple thing took so long to happen. 

As the girls finished praying and left the area,

I found a chair and a siddur, prayer book, and

got to hear the shofar blasts marking the month before

Rosh Hashanah, the New Year.

Thank you, Women of the Wall.

Chodesh Tov!