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 Accept Compromise, Really?

Every Rosh Chodesh that I have gone to the Kotel, The Western Wall,

has been a unique experience.

 After my first  Women of the Wall experienceWoW,

the stench (of the refuse thrown on me) stayed with me for days.

But nevertheless I went back to see for myself what was happening,

and each month has been different.

This time, walking through the Old City,

soldiers near Wailing Wall

there were

Wailing Wall photo

security people, 

Kosel image

stationed at every

Israeli soldiers

single stop

israeli security

on the way to the plaza,

security at Kotel

and also watching from above.

Women of the Wall at Kosel

The plaza was filled with thousands of people.

WoW at Western Wall photo

Inside the women’s section in the back were WoW,

image security, WOW

with more security around them.

Like last month,

a loud-speaker system made the men’s prayers loud enough for all to hear.

The Women for the Wall, W4W, had a good turn out.

western wall image

In the crowd of thousands, many who were saying tehilim for Rav Yosef,

wailing wall image

and many were clearly married, not just seminary girls.

Rosh chodesh , women wearing kipot

WOW wore varied head coverings

women's prayer group image

and several wore tefillin.

As before, they used a microphone, and when they sang loudly

 there was noise from some of the girls trying to drown them out.

image woman wearing tefilin

At this Rosh Chodesh prayer service,

man at Wow service

the men stood behind the partition.

While tehilim were being said, WoW were quiet.

image Women of Wall

After their service they sang hatikvah.

image haredi boys at Western Wall

which brought shouts from some of the girls and the boys watching near by,

but they were quickly stopped by security.

woman at wailing wall

It was an emotional experience for some.

WoW at western wall

As the The Women for the Wall left, a police line kept the groups apart.

security at Al-Quds

Then WoW left the area the same way as they did the last month.

Reporting that this time they had to “sneak out,” is just another example

of a news source getting it wrong.

After WoW and W4W had already left,

trouble at western all

 this couple on the right walked through the plaza.

A small group of “religious” looking  young men, 

started shouting at them.

western wall trouble

One was taken away by security.

There have been headlines that Women of the Wall

accepted a compromise offered by Natan Sharansky.

Most people would love that to be true,

to keep The Kotel  a peaceful place,

and not to be a battle ground.

women of wall

 Now it is clearly used as a backdrop for a political agenda

woman with tefilin

 and a power struggle.

 Anat Hoffman says they are not leaving

and next month is WoW’s 25th anniversary,

so I guess there will be at least one more chapter to this story. 

More photos from Rosh Chodesh Marchesvan on 

The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook Page.