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!



Rosh Chodesh Av at the Western Wall

In Jerusalem, Israel, on Rosh Chodesh Av, 

thousands of people had a very early start to their day.

image crowd at Kotel, Western Wall photo

Arriving near the Kotel, the Western Wall Plaza at 7:00 am, this was the scene.

image from Kosel women of wall

A group of young men, 

imge Kosel , picture Kossel

and boys,

picture women of wall, image Kosel protest

 one woman with a whistle and one with signs

image Women of Wall, photo Women of Wall

were protesting against the Women of the Wall’s Rosh Chodesh prayer service.

image Women of Wall, picture from Kosel

Not all the WOW were praying–

some were talking to the press, as there were plenty of cameras again.

image Kossel, Kosel men section photo, picture Kosel

The regular men’s section was not crowded,

Women of Wall , image Kosel, picutre Kossel

  Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Yitzhak Pindrus was there.

imgae Women for Wall, picture Women of Wall

It was the women’s section that was full.

Kosel picture, Kossel photo

Women for the Wall had brought out thousands of religious women and girls.

They continued to pray silently, in stark contrast to the noisy protesters,

image Kosel, Picture Kosel

though there was not enough space for all of them 

Women for the Wall, photo, Image Women of Wall

and the group extended well into the Western Wall Plaza.

 While the Women of the Wall and Women for the Wall were the center of attention,

 I liked these scenes.

scene from Women of Wall

At least a few of the security people found time to pray.

photo Bar Mitzvah at Kosel

And in the middle of it all there was a Bar Mitzvah celebration.

Wonder if someone thought that with an early start it would be less crowded? 

image Women of Wall , picture Rosh Chodesh Av at Kosel

The Women of the Wall were not happy with their site and the police.

image Women of Wall, picture Women of Wall at Kotel

After their service had ended, and after singing Hatikvah, 

the Women of Wall group continued singing before going to their buses.

There has been lots of chatter on Facebook about both groups, 

 with some good, some bad and some ugly comments. 

The two sides do not seem to be getting closer

and many people do not want to hear or think about this conflict any more.

But I would really like to know,

image Women of Wall, picture Kosel

what the Deputy Mayor was thinking at this moment?

WOW – What a Rosh Chodesh at the Wall

Rosh Chodesh Sivan at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

was not just any old prayer time for the new month.

The Women of the Wall were coming to pray at the Kotel.

Until Friday, I had stayed away from this monthly event,

figuring that there was enough publicity without me.

This time I had to see for myself what was really happening.

Women of Wall

Arriving at 6:30 am, 

the size of the huge crowd and the press were overwhelming.

image WOmen of Wall

The press has covered the dreadful behavior of Haredi men.

 Most were young boys, but there are no excuses for their acting like animals.

The shouting, pushing, and deafening whistles were so upsetting, 

the experience is impossible to express adequately in words. 

What in the world did they think they were accomplishing?

How could any rabbi condone this?

image violence at western wall

Throwing of a bag full of sewer water was most shocking, 

its stench lasted all morning. 

Image Women of Wall

Police grabbed the suspect immediately, however.

I wonder if the two girls on the right

will ever forget being in the middle of such a distressing scene?

picture women of wall

Here one woman is being  pulled back by security.

 There were several incidents of Women of Wall supporters

going over toward barriers to provoke the men. 

picture Women of Wall

The media that gathered around the Women of the Wall

image women of wall

at times outnumbered the number of women inside the police circle.

image watching crowd

Security people certainly outnumbered the WOW supporters, 

and were everywhere recording the events.

Picture women of Wall

Were there any empty spaces for watching the scenes unfold?

Picture of Rabbi of Wailing WAll

Rabbi of the Kotel Shmuel Rabinovitch,

Women of Wall

Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Yitzchak Pindrus,

and other officials were present for some of the time.

Image security women of wall

Security did a great job to keep control of the mob-like crowd,

Image women of wall

and kept them away from the Women of  the Wall in the plaza.

 I was able to fill an entire photo album called Bad Boys – Wall of Shame, 

though of course, not all present were abusive or involved directly.

But as usual, there was more happening than the press showed.

Image wailing wall

There were those who were actually trying to pray at The Kotel

for the morning service for Rosh Chodesh.

Rosh chodesh Women of wall image

And there were thousands and thousands of women and girls,

who came to support a new group called Women for the Wall.

That beautiful scene at the Kotel did not make the news,

even though their numbers were by far the greatest.

As we enter the Shavuot holiday, a time of beginnings,

a time to remember acts of goodness,

it is acts of goodness that will bring our salvation,

not acts of provocation or baseless hatred.

More photos from WOW and W4W